In Alabama how do I prove adverse possession of a property?

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Question:

In Alabama how do I prove adverse possession of a property?

Answer:

Adverse possession is a law that governs the ownership of real property in that it allows someone who is in possession of the land that belongs to another person for certain period of time to claim that property as their own and gain legal title to it.  In order to prove adverse possession of property in Alabama it helps to better understand Alabama easements.

Easements are the right to use the land of another. This right may be implied or express depending on the circumstances that led to their creation.  As for Alabama there are several ways an easement might be created:

  • Conveyance is an easement that is created when one party legally grants to another, in writing, an easement.
  • Prescription is an easement that is established when one party continues to use the property of another for a period of 20 years (or longer) with the full knowledge of the owner though the use is adverse to that of the owner, is exclusive and uninterrupted while under claim of right.
  • Adverse Possession is an easement that is also created by the exclusive and uninterrupted, adverse use of property under the claim of right, also with the actual or presumptive knowledge of the person who owns the property as long as one of the following elements is also met:
    1. Ten years before the lawsuit to establish the easement by adverse possession, the party who claims the easement must demonstrate that a deed or some other documentation providing conveyance of title to him/her was recorded in the probate judge's office in the county where the property in dispute is located;
    2. Ten years before the lawsuit to establish the easement by adverse possession, the party who claims the easement has properly listed the property for taxation and has annually paid the taxes over the ten year period in the county where the property is located; or
    3. The individual who is claiming the property can derive title by descent or devise from a predecessor who had title and was in possession of the land.

If these requirements are met for adverse use over the statutory time period, the use of the land will turn into an easement by adverse possession after 10 years instead of the 20 years required under a prescriptive easement.

LA-NOLO4:DRU.1.6.3.20141021.28794