IN THE INTEREST OF FULL DISCLOSURE: The subject of opposing possession is very complicated. I’ll give you a layman’s explanation of various aspects of opposing possession. If you ever enter into a real estate transaction where the subject of adverse possession is raised and you feel you need clarification, contact a lawyer who is familiar with the subject of adverse possession. Most real estate licensees have minimal knowledge of the subject of adverse possession.
Some comments in advance regarding ownership and possession. Owning real estate and being in possession of real estate are not synonymous. When you own real estate, you basically have legal title to the property. When you are in possession of an asset, you physically occupy the asset but you are not necessarily the owner of the asset. Owning real estate usually means you have the right to occupy it, even if you don’t own it. Have you ever heard the phrase “Possession is nine tenths of the law? This expression essentially means that the owner of the land has more control over it than the owner. As a property management company, we know that we cannot arbitrarily force a tenant out of a property. The tenant has the right to occupy the property under their lease. If a tenant is in violation of their lease, we cannot physically move them due to their possession rights. We have to go to JP court and file a complaint for forced detention (deportation). Texas law requires the tenant to have three days to vacate, unless a properly prepared lease has a different number of days. The eviction process can only begin after the specified number of days has elapsed. Then we go to JP court and file a complaint. The police officer must serve the tenant and there are various ways to serve a tenant. The court hearing will take place approximately 10 to 12 days after the notice is served. If we are successful at the hearing, then we get a possession judgment. However, the tenant has five days to appeal. If the tenant stays in the property after the five days, and has not appealed, then we can get an enforceable title and physically dispossess him, i.e. remove his goods from the property and put them on the sidewalk, provided it is not raining or snowing. By the way, it is illegal to exclude a tenant from their property when they violate their residential lease. If the property is commercial, the tenant may be locked out if they violate their lease.
ADVERSE POSSESSION: The right of an occupant of land to acquire title against the real owner, when possession has been effective, continuous, open, notorious, hostile, visible, peaceful and exclusive for the legal duration. There are four legal periods for adverse possession status in Texas. Under the 3 year law, the opposing possessor must have an unbroken chain of title that appears to date back to an undisputed owner. If another property claimant does not sue for possession and a title court order within three years, he will lose any rights he might have had. Under the 5-year law, if the opposing possessor has no indication of title but comes into possession under a registered deed and pays taxes for five years, any other plaintiff is only five years old. to assert their rights. Under the 10-year law, an opposing possessor does not need to have a registered deed of the property in order to claim ownership. This property claim can only apply to a parcel of land of up to 160 acres. Neither the law of 3, 5 or 10 years can be invoked against minors, insane or in prison. Under the 25-year law, the opposing possessor must have taken possession of the property by virtue of a document indicating ownership rights. This document should also be saved in the public folder. There are times when an individual acquires a property when he is unable to obtain clear title because all of the owners who need to sign a deed cannot be found. In this scenario, a lawyer will prepare a document titled “Affidavit of Use and Possession”. It is basically a document that is recorded in the county deed records and states that the individual claims ownership of the property. Essentially, the 10 year law will apply. The bottom line is this: When buying a property, always have the title reviewed to make sure there is no problem with who the real owner of the property is. If there are problems, get a lawyer.