Jacksonville Adverse Possession Attorney
Adverse possession basically means that a person can acquire ownership of someone else’s land merely by possessing the land for a certain period of time and meeting other requirements in the law. Individuals who are trying to claim property through adverse possession must be familiar with all of the legal requirements and risks involved. Likewise, property owners who want to keep their property free from adverse possession claims need to also know the law and vigilantly guard against adverse possessors. If you find yourself in litigation on either side of an adverse possession suit in Duval, Clay, St. Johns or Nassau County, Jacksonville real property litigation attorney Daniel M. Copeland can advocate for you and represent your interests in court. Learn more about adverse possession below, and call Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. for a no-cost evaluation of your case.
Adverse possession under Florida law
Florida law on adverse possession can be found in Florida Statutes Chapter 95. Under these statutes, the legal title holder of a piece of property is presumed to have possession of the property. It is up to the person claiming to hold the property by adverse possession to prove all of the elements that make up an adverse possession claim. There are two different paths to adverse possession in Florida:
Under color of title
If the adverse possessor has what is known as “color of title,” such as a written instrument of conveyance or a judgment or decree regarding the property, the person can claim the property by adverse possession by possessing the property for seven continuous years. A person can demonstrate possession by cultivating or improving the land or protecting the property by a substantial enclosure.
Without color of title
If the adverse possessor does not have any written instrument showing a right to claim the land, the individual must meet all of the following criteria in order to claim the property by adverse possession:
- Actual, continued possession for seven years
- Paid all outstanding taxes and liens levied against the property by the state, county or municipality within one year of entering into possession
- Made a return of the property to the county appraiser
- Continued to pay taxes during the period of possession
When the adverse possessor makes a return of the property to the county appraiser, the appraiser sends a copy of the return to the owner of record, who may choose to make the tax payments on the property. An owner’s tax payments have priority over an adverse possessor’s tax payments, so the owner can defeat the adverse possession claim by choosing to make the tax payments.
Occupying a residential structure without making a return is not adverse possession; it’s trespass.
Occupying a residential structure without making a return and trying to lease the property to another is not leasing; it’s theft.
Call Jacksonville Real Estate Litigation Attorney Daniel M. Copeland for Help with Florida Adverse Possession Claims
Jacksonville attorney Daniel M. Copeland has been active in real property litigation for more than 15 years, and over that time he has litigated a number of adverse possession claims. Your real property is likely your most valuable property, and your property rights are among the most important of all your rights. Get efficient, effective legal help with your Jacksonville adverse possession claim by calling Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. at 904-482-0616 for a complimentary evaluation of your case.