BOCA RATON “SQUATTER”: ADVERSE POSSESSION

Every first year law student has learned about adverse possession while in law school. Most of them, maybe only momentarily, had thoughts of grandeur. Thoughts of “owning” a beautiful piece of property for doing nothing more than trespassing, paying some taxes, and making themselves at home.    

boca raton property guidingThe doctrine is called “Adverse Possession,” and allows that after continuous possession for a period of time, a trespasser may gain ownership of the land, extinguishing the rights of the record landowner.  Although the majority of adverse possession cases involve boundary disputes between neighbors, there was recently a $2.5 million dollar home in Boca Raton, FL that had a “squatter” in possession and staking claim since December 2012.  Regrettably for him, Bank of America with the assistance of local law enforcement retook possession of the home last week.

Below is a short summary, of this very old, yet very relevant law that is still on the books in Florida.

To qualify for an adverse possession claim, the trespasser’s occupation of the land must be:

  • Hostile (without permission)
  • Actual (physical occupation)
  • Open and notorious (obvious to bystanders)
  • Exclusive and continuous for 7 years.

In Florida, the trespasser must have paid taxes on the property during the 7 years or have some document or deed related to ownership of the property.

This is a generalized discussion, is not intended for any particular set of facts, and should not be relied upon as such. By no means does this blog create an attorney-client relationship or attorney-client privilege between the attorney and the readers. The law frequently changes as new cases are decided and published regularly. Anything relied upon in this or any blog, is done so at the readers own risk.

VERNON W. GUIRGUIS, ESQ.
The Guirguis Law Firm, PLLC
1423 S.E. 16th Place, STE 204
Cape Coral, Florida 33990
239.573.9939 Telephone
239.603.6965 Facsimile
GuirguisLaw@gmail.com

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Posted on February 13, 2013, in Legal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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