How can take sole ownership under adverse possession?

I bought the place with my ex. We never married and lived together there for only about 1 year. They left and I cannot find them or contact them. I just want the title and mortgage to be solely in my name and have all the proof that I am openly using the property and paying all costs (maintenance, mortgage, insurance, and taxes)  like I read about adverse possession. I don’t want to do a partition, especially since I can’t find them. It’s been 5 years since we bought it, so I’ve been the only user for 4 years. How long do I need to wait or is there another option not involving them? Can I sell the property without them?

Asked on July 28, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You don't have any good options here, I'm afraid.  You can't sell the property without your ex, as it stands now.  Adverse possession doesn't work against a co-tenant on your deed.

If you don't need to sell the property now, it almost certainly doesn't hurt to wait.  It costs you nothing, since you are making the same payments and getting the same benefit (other than the ability to sell or refinance it) that you'd have if you did own the place outright.  When you bring the partition action, the fact that you've made all those payments will matter:  if your ex moved out on her own, then she's at least in theory responsible for part of the cost of preserving the property.  Talk to a local attorney for more details.


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