The various statutes of limitations that apply are as follows:
The most commonly used statutes of limitation to establish a claim for adverse possession are sections 16.024, 16.025 and 16.026 of the CPRC.
Under Sec. 16.024 -The Three-Year Statute, the possessor must actually have title (i.e., a deed as part of a regular chain of title) or at least “color of title” which refers to a claim of title that has some reasonable basis but for some legitimate reason does not fit within the usual chain of title. So, the possessor must be able to produce some conveyance or title document to support his claim if he is to successfully assert an adverse possession claim under the three-year statute.
Under Sec. 16.025 – The Five-Year Statute, the person must cultivate, use, or enjoy the property, pay applicable taxes on the property and claim the property under a duly registered deed during there five year period. This statute does not apply to a claim based on a forged deed or a deed executed under a forged power of attorney.
Under Sec. 16.026 – The Ten-Year Statute, a deed or other memorandum of title is not necessary so long as the elements of adverse possession are met. That is the person must simply cultivate, use, or enjoy the property for the ten year period. Without a title instrument, peaceable and adverse possession under this section is limited to 160 acres, including improvements, unless the number of acres actually enclosed exceeds 160. If the number of enclosed acres exceeds 160 acres, the adverse possession extends to the property actually enclosed.
Two other sections, Sec.16.027 and Sec.16.028 of the CPRC, are used less frequently. The first provides a 25 year statute of limitation regardless of whether the person is or has been under a legal disability. The second allows a 25 year statute based on a title instrument, even if that instrument is void.
These statutes of limitation do not include any periods of disability on the part of the original owner (e.g., he was under 18 years old, of unsound mind, or serving in the armed forces in time of war). However, these statutes of limitation may be “tacked” or combined by various successive possessors of the property so long as there exists what is known as privity of estate or a direct legal connection between these persons.
Finally, Sec. 16.034 of the CPRC provides that the prevailing party in a suit for possession of real property may receive an award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
These are extremely complicated and to really know whether you have a claim for adverse possession sit down with a local lawyer. Even one small mistake or change can throw the whole idea out the window and you have to stat over.