Contrary to popular belief, the property deed is not the only factor needed to determine who owns a piece of property. Due to adverse possession and easement disputes, an encroacher on your property may be able to secure the right to that property if left unchecked. Our Beverly Hills real estate litigation team explains how you can safeguard your property below.
If a trespasser uses any part of your property for a period of five years or more and pays property taxes for that period, they may be entitled to ownership over that piece of property. If they are successful in obtaining ownership of your property, they may acquire the title to it forever. To prove an adverse possession claim, evidence is needed that the occupant:
- Is openly and exclusively using the land as if it were their own.
- Is physically existing on the property.
- Has been paying taxes on the property and living in it for 5 years.
- Is not secretly hiding in the home.
Individuals that hold rental properties are especially prone to squatters when the proper precautions are not taken. Paying your property taxes on time is the first step to take in preventing adverse possession, as well as making sure any rental properties are filled with tenants.
Making sure subletting is prohibited in lease agreements is also highly recommended, along with hiring a property manager to watch over your properties for you when you unable to.
An easement is the right to use someone else’s land without actually owning it. While many easements are created to allow things like power and phone lines to be constructed on private property, they may also be created by neighbors who wish to permanently acquire your land.
There are four types of easements:
- Express Easement: Where a landowner agrees to let another person use some or all of their property, and must be made in writing.
- Implied Easement: Implied easements are not based on written agreements, and must be based on prior use.
- Easement by Necessity: This type of easement is necessary if there is no possible way to access a piece of land without crossing a separate piece of land.
- Prescriptive Easement: When a person uses someone else’s land without the landowner’s consent, but the landowner should have been reasonably aware that the person was using it. The person pursuing this easement must be using the property in the same manner for a continuous period of at least five years.
Easement disputes can be long and complicated affairs, and the best way to resolve them is by contacting experienced legal professionals to keep your property in your possession. We understand how important your property is to you, and Azadegan Law Group is capable of informing you of your rights and helping you take action.
Contact us today through our website or give us a call at (310) 340-1550 to schedule a consultation.