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Adverse possession claim in California

An adverse possession claim in California is the topic of this blog post. Adverse possession is founded on the notion that land should not sit idle.

It can occur when someone publicly moves into and also improves a property that is otherwise neglected. Once a certain amount of time has passed that person may file a lawsuit with the court for a judgment quieting title to the real property in their name and granting them legal title.

However the laws in California regarding adverse possession have very strict requirements in order to be eligible for legal title.

The law in California both statutory law and case law is settled that the party seeking to gain title to real property by adverse possession must demonstrate the following:

Possession under a claim of right or color of title;

Actual, open, notorious occupation that is protected by a substantial enclosure such as a fence and often cultivated or improved;

Adverse and hostile possession;

Continuous possession for a period of five years, and

Payment of all taxes assessed against the property during the five-year period of continuous possession.

The California legislature amended Code of Civil Procedure section 325 to require that, as of January 1, 2011, a claim for adverse possession will now require the claimant to produce certified records from the county tax collector showing that all state, county, or municipal taxes have been “timely paid” for each of the five years the property has allegedly been occupied and claimed. The amendment was made due to concerns that speculators might attempt to make lump sum tax payments on land located in rural areas in the hopes that might allow them to assert a claim of right to the land

It is well settled in California that an adverse possession claimant bears the burden of proving every element by clear and positive proof. This means that many California courts are very reluctant to grant a quiet title action based on adverse possession and will require a very high standard of proof.

However there are situations where filing a quiet title action based on adverse possession makes sense.

Attorneys or parties in California that would like to view a portion of a sample complaint for quiet title, adverse possession and declaratory relief sold by the author can see below.

To view over 300 sample legal documents created by the author of this blog post use the link shown below.


The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995.

*Do you want to use this article on your website, blog or e-zine? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Stan Burman is the author of over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation and is the author of a free weekly legal newsletter. You can receive 10 free gifts just for subscribing. Just visit freeweeklylegalnewsletter.gr8.com/ for more information.


Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

These materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.


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