Adverse possession occurs when someone takes legal possession of your property. It is legal to do so when he or she used the land and paid its taxes. Most commonly, unclear property boundaries are the cause of this scenario. However, some cases involve individuals trespassing on the property altogether.
This concept is alarming for property owners. On one hand, you have a legally protected right to your land. Yet, could a trespasser merely claim ‘squatter’s rights’? It’s not as simple as it sounds.
Keep in mind that the requirements for adverse possession are very specific. Plus, you can also bring a quiet title action lawsuit against the individual trying to gain control of your property. Speaking with a lawyer in Birmingham about your issues is the most efficient way to make an informed decision.
Adverse Possession Laws in Alabama
Alabama’s civil codes do not directly address what constitutes trespassing on land in an adverse possession matter. Rather, judges and jurors consider a few elements to prove the act of trespassing itself.
The main idea is to examine how the trespasser used the land and for what length of time. The requirements to determine adverse possession are permissible under the following circumstances when the trespasser is:
- actively controlling and managing the property, or;
- using it without your permission, or;
- not attempting to conceal his or her occupancy; and
- paying taxes on the property he or she is using
If any of the above continue for at least 10 years, then the trespasser can pursue an adverse possession action against your property. The good news is that you can prevent this from happening through a quiet title action.
Using a Quiet Title Action to Retain Property Ownership
Someone unlawfully encroaching on your property is often the result of a misunderstanding involving property dispute lines. The first thing you should do is inform the trespasser that he or she is using your land without your permission. Give them a reasonable opportunity to remove personal property and repair any damage. Most people will follow your request and move on.
On the off chance that a dispute occurs, you can file a quiet title action to prevent the conversion of ownership. A quiet title action is a lawsuit that requests the court authenticate the true owner of the property. The most ideal outcome is that the judge awards the property in your favor.
Hire an Alabama Lawyer to Protect Your Right to Land
The other party can still prevail in a quiet title action. However, hiring a licensed Alabama lawyer is helpful in presenting the merits of your case clearly. You have a constitutionally protected right to an attorney and your land. Exercising and defending those rights can yield the best possible outcome toward resolve.
At Cloud Willis & Ellis, our Alabama real estate lawyers command the experience and knowledge that a quiet title action requires. We have been serving individuals and businesses in Alabama for more than an aggregate century. Give us the opportunity to serve you by scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation. You can request yours by calling (205) 322-6060 or sending us a request through our contact form.