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If you’re a property owner in Southern California, you need to know how Los Angeles adverse possession law works. Boundary disputes are all too common, and you need to know what your rights are if this happens to you.

The basics are fairly easy to understand. Every property owner has the right to protect his or her property, but a neighbor who has encroached on the property for a period of time that’s deemed significant may be able to claim ownership of that property by using adverse possession law.

As you can probably tell by this description, it can get complicated, and there are all sorts of negative outcomes that can occur.

To start, the deed isn’t the sole factor that’s used to figure out who actually owns the property. This might seem odd, but under California law another significant factor is who paid taxes on the property. This has been the case ever since California made the decision to freeze property taxes back in 1978 after Proposition 13 was passed.

So how does it work? Let’s take the example of a hillside property that the owner paid taxes on for an extended period.

The deed may indicate otherwise, but even if that happens the tax payer may be declared the owner of the property based on the way adverse possession law works.

To gave this kind of eligibility, at least five years of payment of taxes and possession is required for legal title. If the adverse possession is done in secret, however, these provisions may not be legally valid.

This concept can cut both ways. For example, a homeowner may want to take possession of a boundary property that isn’t being cared for properly, and under the law the adverse provision statute gives a homeowner the right to do this.

Historically, the concept originated in Britain. It was designed to be used during property disputes when a piece of neglected land was involved, or if one person was taking care of a piece of property in a way that was disadvantageous.

Los Angeles adverse possession is handled by the state courts, but there is no single statute that covers every situation. If you do find yourself in a situation where adverse possession comes into play, you need to get the best legal representation possible, and you need a lawyer or law firm with experience in this odd corner of the law.

That will ensure the best possible outcome, and it will also allow you to know that your rights have been represented to the fullest extent possible.

I wrote this as a primer on the keyword, used it twice. Please let me know if you need anything else.