When a person owns real estate, one of the worst things they could have happen in regards to their property is losing some of their property without receiving any compensation for it. One thing that can sometimes lead to this occurring is when another party, without permission, uses the property for a long period of time.
This is due to the legal doctrine of adverse possession. Under this doctrine, a trespasser can make a claim for rights to a piece of real estate if they used the property without permission in an open and public manner for a certain period of time and meet certain requirements.
How long does a trespassing need to go for for the trespasser to be able to make a claim for adverse possession rights to a property? This varies from state to state. Here in Michigan, a trespasser generally is required to have been in occupation of a property for at least 15 years to be eligible for adverse possession rights in relation to the property.
Thus, a trespasser occupying one's property could potentially have major impacts on a property owner if the occupation goes on for a long time. Consequently, it can be very important for a property owner to properly address trespasses against their property.
There are actions property owners can take to try to prevent their property from falling victim to adverse possession. Attorneys can provide Michigan property owners who are concerned about the possibility of adverse possession with guidance on their options.
Source: FindLaw, "Michigan Adverse Possession Laws," Accessed March 19, 2015