Adverse possession is a way a non-owner can seize valid title to property by possessing it for a long period of time in Maryland.
An Example of How AP Works in Maryland
You find a beautiful house. You just move into it and live in it. You claim it’s yours to everyone who asks. After 20 years you can file suit for AP and make it yours! The odds of this extreme example happening is low, the “true owner” will call the cops on you. However, this does often happen with neighbors over parcels of land.
The Elements of Adverse Possession
In order to have a valid claim for AP the Adverse possessor’s possession of the property must be:
- Under a claim of title or ownership;
- Continuios for the statutory period of twenty years.
For practical purposes, evidence that fulfills one element in AP may fulfill many. “Acts which “openly and publicly” signify control over the land will generally fulfill both the “actual use” and notorious and open” elements.” Bratton v. Hitchens (1979).
Adverse Possession Definitions
Actual – Physical control over the property.
Notorious – Not secretive and out in the open.
Exclusive – Cannot be shared with the “true” owner.
Hostile – Without the true owner’s permission.
Under a Claim of Title or Ownership – The possessor is asserting title to the property, as opposed to squatting or renting.
Statutory period – Continuously for 20 years. But Maryland does allow tacking, so the adverse possessor can “tack” on his years to a previous ap to meet the statutory period.
Prescriptive Easements in Maryland
A prescriptive easement is essentially an easement created by adverse possession minus the exclusive element. An easement is a right to use another’s land but not to possess it. An example of an easement is the right to cross a path on your neighbor’s land.
Need Help With An Adverse Possession or Prescriptive Easement in Maryland?
Do not hesitate to contact The Pendergraft Firm. We can help you get legal title to land that you have legally adversely possessed!