Tacoma, WA asked in Real Estate Law and Civil Rights for Washington

Q: If you have found a house that has been abanded over three years and you move part way in and doing repairs on the house

and have a notary about adverese possession and some showed up claiming to be the owner what rights do i have

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1 Lawyer Answer
Ben F Meek III
Ben F Meek III

A: Your rights are probably limited to gathering your things and going peaceably or risk being forcibly removed. Your attempt to establish ownership by adverse possession will probably fail, because the period for which you must actually, openly, notoriously, continuously occupy the property against the owner's wishes is probably longer than you've occupied it. In my state, for example, the period is 15 years. If you've been in the house under the conditions I mentioned longer than your state's proscription period, your possession may have ripened into ownership. But these cases are uncommon and difficult to win.

You should contact an attorney in your area immediately. You may be merely a squatter without rights in the place. If the owner asks you to leave and you do not, you would become a trespasser.

PS: My comments here are for general information and not advice about your specific situation nor the applicability of any particular law. They are not an invitation to join in, nor intended to create, nor do they create, an attorney-client relationship.

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