Louisiana Adverse Possession Laws

It’s a little-known and rarely-used area of law, but the legal concept known as “adverse possession” can have a big impact on land ownership. Essentially, if a person continually trespasses for a certain amount of time, he or she may gain a right of ownership or pass-through. So how does the Bayou State handle adverse possession cases, and how can you protect your property? Here is a brief overview of adverse possession laws in Louisiana.

Adverse Possession Laws in General

Though many people have never heard of it, the idea of "adverse possession" is a fairly old legal doctrine. In order encourage landowners to make beneficial use of their land, trespassers are allowed to gain legal title to property if they openly inhabit and improve the property for a specified amount of time. Under Louisiana law, an individual must occupy property for at least 10 years before the possibility of ownership.

Adverse Possession in Louisiana

The basics of adverse possession laws in Louisiana are listed below.

Code Section

Louisiana Laws Civil Code CC 3473, et seq.: Prescription of Ten Years

Time Period Required for Occupation

10 yrs.and Color of Title: 10 yrs.

Time for Landowner to Challenge/Effect of Landowner's Disability

-

Improvements

-

Payment of Taxes

-

Title from Tax Assessor

-

Before you get too worried about trespassers taking your land, or too excited to take someone else’s, adverse possession requires four additional elements:

  • There must be actual possession: the trespasser must be physically present on the land, treating it as his or her own;
  • There must be exclusive and continuous possession: the trespasser cannot share possession with others, and must be in possession of the land for an uninterrupted period of time;
  • There must be a “hostile” claim: the trespasser must either make an honest mistake (like relying on an incorrect deed), merely occupy the land (with or without knowledge that it is private property), or be aware of his or her trespassing; and
  • There must be open and notorious possession: the act of trespassing cannot be secret.

Related Resources for Louisiana Adverse Possession Laws

State property statutes, especially concepts like adverse possession, can be confusing. You can visit FindLaw’s adverse possession section for additional resources and information on this topic. You can also contact a Louisiana real estate attorney if you would like legal assistance with a real estate case or adverse possession matter, or if you would like to understand your rights and responsibilities as a landowner.

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