Adverse Possesion of Abandoned Property - Posted by JFinke KC

Posted by Bob (Md) on February 22, 2002 at 13:33:02:

Depends on the state. In Maryland, for instance, you have to make “open and conspicuous” use of the property for twenty years. If the owner shows up, they can legally kick you off in the 11th month of the 19th year. And, they can try to collect for back rent/usage fees. They might be sucessful, even though there is no contract in place between you and them. Also, you cannot adversely possess any piece of land belonging to a government agency or church organization. As an example, I’m conspicuously mowing and maintaining a quarter-acre piece of land that abuts my property. I’ve been doing it for 8 years. Another 12 years, it could be mine! I also know about the church thing because of a group that renovated an abandoned church and held regular meetings in it for decades. The original denomination still owns it, and always will (and no, they didn’t want to sell a valuable “improved” piece of church property).

Your state probably has very, very different laws. Consult an attorney before doing anything. Not only could it be a waste of time, but you might end up owing the “real” owner (or their heirs and/or assigns) for fair use rental of the property!

Adverse Possesion of Abandoned Property - Posted by JFinke KC

Posted by JFinke KC on February 22, 2002 at 11:04:25:

Hello All,

This morning I was investigating some courses, books, etc. and came across one from the CashFlow Institute on claiming abandoned properties via adverse possession.

As I understand the process, in a simplified manner, if a property is abandoned and the owner is dead or otherwise untracable and their are no heirs or others with a claim to the property that it can be claimed by another legally through adverse possession.

I’m not going to ask about the specific process since the book is only $40, no big deal. However I was wondering if anyone here has used this process in the past. To me, I wouldn’t think this kind of opportunity would arrise very often, am I wrong? If you’ve done it before, how hard was it to find a property that could be claimed? Does it happen alot? I’m just trying to determine if the process is worth pursuing regularly or if it would just be a good tool to have if the situation should arrise.

Thank you in advance,

JFinke KC

Re: Adverse Possesion of Abandoned Property - Posted by Kristine-CA

Posted by Kristine-CA on February 22, 2002 at 20:16:09:

I am very interested in this topic and have studied it on and off for the last year. It is my goal this year to take over at least one tax-defaulted and/or abandoned property, use it openly, keeping the taxes current and filing a quiet title action after five years. I do a lot of research on tax defaults and vacant/abandoned properties–that’s where I look for deals. I am hoping that knowledge of adverse possession will just be another tool in the chest when the right property comes along.

May I suggest searching the archives of this site on this topic, “adverse possession” and also “John Beck.” David Krulac, John Beck and Ronald Starr have had many interesting things to say on this topic. And John Beck is quite knowledgeable and writes RE books on tax sales and adverse possession. John Beck says that in his career as an RE attorney he has not met anyone who uses this technique exclusively, but has seen it used successfully many times.

Hope this helps. Sincerely, Kristine

Adverse Possesion of Abandoned Property - Posted by David Krulac

Posted by David Krulac on February 22, 2002 at 15:02:18:

the state laws vary significantly in CA its 5 years, In Pa. its 21 years.

you must be in actual possession, it must be open, notorious, hostile, and exclusive. In some states you must also pay the taxes. In some states the time period is up to 30 years. Its difficult to do but is theorically possible. In Pa. if its vacant land the property must be fenced in by you to the exclusion of all others including the owner.

There is also a scam being run by some people where they claim adverse possession, then they offer to drop their claim if you pay them to leave.

David Krulac