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Jane T (LLC)
Jane T (LLC), Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
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Customer Question

Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Jane T (LLC) replied 10 years ago.

What you call "squatters rights" is known as "adverse possession" and Alabama does recognize it. In fact, AL recognizes adverse possession under two types of cases. One, if it complies with AL Code Section 6-5-200, which I provide below, or two, under what AL law refers to as "by prescription." "By prescription" occurs when there is "actual, exclusive, open, notorious and hostile possession under a claim of right for a period of twenty years."

Therefore, ownership of land under adverse possession in AL can take place after 10 years if a person meets the conditions in AL Code 6-5-200; OR 20 years if a person can show that he opennly treated land like it was his own for 20 years.

As to a "Statute of Limitations," there is none. Statutes of limitations limit the time period a person or state can file a lawsuit against another. Because a claim of "adverse possession" gains strength with each passing year, it does not have a "Statute of limitations" that prevents a person from filing a claim under adverse possession at any time after they meet the minimum 10 or 20 year periods.

Alabama Code Section 6-5-200: When title to land conferred or defeated; when claim may be defended or prosecuted; construction of section.

(a) Adverse possession cannot confer or defeat title to land unless:

(1) The party setting it up shall show that a deed or other color of title purporting to convey title to him has been duly recorded in the office of the judge of probate of the county in which the land lies for 10 years before the commencement of the action;

(2) He and those through whom he claims shall have annually listed the land for taxation in the proper county for 10 years prior to the commencement of the action if the land is subject to taxation; or

(3) He derives title by descent cast or devise from a predecessor in the title who was in possession of the land.

(b) If the period during which the party's deed or color of title has been on record, added to the time during which the deeds or color of title of those through whom he claims have been on record, amounts to 10 years, he may defend or prosecute on his adverse possession, and an inadvertent failure to list the land for taxation, any unintentional mistake in the description of the assessment or unintentional omission of any part of it from the assessment during the period of 10 years shall not bar the party of his action or defense on his adverse possession.

(c) This section shall not be construed to affect in any way a title perfect by adverse possession before the adoption of this Code, nor to deprive any person of his rights under Sections 6-6-286 through 6-6-289, nor to affect cases involving a question as to boundaries between coterminous owners.

(Code 1896, §§1541-1546; Code 1907, §2830; Code 1923, §6069; Code 1940, T. 7, §828.)