In Utah, adverse possession is a legal doctrine that allows a person to gain ownership of another person’s property by openly occupying and using it without the owner’s permission for a certain period of time. To establish a claim of adverse possession in Utah, the following elements must be met:
Actual possession: The claimant must have actual and exclusive possession of the property. Mere casual use of the property or occasional trespassing is not sufficient to establish adverse possession.
Open and notorious possession: The claimant’s possession of the property must be open and notorious, meaning that it must be sufficiently visible and apparent to put the true owner on notice of the possession.
- Hostile possession: The claimant’s possession of the property must be hostile, meaning that it must be without the true owner’s permission and inconsistent with the owner’s right to possession.
- Continuous possession: The claimant’s possession of the property must be continuous for the statutory period, which in Utah is 7 years. The possession must be uninterrupted and without the owner’s interference.
- Exclusive possession: The claimant’s possession of the property must be exclusive, meaning that it must be free from the true owner’s possession or use of the property.
- Statutory period: The claimant must possess the property for the statutory period, which is 7 years in Utah. At the end of the 7-year period, the claimant may bring an action to quiet title and establish ownership of the property.
- Payment of Property Taxes. The claimant must show that that he/she has paid all real property taxes levied on the property.
Utah’s adverse possession law is primarily established through Utah Code §§ 78B-2-208 through 219, which provides the elements necessary to establish a claim of adverse possession. In addition, Utah courts have issued several rulings that have further clarified the law, including the recent Utah Supreme Court case of Anderson v. Fautin, 2016 UT 22, ¶ 25, 379 P.3d 1186, 1193.
It is important to note that adverse possession claims can be complicated, and the process of establishing ownership through adverse possession can be lengthy and expensive. It is highly recommended that anyone seeking to establish a claim of adverse possession in Utah consult with an experienced real estate attorney to ensure that their claim is valid and legally sound.