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What is Adverse Possession in Arizona?

Berk Law Group, P.C.

So some people wonder what is adverse possession and how do you get adverse possession of property.

Hi, I’m Kent Berk. I’m an attorney at the Scottsdale, Arizona law firm of Berk Law Group, P.C. where we handle real estate and other types of disputes in Arizona.

In Arizona, there’s actually different types of adverse possession and different deadlines that apply to different adverse possession actions. The typical adverse possession that people think of is getting ownership of property by simply possessing it or using the property. And under Arizona law, the possession must be continuous and must be satisfied for a 10-year period. And there’s five elements that need to be satisfied for the entire 10-year period. If any one of the elements is missing for any part of the 10-year period, then there’s no adverse possession. And those five elements are easily remembered using the acronym OCEAN for Open Continuous Exclusive Adverse and Notorious. Those are the five elements. And if those five elements are met or satisfied continuously for the full 10-year statute of limitations, then the possessor can get ownership of the property from the title owner.

Now, there’s certain ways to try and avoid a claim for adverse possession. Obviously, know what your property is and pay attention to it to make sure no one is using it that shouldn’t be. Have your property surveyed, fence the boundaries of your property to make sure that someone else can’t fence in your property and take possession of it. You can also pursue a quiet title action to have the court declare that someone who might be claiming title by adverse possession is not entitled to get ownership of your property. And I’ll talk about quiet title action in another video.

If you have any questions regarding real estate dispute or other matter in Arizona, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thank you.