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North Carolina Adverse Possession Laws

The legal doctrine known as "adverse possession" allows trespassers who openly inhabit and improve an otherwise abandoned piece of property to gain title to that property after certain conditions are met. For instance, North Carolina's adverse possession laws require an individual to occupy an otherwise neglected property publicly for at least 20 years, or seven years with "color of title" (meaning he or she has reason to believe they have the right to possess the property).

The following chart lists the main provisions of North Carolina adverse possession laws.

Code Section 1-38, et seq.; 1-17
Time Period Required for Occupation 20 yrs.and Color of Title: 7 yrs.
Time for Landowner to Challenge/Effect of Landowner's Disability After disability lifted: 3 yrs.
Improvements -
Payment of Taxes -
Title from Tax Assessor -

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a North Carolina real estate attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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