Acquiring Property by Adverse Possession in Florida

Acquiring Property by Adverse Possession in Florida
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DISCLAIMER: With regard to the article below, it is important to note that each Adverse Possession case is very unique to the set of specific facts associated with each individual client. One should always seek the legal advice of an attorney, and not make inferences from this article as written.

Adverse possession is a peculiar concept allowing an individual to acquire title to property when he or she puts the property to beneficial use for a statutorily prescribed period of time. In Florida, a man currently living in a $2.5 million mansion is invoking ownership by “adverse possession.” This possessor has been living in the mansion since July and Florida police, after several attempts, are reportedly unable to remove the man. He continues to present adverse possession paperwork and related documents. He cites to Florida’s adverse possession law where a person may acquire title to property owned by another if they openly occupy the land and pay real property tax for at least seven years. Bank of America, after a foreclosure, is currently the owner of the house involved in this case. The possessor posted a notice in the house’s front window naming him as a living beneficiary entitled to live in the house. To get this possessor out of the house, there is nothing the police can do. Bank of America is required to follow legal process and file an appropriate eviction action.

Florida’s Adverse Possession Law

The law of adverse possession maintains that when a person publically moves into another’s neglected property and improves such property, he or she can earn title to it after a period of time has passed. As noted above, Florida’s adverse possession laws specifically require a possessor to occupy the property for at least seven years). That occupation must be “under a color of title” or via payment of property taxes. Color of title exists when one appears to have acquired title to real estate but there is a defect in the title that causes it to be ineffective. Thus, ownership is not established.

From here, there are five key requirements in each adverse possession claim:

  • Hostility – Basically, the possessor must either be aware that he is trespassing on another’s land or he must have made a reasonable mistake, such as relying on a defective deed.
  • Actual possession – The possessor must be physically present on the land and treat the property as his or her own.
  • Open and notorious possession – To satisfy this requirement, the possession of the property cannot be secretive.
  • Exclusive and continuous possession – Here, the possessor may not share his or her possession with others and must be in possession of the property for the statutorily prescribed period of time.
  • Improvement – Improving, cultivating, or protecting of the property claimed from a substantial enclosure on the land.

The law of adverse possession maintains that when a person publically moves into another’s neglected property and improves such property, he or she can earn title to it after a period of time has passed.

Hire an Experienced Florida Real Estate Attorney

Clearly, there are several complexities involved with Florida’s adverse possession law. If you find yourself in the midst of such a scenario as that discussed above, you should hire an experienced real estate attorney to best protect your interests. The real estate lawyers at Bogin, Munns & Munns, P.A. are here to help. We are ready to put our many years of legal experience to work for you. Contact us today for a consultation on your case.

NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.

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