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How can I obtain adverse possession of land that is owned by a political subdivision and also be awarded title ?

Philadelphia, PA |

I own a home that sits on land under title of a political subdivision. I've been there over 25 years, payed taxes on the land, and made improvements. The land in question was never devoted for public use nor do I share use of the land with another party.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. You would have to file a quiet title action in court, and establish that you meet all of the requirements for adverse possession. If the court determines that you have had exclusive, continuous, hostile, and open possession for over 21 years - and that the government entity in ownership is not immune from adverse possession - then you may be able to obtain ownership to the property.

    I highly recommend seeking the help of a real estate attorney prior to any action.

    Good Luck.

    Please remember to mark this answer as “Helpful” or “Best Answer” if appropriate. Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Marshall Chriswell

    Law Offices of Marshall D. Chriswell
    714 Philadelphia St., Suite 200
    Indiana, PA 15701
    (888) 438-5977
    (724) 465-5826

    ***

    Marshall D. Chriswell is a civil practitioner with offices in Indiana and Clearfield Counties. Mr. Chriswell's practice emphasizes Wills & Estate Planning, Probate, Real Estate, and general civil disputes.

    ***

    Mr. Chriswell provides free initial consultations, and will gladly meet clients in their homes upon request, including on the evenings or weekends.

    This communication does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, feel free to contact our offices.


  2. I would add that adverse possession laws vary from state to state so you want to make sure to hire an attorney where the property is located to evaluate your case. It is usually only under rare circumstances that a person may claim adverse possession against a municipality or other political subdivision. Again, an attorney in your home state will be able to advise you on the proper course of action and if you meet all the requirements. All the best.

    THIS RESPONSE IS INTENDED TO CONVEY GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY. IT SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON OR TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE. FURTHER, THIS RESPONSE IS NOT INTENDED TO AND DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.


  3. There is one major problem with your claim. There is a general rule in PA, which we inherited from England....... You cannot adversely possess the lands of the King. That rule applies to lands of the Commonwealth, but not necessarily lands of municipalities. In the case of townships, cities and boroughs, your claim will be defeated if the municipality can in any argue with a straight face that a portion of the land is used for a "municipal purpose."

    DISCLAIMER The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Responses are based solely on Pennsylvania law unless stated otherwise. When answering questions on AVVO, attorneys are prohibited from directly soliciting business. Don't take this as an indication of lack of interest. Follow my answers to other questions on Twitter @LandLawyer James S. Tupitza 212 West Gay Street West Chester, PA 19380 610-696-2600

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