Michigan Adverse Possession Law

Adverse Possession Law

There is a specific doctrine in Michigan real estate law called Adverse Possession. This doctrine allows a person to become the owner of land that he or she has occupied for a certain period of time, even if not the titled owner. The Attorneys at TULL & LAUBACH, Attorney Douglas Tull and Attorney Andre R. Laubach have over 40 years of experience handing various real estate law issues, including adverse possession matters. They can review your case and determine how to best address the issues you are facing.

What is adverse possession?

To establish adverse possession, the person claiming it (e.g., the person opposing the real property action by the existing owner, by asserting the limitations-period defense) must show that his or her possession was (1) actual, (2) visible, (3) open, (4) notorious, (5) exclusive, (6) hostile, (7) under cover of a claim of right, (8) continuous, and (9) uninterrupted for the statutory period of 15 years

Where did adverse possession come from?

The larger idea behind the doctrine of adverse possession stems from the occupation and development of a growing America. With land sitting unused and undeveloped, it was thought that the land was being wasted. When someone moved onto the land and was able to make it productive, this was thought to be an improvement and as such, the person who made the land useful should be allowed to become the rightful owner of that land, instead of the owner who let the land sit idle.

Adverse possession by a neighbor

Many adverse possession cases are over a small piece of land, such as the strip of land between neighbors (often along fence lines). If the property lines are drawn incorrectly, and your land is actually being used by a neighbor, that person may become the legal owner of that land in years to come if you don’t take some action to protect your interests.

This is why it is essential that an Owner obtain a proper boundary survey when purchasing property, and actually compare the survey to the “land” which he/she is purchasing. Boundary disputes and property line disputes can lead to adverse possession (or to a companion theory known as the Doctrine of Acquiescence, so it is important to take action if you believe that a neighbor is on your property and using it (and claiming it) as his or her own land. Attorneys Douglas A. Tull and Andre Laubach assist individuals on either side of adverse possession matters (either side of the fence!): those attempting to retain their land and those who have taken over land and wish it now to be declared legally theirs.

For more qualified advice and guidance regarding matters of adverse possession law from the attorneys at TULL & LAUBACH, please call toll-free, 1-866-TULL-LAW (885-5529), or e-mail our firm. Our office is conveniently located in the heart of Utica, Michigan, at the southwest corner of Hall Road (M-59) and Van Dyke Avenue. (Map and directions ) Evening or weekend hours are available by appointment. Home visits are available for the elderly and those with special needs. Credit cards accepted.