Adverse possession is a way of acquiring title to real property by physically occupying it for a long period of time. As strange as it may seem to the non-lawyer, you may acquire property without the consent of the actual title holder if you possess it long enough and meet the legal requirements. The problem occurs more often than people realize. A home owner puts up a fence based on an erroneous survey, and no one catches the mistake for many years. A neighbor parks his RV on the vacant lot next to his home for years. The subsequent purchaser does the same and builds a garage on the land, believing the land is part of the property he has purchased. It is not until a developer buys the land and wants to build an apartment complex that they discover the error.
One theory behind adverse possession is that the doctrine rewards the productive use of land, while penalizing the unproductive owner who sleeps on his rights. The other line of thought argues that adverse possession really functions to protect property rights. The doctrine protects ownership by barring stale claims and errors in the title records. The idea is that as time passes it becomes more difficult and ultimately not worthwhile to seek out every remote claim to the disputed property.
In Arizona in order to possess the property being claimed you must show that:
Like anything in law, however, certain additional restrictions apply.
To discuss your adverse possession concern, please contact the Attorneys at Giordano & Heckele, PLLC at (520) 433-9031 to speak with an experienced Arizona real estate attorney, or e-mail [email protected].