While trespassing is a crime, adverse possession statutes provide loopholes in the law to account for certain situations in which a "squatter" or "continuous trespasser" may actually have a valid claim to the land. Under these laws, individuals who openly inhabit and improve an otherwise neglected piece of property may gain legal title to the parcel after a statutory period of time has passed (often 10 to 20 years). Adverse possession laws typically are used to help resolve confusion over property boundaries or to provide legal title in the absence of an official record of home ownership.
Adverse possession laws are rooted in common law and date back to the Roman Empire, where anyone who was in possession of any good without a title would become the rightful owner if the original owner failed to claim the property. Of course, stolen goods or land were not covered by this law in Ancient Rome.
Idaho Adverse Possession Law at a Glance
Idaho once had a relatively short, five-year time period after which a continuous trespasser could claim legal title, but it has been expanded to 20 years. The state requires payment of property taxes in order to qualify.
See FindLaw's Land Use Laws section for more related articles and resources.
|Code Section||5-203, et seq.|
|Time Period Required for Occupation||And Color of Title: 20 yrs. and Payment of Taxes: 20 yrs.|
|Time for Landowner to Challenge/Effect of Landowner's Disability||After disability lifted: 20 yrs.|
|Improvements||Taxes plus cultivation 20 years|
|Payment of Taxes||Required|
|Title from Tax Assessor||-|
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the enactment of newly signed legislation, higher court decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you also may want to contact an Idaho land use 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:
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Idaho Adverse Possession Law: Related Resources
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