Most people acquire property through a straightforward purchase or an inheritance. However, some real estate owners have more complex backstories. In a tiny percentage of cases, they assumed adverse possession over the property.
Some people refer to adverse possession laws as squatter’s rights laws. They allow someone other than the owner to lay legal claim to a piece of real property after inhabiting and utilizing it without the owner’s permission.
Could you potentially lose your property to adverse possession claims in New York?
New York’s law is relatively restrictive
The good news for property owners in New York is that the law makes it easier for them to prevent attempts at adverse possession. Someone else would need to openly possess and use your property for at least 10 years to have a legal claim in court.
They also need to have color of title for at least 10 years, which means that they believe, possibly falsely, that they have a right to the property. Fraudulent deeds are an example of the kind of color of title that might eventually lead to adverse possession claims. If someone bought a property from a seller who did not actually own it and was able to maintain possession for 10 consecutive years without the actual owner interfering, they might then have a claim.
If you frequently inspect your property and ensure no one inhabits it, you can protect yourself from adverse possession claims. Learning more about the complex real estate laws in New York will help you protect one of your biggest investments.