Real Estate Attorney in Sanford NC Explains Adverse Possession

North Carolina residents may be surprised to learn that trespassers can legally obtain property that belongs to another after meeting certain conditions.  A real estate attorney in Sanford North Carolina can explain when adverse possession may apply.  Additionally, a real estate attorney in Sanford North Carolina can provide representation to a party that is affected by adverse possession. 

In order for a trespasser to acquire adverse possession of a property, he or she must openly occupy the property that is otherwise abandoned.  This possession must be ongoing for 20 years in most cases.  However, if the trespasser has a deed or other written instrument that he or she gives the right to possess the land, he or she need only occupy it for seven years.

There are strict rules regarding the occupation of such property.  In order for a trespasser to acquire the right to the land, he or she must use the land in a way that the actual landowner knows or should know that the trespasser is living there.   The use must also not be compatible with the owner’s use of the land, usually meaning that the owner has not given the trespasser permission to use the land.

Additionally, the trespasser must continuously use the land.  If he or she only intermittently uses the land, he or she will not have the right to adverse possession.  Similarly, the trespasser must have exclusive use of the land.

Property owners who do not want their legal rights to a property can take steps to safeguard their property interests.  A real estate attorney can evaluate a claim regarding adverse possession and provide recommendations and information about options that may be available to the property owner.