What is Adverse Possession? - Definition, Law & Cases


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What are the four elements of adverse possession?

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1. If a person is sending workers onto your unimproved forest land for a continuous period of fifteen years to harvest timber and sell it for profit, and the period required in the adverse possession rules is ten years, will that person then be in a position to obtain title to your land?

2. What is one way you can stop someone from gaining title to your property under a theory of adverse possession?

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

Under the law, adverse possession seems like squatters have rights. If certain requirements are met, a person can occupy land they don't own and gain title to it. You will be quizzed on elements that must be met under adverse possession, and how landowners can protect themselves from adverse possession.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

In these assessments you'll be tested on:

  • The four elements of adverse possession
  • Whether loggers would have a claim to the title of your land if they continuously take timber from your land for a longer period than the law requires for adverse possession
  • A way that a landowner can prevent someone from gaining adverse possession to their land
  • If a person can gain adverse possession after building a house on your property that, before living in it for nine years, had remained vacant for three years
  • Determining if someone who builds a home and fences part of your vacant vacation property for his use can obtain a title to your property

Skills Practiced

  • Information recall - access the knowledge you've gained regarding the four elements required for adverse possession
  • Defining key concepts - ensure that you can accurately define main phrases, such as open and notorious
  • Critical thinking - apply relevant concepts to examine information about adverse possession in a different light

Additional Learning

Want to learn more about adverse possession? Then review the accompanying lesson titled What is Adverse Possession? - Definition, Law & Cases. Besides giving you examples of adverse possession, the lesson also covers the following objectives:

  • Define adverse possession and know the origin of this doctrine
  • Know the requirements for adverse possession
  • Understand hostile in the context of adverse possession and list the two ways occupation can be hostile
  • Define actual possession and understand how this requirement can be fulfilled
  • Differentiate between open and notorious, and secret and hidden
  • Explain what exclusive and continuous occupation requires
  • Know the statutory time for adverse possession
  • Understand the ways an owner can protect himself from adverse possession