Adverse Possession

What is the law governing adverse possession in Washington?

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2009-06-09 03:33:23
2009-06-09 03:33:23

In Washington State, the elements that must be met to have a claim of adverse possession are as followed: The possession must be..........

1. Exclusive. Only you, or people authorized by you, can have possession of the land in question for the required period of possession (which is 10 years). Courts have ruled that the possession does not have to be absolutely exclusive, so you will want to discuss your particular situation with an attorney (see below).

2. Actual and uninterrupted. That means that you actually have possession and control over the land in question, and that possession is not interrupted by an adversary. 3. Open and notorious. An adversary must be aware that his land is being taken. But you don't have to write the landowner, or anything like that. Your possession must be in a manner that is overt, not covert. 4. Hostile. That means that you treat the land in question as your own, and defend it against the world. Adverse possession is not created when you have the permission of the landowner to use his land (so a long-term tenant cannot claim adverse possession).

(Chaplin v. Sanders , 100 Wn.2d 853 , 857, 676 P.2d 431 (1984)) You must meet all four of these elements to qualify for adverse possession. You have the burden of proving you met each element. You must have met these elements for a minimum of 10 years.

Alternatively, if you have held a property for seven years under a "good faith color of title" and have continuously paid all taxes on that property for seven years, you need only prove actual, open and notorious possession to establish adverse possession. See RCW 7.28.070 . If you believe that you have a claim of adverse possession, or are facing an adverse possession lawsuit, you should see a real estate attorney immediately! Adverse possession is a complicated subject, and you don't want to take it on without the guidance of a qualified attorney at law. To find an attorney in your area, you can follow the link below, which is to the Washington State Bar Association's Lawyer Search. The type of lawyer you want is a Real Property or Real Property/Land Use attorney. Or use your phonebook to look for an attorney near you who offers free consultations.

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