State-by-State Rules on Adverse Possession

In some circumstances, a trespasser who comes onto your land and occupies it may gain legal ownership of it. The legal term for this is "adverse possession." Here’s where to find your state rules covering adverse possession.

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Under certain circumstances, a trespasser can come onto land, occupy it, and gain legal ownership of it. The legal term for this is “adverse possession.” To qualify as adverse possession (and to get ownership of the property), the trespasser’s occupation of the land must be:

  • hostile (meaning without permission, though the definition can vary by state)
  • actual (meaning physical occupation)
  • open and notorious (meaning the possession is obvious to onlookers), and
  • exclusive and continuous for a certain period of time.

The time period that the trespasser must have occupied the land varies by state. To find the time period in your state, see the table below. In some states, the trespasser must have paid taxes on the property during this time period. Other states don’t require payment of property taxes, but will apply a shorter time requirement for land occupation if the trespasser has paid taxes. And some states don’t mention tax payments at all in their adverse possession statutes.

Finally, some states will only allow an adverse possession claim if the trespasser has some sort of a document or deed related to ownership of the property (even if the document is inaccurate or carries no legal weight).

For more information on the legal requirements for adverse possession, and how to prevent adverse possession if you are a landowner, see Nolo’s article Adverse Possession: When Trespassers Become Owners.

Use the following adverse possession statute table as a starting point, and read related statutes (you’ll find these in the Nolo article Disputes Between Neighbors: Your State Laws).  You might also search your state laws under “limitations of action” or “prescription.” To learn more about legal research, see Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research section.

 

State

Adverse Possession Statute

Time Required (in Years) for Continuous Possession

In Order to Make an Adverse Possession Claim, You must have…

Alabama

Ala. Code Ann. § 6-5-200

10 (deed or taxes)

A document or deed, or paid taxes on the property during this time period.

Alaska

Alaska Stat. Ann. §§ 09.10.030, 09.45.052

10, 7 (deed)

A document or deed in the shorter time period noted.

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 12-522 and following

10, 5 (deed, taxes if city lot), 3 (deed, taxes)

A document or deed and paid taxes on the property during the shorter time period above.

Arkansas

Ark. Code Ann. §§ 18-61-103, 18-11-106

7 (deed, taxes)

A document or deed and paid taxes on the property during the shorter time period above.

California

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 325

5 (taxes)

Paid taxes on the property in this state during this time period.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 38-41-101, 38-41-108

18, 7 (deed, taxes)

A document or deed and paid taxes on the property during the shorter time period above.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-575

15

 

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 10 § 7901

20

 

District of Columbia

D.C. Code Ann. §§ 16-1113, 12-301

15

 

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.12 and following

7 (deed or taxes)

A document or deed, or paid taxes on the property during this time period.

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. §§ 44-4-7, 44-5-14, 44-5-161 and following

20, 7 (deed)

A document or deed in the shorter time period noted.

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 657-31 to 31.5

20

 

Idaho

Idaho Code Ann. §§ 5-206 and following

20 (taxes)

Paid taxes on the property in this state during this time period.

Illinois

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. §§ 5/13-105, 107, 109

20, 7 (deed or taxes)

A document or deed, or paid taxes on the property during this time period.

Indiana

Ind. Code Ann. §§ 32-23-1-1, 34-11-2-11

10 (taxes)

Paid taxes on the property in this state during this time period.

Iowa

Iowa Code Ann. § 614.17A

10

 

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-503

15

 

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 413.010, 413.060

15, 7 (deed)

A document or deed in the shorter time period noted.

Louisiana

La. Civ. Code art. 3475, 3486

30, 10 (deed)

A document or deed in the shorter time period noted.

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 14, § 801

20

 

Maryland

Md. Ann. Code [Cts. & Jud. Proc.] § 5-103

20

 

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 260, § 21

20

 

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 600.5801

15

 

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 541.02

15 (taxes)

Paid taxes on the property in this state during this time period.

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. §§ 15-1-7, 15-1-13

10

 

Missouri

Mo. Stat. Ann. § 516.010

10

 

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 70-19-411

5 (taxes)

Paid taxes on the property in this state during this time period.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-202

10

 

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 11.070, 11.110, 11.150, 40.090

15 (taxes), 5 (deed, taxes)

A document or deed and paid taxes on the property during the shorter time period above.

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 508:2

20

 

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:14-30

30

 

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 37-1-22

10 (deed)

A document or deed in the shorter time period noted.

New York

New York Real Prop. Acts. Law § 501, 511

10

 

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 1-38, 1-40

20, 7 (deed)

A document or deed in the shorter time period noted.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code Ann. §§ 28-01-04 and following, 47-06-03

20, 10 (deed, taxes)

A document or deed and paid taxes on the property during the shorter time period above.

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.04

21

 

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 93

15

 

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 12.050, 105.620

10

 

Pennsylvania

42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5530

21

 

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 34-7-1

10

 

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 15-67-210

10

 

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §§ 15-3-1, 15-3-15

20, 10 (taxes, deed)

You must have a document or deed in the shorter time period noted.

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 28-2-101 to 28-2-103

7 (deed)

A document or deed in the shorter time period noted.

Texas

Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 16.021 and following

10, 5 (deed, taxes)

A document or deed and paid taxes on the property during the shorter time period above.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. §§ 78B-2-208 to 78B-2-214

7 (taxes)

Paid taxes on the property in this state during this time period.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 501

15

 

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-236

15

 

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 4.16.020, 7.28.050

10, 7 (deed or taxes)

A document or deed, or paid taxes on the property during this time period.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code § 55-2-1

10

 

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. Ann. §§ 893.25 to 893.27

20, 10 (deed), 7 (deed, taxes)

A document or deed and paid taxes on the property during the shorter time period above.

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-3-103

10

 

 

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