Adverse possession in Oklahoma is a when a person does not have legal title to a property but still occupies like they do. The details of what is required to maintain and prove adverse possession are relatively complicated. These things don’t just happen by accident. To make an adverse possession claim, five separate elements must be satisfied. The required length of time in possession, which is 15 years in Oklahoma, to satisfy the law. Even then, adverse possession doesn’t automatically become full title ownership for the person claiming the property. Further, this attempt at full ownership requires a court hearing. This is to show that all the requirements of the law were met.
Developing Full Legal Title From Adverse Possession
Adverse possession can develop into legal title property ownership. However, a few things are required, including the occupation of the land for 15 years. Also, converting the claim into the legal title is not automatic. Even then, it must proceed through the courts to a judgment that makes the claim a fee title ownership with a deed.
There are five elements to an adverse possession claim:
- Actual presence, where the claimant represents themself to be the property owner in every way.
- Exclusive claim that can’t be shared with the true owner or anyone. Additionally, it must be maintained by the person claiming the right.
- Open and notorious, meaning the claimant’s behavior about the property was public and could be observed and was not secretive.
- Hostile in the sense that the valid owner has not agreed to or permitted the possession claimed.
- Continuous and uninterrupted presence throughout the statutory time of 15 years.
Means To Maintain Property Against Adverse Possession Or To Make A Claim
For someone who wants to argue a claim of adverse possession, the five elements discussed above must be maintained for 15 years. This is to satisfy the first step toward obtaining full legal title to the subject property. Additionally, a property owner who wants to avoid having an adverse possession claim successfully brought against a piece of property they own needs to keep watch over the property. This must be done to ensure that no one is occupying it in the way the law requires to maintain adverse possession.
Property may be claimed or occupied in a variety of ways. Fences are a well-recognized boundary marker but are not the exclusive means of property possession. Lines less formally marked, as with lawn care areas or lines marked on the ground or even natural plantings of trees or shrubs in a line, can indicate a person’s claim to some area of land. This can be an easement across property or the whole property itself.
In either case, whether you claim a piece of land that you’ve been openly, notoriously, hostilely, exclusively, and continuously occupying for many years or if you have a property that you don’t visit often, but want to keep it from falling into an adverse possession claim, one of the best tactics is to have the property surveyed to find out the actual legal boundaries. Therefore, once the surveyors have left stakes and markings of the property line, you can erect a fence. Further, this is to notify the world that you are claiming exclusive possession of the property within the fence.
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Get Sound Legal Advice On Your Property Claim
Property claims are a complex area of law. Especially with state and federal laws both written in law books and handed down in case law that may affect your rights to a piece of property. The best thing to do if you claim a disputed piece of land is to consult with a skilled Tulsa business and property attorney at Kania Law Office. Call us at 918-743-2233 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.