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The Basics of Adverse Possession in Indiana

The Basics of Adverse Possession in Indiana

Adverse possession is a process that allows a non-owner (the “adverse possessor”) to acquire legal title to someone else’s land without purchasing it. Adverse possession is occasionally called “squatters’ rights.” If the adverse possessor meets all of the following elements in Indiana, he or she has a valid claim to someone’s real property.

  1. Continuous Use – The adverse possessor must be in possession of the property for a continuous period. Typically, this means an uninterrupted period of at least ten years.
  2. Hostile and Adverse – The adverse possessor must enter and be on the land without the true owner’s express or implied consent. This means that there is no contract, lease, rental agreement, easement, or verbal agreement permitting the adverse possessor to be on the land.
  3. Open and Notorious – The adverse possessor’s possession and use of the land must be of the type that would put a reasonable property owner on notice that a trespass on the property is occurring.
  4. Actual and Exclusive – The adverse possessor can only gain title to land they actually occupy. Further, the adverse possessor cannot share the property with anyone else (i.e., the adverse possessor cannot share the property with the property’s true owner or the general public).

Adverse possession is permitted in every state. In many states, satisfying the above requirements provides a valid adverse possession claim. However, in other states, more may be required. For example, some states require the adverse possessor to be in possession longer than ten years. Other states, such as Indiana, require the adverse possessor to pay property taxes on the property as they come due during the period of time that the adverse possessor claims to have possessed the land. That said, the Indiana Supreme Court in Fraley v. Minger interpreted this element as being fulfilled if the adverse possessor has “substantially complied with the requirement of payment of taxes.”

Contact McNeelyLaw’s Indiana real estate attorneys today if you have questions about adverse possession or think someone has a valid adverse possession claim to your property. For the reasons mentioned above, it is crucial that you consult an attorney as soon as you detect signs of trespassing on your land.

This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

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