Texas Adverse Possession Laws

It seems a bit counter-intuitive, but under the legal theory of adverse possession, if someone trespasses onto land continuously and improves the land over a period of time, title to the land may eventually pass to the trespasser. Adverse possession laws are intended to promote the productive use and maintenance of the land and discourage letting land go to waste. 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 (unless it would constitute adverse possession by tenants in common).

To give an example, someone who publicly inhabits a foreclosed house for a certain period of time, improves the property, and pays taxes may claim legal residence. In Texas, the landowner has 25 years in which to challenge the claim -- and then title passes to the trespasser.

Learn more about Texas adverse possession laws and related matters below.

Code Section

Civ. Prac. & Rem. §16.024, et seq.

Time Period Required for Occupation

10 yrs.and Color of Title: 3 yrs. and Color of Title/Payment of taxes: 5 yrs

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

With disability: 25 yrs.

Improvements

Taxes plus cultivation: 5 yrs.; Cultivation only: 10 yrs.

Payment of Taxes

Required

Title from Tax Assessor

-

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

For more information on Texas adverse possession laws, feel free to check out the links to the related resources provided below. You can also learn more about this area of law, in general, by browsing FindLaw’s real estate law section. Finally, if you believe you have an adverse possession claim, or you would like to protect yourself from an adverse possession claim, you may want to talk to a local Texas real estate lawyer.

Research the Law

Texas Adverse Possession Laws: Related Resources

Contact a Texas Real Estate Attorney

It can be difficult to actually obtain property through adverse possession because you must meet all the requirements. Whether you are trying to establish an adverse possession claim or trying to defend against a claim, you will need the expertise of a lawyer. You should contact an attorney experienced in Texas real estate.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.