Adverse Possession and Boundary Disputes

The law of Adverse Possession often leads to Boundary Disputes in rural Colorado. Such disputes are common and often far more complex than most property owners may imagine.  Through Adverse Possession, a person may, under certain circumstances and after passage of sufficient time, acquire legal title to her neighbor’s property, without every receiving a deed. Commonly referred to as “Squatters’ Rights,” this legal doctrine can apply in a number of circumstances. It most often arises when someone occupies – continuously for at least 18 years – property she does not own. To acquire ownership by Adverse Possession, the claimant must make exclusive use of the property under circumstances that would make any reasonable owner aware that the occupant asserts ownership of the land to the exclusion of the record owner.   The occupant under Adverse Possession must prove continuous, obvious, exclusive possession of the property and use of a character  clearly hostile to the interest of the true owner.  Claims based on Adverse Possession often arise when property changes hands and the new owner discovers that a fence, previously presumed  to have been the boundary, doesn’t actually lie on the established, legal boundary.  Resolving such disputes usually requires a deep dive into the history of the fence, the boundary and the relationship between the neighboring property owners over a long period of time.  Please call Weaver & Fitzhugh, PC if you have concerns or need more information about Adverse Possession or related issues.

Posted in General Law Tips, Real Estate