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New Hampshire Adverse Possession Laws

Even though trespassing is prohibited in all states, adverse possession laws provide a workaround for special situations where a "squatter" may have legal claim to a property. Adverse possession statutes allow individuals who openly inhabit and improve an otherwise neglected piece of property to gain legal title to the property after a statutory period of time has passed (typically at least 10 years). These laws primarily are used to resolve confusion over property boundaries or to generate an official legal title in the absence of home ownership records (such as in the case of homes that are passed down through the generations without official transfer of title).

These laws are based on common law and date back to the Roman Empire, where an individual in possession of an item without a title would become the rightful owner if the original owner failed to claim the property.

New Hampshire Adverse Possession Law at a Glance

New Hampshire's adverse possession law is relatively brief and to the point, requiring at least 20 years of occupation before title may be claimed.

See FindLaw's Land Use Laws section for more related articles and resources.

Code Section 508:2, 3
Time Period Required for Occupation 20 yrs.-
Time for Landowner to Challenge/Effect of Landowner's Disability After disability lifted: 5 yrs.
Improvements -
Payment of Taxes -
Title from Tax Assessor -

Note: State laws are subject to change at any time through the enactment of newly signed legislation, decisions from higher courts, and other means. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you may also want to contact a New Hampshire real estate and zoning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Requirements for Claiming Property Under Adverse Possession Laws

State adverse possession laws all generally follow these six guidelines:

  1. Actual Possession - Physically present and actually using the property
  2. Continuous Period - Possession is not divided into periods, but continuous
  3. Hostile - No permission has been granted by the lawful owner
  4. Open and Notorious - No attempt has been made to hide from the lawful owner
  5. Exclusive Possession - Possession has been maintained by a single party
  6. Color of Title - Good faith belief that they are legally entitled to the property (a requirement in some states)

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New Hampshire Adverse Possession Law: Related Resources

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