Bernstein & Feldman, P.A.

Providing Personal Counsel
And Representation For Over
30 Years

Maryland adverse possession laws

Maryland residents interested in real estate transactions may wish to know more about a state real estate law that may seem counterintuitive. This law allows others to unlawfully possess land for a period of time in order to gain ownership of that property.

This legal principle, known as "adverse possession," has been around for a long time. It is an effort to ensure that landowners make use of the land that they possess. The Maryland law allows someone who is technically trespassing on land for 20 years to own that land after the end of that period of time. This means that if the trespasser meets the adverse possession requirements for two decades, they are legally the owners of that land that they had been trespassing on.

In addition to the time period, there are other requirements for adverse possession. The possession of the land by the trespasser must be hostile, meaning that it must be without the permission of the owner. This could be the result of knowingly trespassing or through an honest mistake, such as from an incorrect land deed. Another requirement is that the adverse possesser actually be physically present on the land, as if they did own that piece of property. They cannot be occupying the land in secret, either, as the occupation must be open and notorious. Lastly, the adverse possessor must occupy the property continuously for that period of time and the occupation must be exclusive to them, as if they were the true landowner.

While adverse possession may not make sense to many property owners, it is a very real legal concept. An attorney with experience in real estate issues may be able to help in an adverse possession situation. The attorney may also be helpful in other residential or commercial real estate transactions as well.

Source: Findlaw, "Maryland Property and Real Estate Laws", December 19, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information