When somebody moves into and enhances an otherwise unused residential or commercial property, they might get title to that property after a specific period of time has passed. This is known as “adverse possession,” and it’s based upon the concept that land should not go:

  • unmanaged
  • unused
  • unmaintained

In order for this transaction to occur, there are many stipulations that surround it. For example, the hopeful owner must not live in secret. New York laws require a minimum 10 years of ownership and payment of taxes throughout the entire residency in order to be qualified for legal possession.

Terms that Apply to Adverse Possessions in New York | Each state has its own standard requirements in order for the dweller to have a valid adverse possession claim. New York, in particular, gives the existing owner ample time to remedy the land issue and prevent conversion from occurring. However, if no action is taken, then the courts are interested in residential or commercial property to be utilized instead of being “mothballed” indefinitely.

The State of New York requires that the following must occur before a claim can be filed:

A Deliberate and Open Residency | The dweller should be utilizing the home openly, and not concealing its usage as their permanent address. The reason for this is that it gives the existing deed holder a chance to utilize the land. The goal is not to “trick” people into losing their land; it’s to provide evidence of negligence or vigilance.

A Period of Time Has Elapsed | All states have a time-period that the adverse possessor needs to utilize prior to the claim of ownership. New York law requires the land to be utilized for a minimum of 10 years prior before the dweller can gain the title to the property.

Hostile Claim | The dweller must not declare or utilize the land in a manner incompatible with the owner’s direction. This protects a landowner from adverse possession occurring if the land is being used with permission. For example, a tenant living on the property for 10 years or more is not entitled to a claim.

Exclusive and Continuous Possession | The New York 10-year requirement needs to be followed continuously and consecutively. While the land dweller is permitted to come and go for brief time periods, their usage of the land cannot be irregular and sporadic.

Landowners Can Prevent Adverse Possession | Among the simplest techniques for avoiding an adverse possession claim is to regularly check-up on unused lands. Adverse ownership typically arises as an infringement from a next-door neighbor that is violating property lines or just hoping to get lucky. If you see that they are using part of your land routinely, it might be a good idea to provide an approved-use agreement, to make sure that they do not acquire it through adverse possession in the future.

Speak with A New York Real Estate Lawyer for Claim Concerns | If you want to understand more about adverse possession law regarding unused property, contacting a law firm like Adam Leitman Bailey PC may assist you in answering your questions whether you are a prospective claimant or an existing property owner.