Adverse Possession

Arizona recognizes that a party can obtain title to another’s real property by adverse possession. To acquire title by adverse possession, you must show:

  • Your possession is exclusive (no one else is occuping the land);
  • Your possession is hostile (without the permission of the owner);
  • You have continuously possessed the property the statutory time (usually 10 years though it could be less in some situations); and
  • Your possession is open and actual (your possession would give rise to the owner and public at large that you are asserting ownership).

All of these elements must be shown in order to prevail on a claim of adverse possession. Once a party has acquired title by adverse possession, she or he can demand a quitclaim deed from the owner and, if the owner refuses to sign, can file a lawsuit to obtain a judicial declaration that all of the elements for adverse possession have been met and they are now the owner. In order to avoid losing property by adverse possession, the owner must take action to remove the other party, such as commencing an eviction action or otherwise filing a lawsuit against him or her.