Adverse Possession: Don't Try This At Home

Adverse possession, the law Ken Robinson cited to move into an abandoned Flower Mound home with the intention to claim the property as his own, was initially meant to settle and prevent property disputes in rural areas, according to Brian Rider, a University of Texas law professor who has been practicing real estate law in Austin for 39 years.

Rider, who is well-versed on the law but unfamiliar with the specifics of this case, boiled down the law's general concept: A person must occupy the property "openly, adversely [against the original owner] and exclusively," he said. And once they do so for a period of time that varies depending on the situation, they can obtain the rights to that property. As for the affidavit of adverse possession filed by Robinson, Rider said it's simply a public notice that strengthens the acknowledgment of adversity.

The property owner of record has five years to reclaim the land if the person occupying it pays taxes. The statute of limitations jumps to 10 years if the occupant is not paying taxes, Rider said. After that time period, the person claiming adverse possession can file a lawsuit to obtain the property title. If the original owner does not show up in court, it's likely that the person citing adverse possession will succeed. The burden is on the original owner to take back the land.

As for the mortgage holder, Rider said, "The mortgage holder has basically four years from the time the [owner] goes into default to assert its rights." But if the mortgage holder forecloses on the home, it becomes the owner of record, and adverse possession applies accordingly.

"If it was out on a field, you'd have to put up a fence and put your cows on it," Rider said. The statute was intended to resolve land disputes between neighbors, not to overtake property. "The adverse possession statutes apply in this [Flower Mound] situation, but they weren't really designed for a suburban or urban situation," Rider said.

Texas and states west of the Mississippi generally have shorter statutes of limitation. Northeastern states commonly have statutes of up to 30 or 40 years, compared with Texas' five, one of the shortest in the country, according to Rider.

Read the full cover story: The Man With The $16 House
 
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19 comments
iyamagba
iyamagba

Where do you file the affidavit for adverse possession of vacant , abandoned property in Dallas, TX ?

TWOGOOD4BETTER
TWOGOOD4BETTER

ALOT OF YOU JUMP TO CALL KEN ROBINSON AN IDIOT, A FOOL OR THE LIKE, ONE DIPSHIT EVEN GOES SO FAR AS TO SAY KEN DESERVES A MEETING WITH A FIREARM BUT THOSE OF YOU QUICK TO CALL NAMES FAIL TO SEE THE BRILLIANCE OF THIS LAW. THE BANKS ARE RICH ENOUGH, THEY JUMP TO FORCLOSE ON ANYONE WHO HAPPENS TO FALL BEHIND, HEC THEY NOW HAVE REVERSE MORTAGE WHICH ALLOWS THE BANK TO TAKE OWNERSHIP ONCE THE OWNER DIES REGARDLESS IF THEY MAY HAVE YOUNG ONES WHO COULD USE THE HOME. SO.... I FEEL(LIKE IT MATTERS) THIS ADVERSE POSSESSION LAW IS WONDERFUL, ESPECIALLY FOR SOMEONE LIKE ME WHO WOULD PROBABLY NEVER BEABLE TO AFFORD A NICER HOME MORTAGE REGARDLESS OF THE BUYERS MARKET SIMPLY BECAUSE IM DISABLED ENOUGH TO KEEP ME FROM REAL WORK (BROKEN BACK) BUT NOT DISABLED ENOUGH TO QUALIFY FOR SSDI, SO I COMEACROSS A HOUSE THAT HAD AN OWER WHO DID THE REVERSE MORTAGE THING, HAS PASSED AWAY ABOUT A YEAR AGO, THE HOUSE REMAINS EMPTY AND OPEN FOR VANDALS UNTIL THE BANK COMES AND LOCKS IT UP, FIXES IT UP AND THEN CHARGES AN UNGODLY AMOUNT TO BUY IT, SO I MOVE IN, PAY THE PAST DUE PROPERTY TAXES, DO ANY FIXING IT NEEDS AND IN A FEW YEARS HOPEFULLY TAKE OWNERSHIP OF IT. I DONT THINK THIS LAW IS MEANT FOR ONE TO GO PUSHING ANYONE OUT OF THIER HOME, JUST KEEPING AN HONEST MAN HONEST SORT OF THING, BUT ALLOWING SOMEONE LIKE MYSELF WHO HAS TWO SMALL CHILDREN, HAVE WORKED ALL MY LIFE, PAID MY DUES, AM A GOOD NEIGHBOR AND CITIZEN GET A HOME AND SECURITY FOR MY KIDS WHEN OTHERWISE I WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO SECURE A FUTURE HOME OTHERWISE. THINK AND SPEAK AS YOU FEEL BUT LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE, IT ISNT JUST A FREE RIDE. ALSO ITS SHOWS MORE INTEGRITY AND MORALS THAN JUST BEING A SQUATTER. I AM NOT A SQUATTER ALTHOUGH IN CALIFORNIA SQUATTERS AND TRANSIENTS HAVE MORE RIGHTS THAN THE HOME OWNER IN SOME AREAS. IM JUST SAYING DONT BE SO QUICK TO JUDGE LEST YE BE JUDGED YOURSELF.

Richebner
Richebner

Ken Robinson is an idiot. Have you heard him speak? He sound like he comes rightout of the ghetto. Basically, he comes from Obama's something for nothing crowd.

Ken Robinson you are being set up and will have a might fall. Dumb dumb....

Ackeegrl
Ackeegrl

I know an old minister who got properties by adverse possession here in florida. She would pay the taxes on the paid off properties of old friends and the family members did not know. After years of paying she would move in to "look after the house" and then file to get the deed since the time for possession came. She owned a lot of land.

property birmingham
property birmingham

This is good content.In this show regarding property.This is nice content.The written skill is so good.I appreciate to this content.Thanks to share this blog with us.Keep sharing.

property birmingham
property birmingham

This is good content.In this show regarding property.This is nice content.The written skill is so good.I appreciate to this content.Thanks to share this blog with us.Keep sharing.

Gayden
Gayden

Sounds like Ken Robinson oughta be looking at the business end of a 12 gauge double barrel-- if not now, he will shortly.

NEON TANGO
NEON TANGO

Threatening violence, and in print, Gayden? Shame on you.

sha_g
sha_g

just does not seem right....dont care if its legal, this guy seems like a con artist.

dinnertime
dinnertime

It's your kind of unintelligent thinking that makes this country less than what it could be shahg. You don't care how legal it is, you're still mad about the fact that someone isn't afraid to go after what they want. You just can't stand the fact that another person can do something you can't because you won't work hard enough for it.

Maybe he will lose - it sure looks likely - but regardless, he got to be there as long as he was there. Heck, if he can hop from house to house this way and respects the property instead of tearing it up more power to him!

Charlie
Charlie

just another negro thinking he can get something for free from whitey......hes outta there.....don`t like this comment?....learn a lesson from the Indians.....we play cowboys and negros next............

erdubya
erdubya

What he really meant to say was the adverse possession law was meant for whites to assume possession of black families' homes they drove out of town.

Michael Griffin
Michael Griffin

Actually, if you have a real estate license, you would know how adverse possession hardly works anywhere except possibly in the countryside or tiny forgotten towns where an old person dies off or is about to. This does not work in any decent city. You can also be sued if you act in bad faith.

Jennifer
Jennifer

Mark Glover is a real estate agent. Of course he doesn't want people doing what Mr. Robinson did. He'd be out of job if everyone used the adverse possession law. I expect we will see more adverse possessions until someone closes off the loophole.

Mark Glover
Mark Glover

Finally, some law and logic about this Free Flower Mound Home. Mr. Robinson has razor thin chances that the mortgage company (or their successor) will sit by and let him take this home. He has no magic loophole here and should not be held out as a genius or hero. Squatter maybe.

Guest
Guest

Squatter for taking care of the home and paying taxes? Corporations use loopholes everyday to get out of paying for millions of things. This guy does it and every one becomes a hater. Sounds like you are jealous you didnt think of it first.

Null
Null

No, but it sounds like YOU are a MORON.

 
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