Adverse Possession and Quiet Title Actions

December 24, 2022

quiet title and adverse possession in Huntsville, Alabama

One of the most commonly misunderstood areas of Real Property law is that surrounding adverse possession. Even if you legally own property, someone else can take possession of it and eventually legally own it. This is a significant fear for many homeowners, and for good reason—gradually losing bits and pieces of your land or losing all of your property in one fell swoop, is a nightmare. However, with a quiet title action, you may be able to protect yourself from adverse possession.

Facing a real estate dispute is scary. Doing it on your own is even worse. Make sure you have the legal representation you deserve by calling Hodges Trial Lawyers at 256-826-4129.

Adverse Possession in Alabama

Adverse possession laws vary between states, so it’s crucial to know the laws that govern your Alabama property. Alabama generally requires that someone possess a piece of property for 20 consecutive years before they become owners, but there are exceptions. If the other party falls under one of these exceptions the time period may be reduced to 10 years. 

The most important factor and the most easily avoidable factor is time.  It is essential that you remain vigilant of property lines and bring any issues to light.  Many successful adverse possession claims are a result of delay, ignorance, or procrastination.  A simple discussion with an attorney sooner rather than later can assist you in finding the most efficient and effective solution to prevent adverse possession of your land.

What is a Quiet Title?

If you have done everything you can to resolve the issue out of court, you may want to consider bringing a Quiet Title lawsuit to clear clouded title.  A piece of land with clouded title is one that has an adverse possession, ownership, or encroachment disputes.  In other words, buyers do not want to buy land that might need a lawsuit to resolve ownership.  A quiet title lawsuit allows you to bring your case to court and have the judge decide who owns the land.  The judge’s decision will “quiet” the title to the land and resolve disputes between the parties.

How a Quiet Title Can Protect You from Adverse Possession

Once a court decides a quiet title action, the loser cannot continue to make claims to the property. However, a quiet title action can be complicated and time-consuming.  It involves notifying any other parties who believe they have a rightful claim to your property so they can challenge your claim in court. In some cases, the trespassers will give up their claims once they realize you have actually taken legal action. In others, they will hire their own real estate attorney and ramp up their efforts to take ownership of the property.

When it comes to ownership disputes an ounce of prevention is often worth a pound of cure. Taking action sooner rather than later cannot only give you a better case it may discourage the other party from maintain their claims to your land.

Why You Need an Attorney

Trying to clear title to your property without a lawyer can be risky.  If the other party is able to convince the court that they are the real owners, you may lose the disputed property.  What is more, adverse possession and quiet title law is complex. You need an attorney who understands the law and how to protect your property.

Find Out How Hodges Trial Lawyers Can Help with Your Quiet Title Action

Worried about someone gaining ownership of your property? A quiet title action could be the right move for you. Discuss this and other options with Hodges Trial Lawyers. Call us at 256-826-4129 or fill out our contact form to get started.