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Ohio Adverse Possession Laws

It is pretty much common knowledge that it is illegal to trespass (enter without permission) onto someone else’s land. But what if someone continues to trespass onto the same area of land year after year? According to the legal theory of adverse possession, if someone trespasses continuously for a certain amount of time, title to the land may eventually pass to the trespasser. This result may seem unfair, but adverse possession laws are intended to promote the productive use and maintenance of land.

In general, to obtain title to land through adverse possession, a trespasser must satisfy four requirements:

  1. He or she must enter or use the land without the permission of the owner;
  2. He or she must actually be present on the land, as well as treating and using it as if it were his or her own;
  3. He or she must use the land in an open and obvious way; and
  4. He or she must use the land for a continuous period of time, without sharing possession with others.

Different states have different laws regarding adverse possession. Typically, title will not be conferred until a certain amount of time has passed. In Ohio, adverse possession laws require a 21-year period of occupation before title is conferred to the trespasser.

The basic provisions of Ohio's adverse possession laws are listed below. See Adverse Possession: Continuous Trespassers' Rights for more details.

Code Section

2305.04

Time Period Required for Occupation

21 yrs.-

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

With disability: 21 yrs.; After disability lifted: 10 yrs.

Improvements

-

Payment of Taxes

-

Title from Tax Assessor

-

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

More Information

If you’re interested in finding out more information on Ohio’s adverse possession laws, click on the links to additional resources listed below. For more general information on the topic, you might find FindLaw’s section on land use laws useful. Finally, for legal advice and assistance, you might consider consulting or retaining a local real estate attorney.

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