It is possible to claim ownership of property that belongs to someone else.Texas law requires you to have exclusive, open, continuous, and without the permission of the property owner for 3 to 10 years.You have 25 years to challenge the property owner’s claim.You can file a lawsuit for adverse possession in Texas.A successful adverse possession claim is rare and requires a lot of evidence because it involves a court taking someone’s property and giving it to someone else.
Step 1: There are legal documents related to the property.
If you want to succeed in an adverse possession claim, you have to have continuous possession of the property.If the owner of record tried to take the property in the form of a lawsuit, a letter asking you to leave, or a police report, the period of time you adversely possessed it would start over.Texas adverse possession law favors the record owner.The more documents you have, the more likely you are to succeed in your claim.Any documents filed in the recorder’s office that are related to the property could be considered to interrupt your claim.A tax liens filed on the property for nonpayment of property taxes would interrupt your claim.
Step 2: It’s a good idea to fence the property.
A fence is a way to show your intent to claim the property.Texas law says that it can’t just be a fence.You can claim adverse possession by enclosing the property with a fence.The borders of the property need to be followed by the fence.You can’t lay claim to any property outside of the fence.You don’t have a claim to the part you’ve fenced if you only fence off part of the property.Texas law does not allow “casual fences” to establish adverse possession.These are fences that are put up to keep out animals.A tall privacy fence that is clearly designed to enclose the property and keep other people out is considered a casual fence.
Step 3: You have to pay taxes on the property.
This is a sign that you intend to take over the property and claim it as your own, if you pay taxes on it.The property owner of record has to dispute your claim for 5 years.There is no claim of adverse possession if the record owner of the property is paying property taxes.The owner of the property is paying property taxes.Paying property taxes is not a guarantee.If you lose your adverse possession claim after paying property taxes, you may not be able to get your money back.If you don’t pay your property taxes, you run the risk that the property will be subject to a tax lien.
Step 4: Make some improvements to the property.
The length of time the record owner has to dispute your claim can be shortened if you improve the property.The property owner of record only has 5 years to file a lawsuit against you if you dispute your claim to the property.Without filing a deed, adverse possessors improve the property.This shortens the time from 25 years to 10.
Step 5: A new chain of title is created.
Texas law requires adverse possessors to have a title.This comes in the form of a deed filed with the county recorder’s office.A warranty deed is not a quitclaim deed.If you want to create a new chain of title, you should talk to a real estate attorney who has done this before.The language used in your deed is very specific.
Step 6: Evaluate the possession period requirement.
The default period of time for which you must keep the property is 10 years, but you can shorten it in a number of ways.You have 25 years to challenge your claim to the property after the title passes to you.3 years is the shortest period.You must have filed a warranty deed in the recorder’s office to apply for this period.You have 5 years to dispute your claim if you file a deed, make improvements, or pay property taxes.If you don’t file a deed, you have to occupy the property for 10 years and the owner has 25 years to challenge your claim.
Step 7: You should consult a real estate attorney.
There are few successful cases of adverse possession.It’s best to have an experienced attorney on your side if you intend to file a suit for adverse possession.You want an attorney with experience representing adverse possessors in title lawsuits.The court will expect you to follow the rules of evidence and procedure if you decide to go it alone.This type of lawsuit requires a lot of time.
Step 8: The owner of the record should be found.
The full legal name of the owner of record is required when you file a lawsuit.If you don’t have a specific address, you need a general location to serve them with the lawsuit.This information can be included in the deed for the property at the recorder’s office.The address of the property you currently own and use is likely to be included in the deed.Property tax records can give clues as to the owner’s location.
Step 9: A petition is a way to try to get a title.
Specific facts about your claim are required in this petition.These facts are listed in the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.You need to show that you have had possession of the property for at least a year before the date of action, and have made permanent and valuable improvements to it.A description of your interest in or title to the property must be included in your petition.An experienced property law attorney can help with these petitions.These lawsuits are usually filed by the owner of record against the adverse possessor.This lawsuit can be used to get a record title on the property.You will need to provide grounds for your claim, as well as a list of any improvements you have made and the value of those improvements.
Step 10: Attach proof of the title.
There is a claim that you have a superior title to the property.You should attach a copy of the deed to your petition if you filed it to create a new chain of title.If you don’t have a title or deed to the property, your complaint must describe your right to it under the theory of adverse possession.You need to have evidence that the record owner did not dispute your possession during the statutory period.If you are in this situation, you should get an attorney to help you.
Step 11: Take your petition to the clerk’s office.
You can file a lawsuit in the county where the property is located.Call ahead or check the court’s website to find out if additional forms are required, as well as the amount of the filing fees and methods of payment accepted.Bring your original petition with you.The 2 copies will be given to you by the clerk.There are two copies of your records, one for you and the other for the owner.
Step 12: The record owner should be served.
Service is fairly simple if you know the location of the record owner.Hire a sheriff’s deputy or private process server to deliver the petition and subpoena to the record owner.You can serve the owner of record through publication if you don’t have an exact address.You publish a legal advertisement announcing the petition in a newspaper of record in the area where the owner might be.Publishing in the county where the property is located is enough.If you don’t have an attorney and need to serve the owner through publication, someone in the clerk of court’s office can help you.
Step 13: You should gather evidence of your possession.
It’s difficult to find enough evidence to prove an adverse possession claim.You need photos and testimony from witnesses, as well as legal documents.Your evidence must also be continuous since it’s your possession.If your claim falls under the 10-year statute of limitations, you need to show that you have used the property for at least 10 years.It must be regular and constant for possession to be continuous.No one else had access to the property.This may be established by a proper fence.If you show that your possession was open, the record owner and anyone in the area can see that you were using the property.
Step 14: You have to appear in court for the hearing.
A judge will review the petition and facts presented at the hearing.If the record owner doesn’t show up or respond to your lawsuit, you may be able to win by default.It is up to you to prove in court that you are the rightful owner of the property.The judge decides who has the right to the property based on the evidence presented.The judge will issue a “take nothing” order if you don’t prove that you have superior title.You may be able to make a claim if you made improvements to the property.You can ask for compensation at the hearing.