Who Can Claim Property Based on Adverse Possession in Tennessee?
As a resident of Tennessee, you may be wondering whether someone can take over your land through adverse possession, or you may want to know if you are able to claim certain property through adverse possession. The laws in Tennessee allow for someone to take the title of an area of land through adverse possession under certain circumstances.
If you have questions about adverse possession and whether or not it applies to your case, contact our attorneys at Dotson & Taylor, Attorneys at Law. We can help you fight back against a claim of adverse possession, or help you fight for your claim of adverse possession.
What is Adverse Possession?
Adverse possession is the method by which a person can gain legal title to the property of a landowner, despite being a trespasser. The legal purpose of the concept of adverse possession is to ensure fairness in certain situations like when a landowner has forgotten about or neglected a portion of their land, and while another person has been taking care of or using the land for so long that to correct the issue and give the land back to the true owner would create a substantial hardship.
Proving Adverse Possession
The rules for proving adverse possession vary by state. In Tennessee, the burden of proof to establish a claim for adverse possession is on the trespasser. Until the trespasser (possessor of the land in question) can establish a claim of adverse possession, the record owner of the land retains title.
The requirements under Tennessee law for proving adverse possession are as follows. First, the trespasser’s possession must be hostile (meaning without permission and against the rights of the true landowner). Next, the trespasser must be in actual and exclusive possession of the land. This means that the trespasser is occupying the land and the only one doing so. The trespasser must also show that they are possessing the land openly and notoriously, which means they are openly occupying the property as a true owner would. Finally, the trespasser must also demonstrate that they have been in continuous possession of the land for the full statutory period. The statutory period depends on the circumstances; and in Tennessee, it may be seven or twenty years. All of these elements must be established by the trespasser in order to successfully prevail in a claim of adverse possession.
Adverse Possession by Color of Title
One unusual way that adverse possession can occur in Tennessee is if there was a legally filed document that gives the appearance of a true legal title, but the document turns out to be invalid. Additionally, you can claim adverse possession by color of title if you have paid taxes on the property for twenty years or more without the true owner or the government objecting to it.
If you believe you may have an adverse possession case, our Murfreesboro attorneys at Dotson & Taylor, Attorneys at Law, can help. Give our office a call today to schedule your appointment. Contact us by email or call 615-890-1982 today.