Can I claim ownership of property that I have maintained and paid taxes on?

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Can I claim ownership of property that I have maintained and paid taxes on?

I bought my father’s house when he passed away. We took care of a lot next to us. We fenced it in to include it with our property. We have maintained it and paid the taxes on it for years. Can I claim this property

Asked on August 24, 2010 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should seek help from an attorney in your area.  What you want to do is to claim the property under a theory of the law known as "adverse possession."  In the most basic of explanations it is a method or acquiring title to real property for period of time set by the law in your state under under certain conditions: actual, open, notorious, exclusive and adverse to the real owner are usually the terms used in case law. I think that the statutory time is failry long in New Jersey (30 years for some types of lands and 60 for others).  I would check with an attorney in your area as to the specifics.  


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