Taking ownership of currently apparently un-owned property.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Taking ownership of currently apparently un-owned property.

There is a plot of land adjacent to mine that has no tax map number, there is no owner listed in the GIS system and there is no record of property taxes being paid on it. I am sure it was part of the 416 acre parcel that my grandparents land was purchased from in the late 1890’s. Is there a way I can take possession of this land without it taking 20 years for the adverse possession rules to take affect? It is mountain side so there isn’t really anything that I could or would do that would be open and obvious.

Thank you,


Asked on June 25, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Other than adverse possession, there is no way to get possession of property other than:
1) Buying it from the owner--and note that NO property is unowned; someone (an heir of the original owner; a trust or LLC or corporation; a bank or local government; etc.) owns it.
2) Buying it at a foreclosure sale/auction, if it is foreclosed upon.
3) Buying it at a tax sale, if the city or county acts due to unpaid taxes.
If there is no tax map number, it may be difficult to ascertain ownership. If you want to pursue this, consult wth a real estate attorney who should know how to determine or locate ownership.

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