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adverse possession

n. a means to acquire title to land through obvious occupancy of the land, while claiming ownership for the period of years set by the law of the state where the property exists. This can arise when a rancher fences in a parcel contending he was to get title from some prior owner, and then grazes cattle on the property for many years without objection by the title holder. Payment of real property taxes and making improvements (such as paving or fencing) for the statutory period (varies by state) are evidence of adverse possession but cannot be used by a land grabber with no claim to title other than possession.

See also: possession  prescriptive easement 

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