Adverse possession amid the foreclosure crisis

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12 Responses

  1. Flower Mound is a suburb of Dallas, not Houston. To those of us who enjoy(ed) living in Houston, there could be little greater insult than to equate it to living in Dallas.

  2. Ken Rhodes says:

    I’m surprised to hear that adverse possession (a) is unknown to people, and/or (b) becomes a source of outrage. I remember from my childhood (60 years ago) watching more than one Saturday morning episode of The Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, and others where the hero rode in on his white horse (or, in the case of Roy Rogers, on his Palomino) to save the poor hard-working squatters on their meager forty acres from the gunslingers and other roughnecks hired by the evil rich landowners with their thousands of acres of open range.

  3. David Fagundes says:

    Daniel, I checked Google maps and you’re right. I’ve fixed the post to reflect geographical accuracy and to fend off any regional disputes. Thanks for the correction.

    Ken, I share your puzzlement that public anger about adverse possession tends to lie with title-holders rather than squatters. Perhaps the reason is that many adverse possessors are not poor squatters trying to live out a hardscrabble existence one one of an evil landowner’s thousand acres, but simply one suburbanite seeking to take advantage of another. This was true in a recent Colorado case, for example.

    I suppose the lesson may be that public sentiment is determined more by the (perception of) the characters involved than in the accuracy of the doctrinal claims.

    As for AP being regarded as unknown, I can’t explain that one. Few if any doctrines in property law have as long a pedigree, and every state has some variant of AP. Perhaps it’s that AP is rarely invoked, so it lacks popular salience.

  4. Ken Rhodes says:

    “I suppose the lesson may be that public sentiment is determined more by the (perception of) the characters involved than in the accuracy of the doctrinal claims.”

    Bingo! We root for good guys, and against bad guys, irrespective of who’s right or wrong.

  5. Dr. DEL MONTE says:

    The statement made by David Fagundes towards the end of the article that,”At any time during that period, the titleholder to the house can demand that Robinson leave, and even get the police to come and kick him out for trespassing.” —is not quite accurate. At least in some municipalities/jurisdictions in Texas the police will respond that it is a civil matter and to take it up with the courts. A family member had rented a small apartment to an individual with a wife and two children. Subsequently that family had broken into a house nearby (with a broken window as evidence)owned by my family member and squatted there with no key or lease. My family member had to file an eviction proceeding with the local justice of the peace and have a deputy sheriff then evict after court order. All told it cost $500 and took a little over three weeks (nearly a month) to oust the “trespassers.” During that time the squatters damaged property and moved a total of three other families into the house without any electricity or water. There was excrement all over the walls and they left it a veritible shit hole. The culprits had no criminal consequences whatsoever. So yeah, some municipal police forces (this particular municipality has a huge budget and force that keeps proceeds from all seizures & are part of a civil service system that makes it extremely difficult to oust bad/corrupt police officers ) will pass the buck to the courts and another enforcement agency (the sheriff).

  6. Steve says:

    Flower Mound, Texas’s own Kenneth Robinson adverse possession class coming soon!!!

    alt site:

  7. M Hogan says:

    Recently won an adverse possession case and was awarded $200,000 in punitive damages because the owner of record tried to fence the property. Too bad for the record owner!

    See West v. Hogan NY 2009 and upheld on appeal

  8. R Sly says:

    Any time the owner of record tries to re-establish ownership of lands lost to adverse possession (via self help) , he should be fined an extraordinary amout. $200,000 hardly covers the legal bill of establishing ownership via adverse possession.

  9. R Boulder says:


  10. J Lorton says:

    Fined $200,000 for trying to protect title? Outrageous!!! And only in New York. This ruling will create mischeif between neighbors and entice many to sue their neighbors in the hopes of getting free property, legal fees and boot!

    Our only hope is that it is overturned in the court of appeals. Otherwise, there will be untold lawsuits on contingency.

  11. T Martin says:

    Ah, mischeivious neighbors lining up to claim mowed property and the neighbor’s lawn their dog peeed in. I can see the tears now” Been using that lawn for Boopsie for 20 years, and now he is defending title…..I want the land, and the sonabiches bank account………..Ansd I’m sure their will be plenty of attorneys taking it on contingency.

  12. j hebert says:

    been there, done that. bought 2 miles on a river in col. after the sale, I found out that the owner in title (seller) lost the land by adverse possession while he was in a VA hospital from a stroke in a coma. The neighbor had his estate attorney represent the owner in title with out his knowledge, an elderly man in a diminished capacity, with no heirs. The neighbor had 2 attorney’s, 1 on both sides of the isle. When I found out and filed a complaint with the police, the bar and anyone else that would listen including the Attorney general. The attorney that represented the seller, closed shop, he was now the county judge! I applied for his job. I lost the case and property and my money. It sold for a million $. The ex-judges sister ended up with the property