What constitutes a claim of adverse possession?

If a neighbor builds part of their carport onto our property before we purchase the property, and without permission from the previous property owner, do they now own the property the use is on? If we have a property survey conducted and it proves that these uses are on our property, do the uses now become our property and can we remove them?

Asked on September 7, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In your state, the person attempting to claim by adverse possession must have claimed and occupied the land for at least 5 years and paid property taxes on it, too. If these criteria have not been met, the person has no legal claim on the land. You should speak with a real estate attorney about the best way to remove this person.

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