What are my rights regarding a rental to which I made extensive repairs?

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What are my rights regarding a rental to which I made extensive repairs?

I rented this house about 8 months ago for $500 a month; it was advertised on craigslist. It had all the electrical wires ripped from the breaker panel and all hardware, lights appliances, and water heater were either missing or I need of repair. I’ve completed about 95% of all repairs (and have the receipts) but am unable to find the owner who went to out-of-state for a death in family. Before he left, he gave me his power of attorney. Can I file under adverse possission?

Asked on July 6, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not claim by adverse possession:

First, renters can *never* claim by adverse possession, because their possession is not "adverse," or inherently hostile to, the owner's possession and ownership--they are permitted to be there in exchange for paying rent, so there is no inconsistency between their occupancy and the owner's possession.

Second, even if your possession was adverse, you'd need to have occupied it for at least two years in your state.

Do not try to transfer ownership to yourself using the POA: using a POA for your own benefit and not that of the person who granted it to you violates your fiduciary duty to them--you could be sued, and in some cases, using the POA to deprive another person of their property or money could be a crime as well.


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