Info on adverse possession WV

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Info on adverse possession WV

I’m looking for more info on
claiming land through adverse
possesion/squaters rights in state
of west Virginia,the previous owner
passed away and supposed to be
owned now by daughter or next of
kin,i have lived nearby the
property for 10-11 years now and no
one has been there or attempted to
maintain it,i take occasional walks
on the property,i have stayed there
a few times to get away from my
current living situation because
it was safer to be there.i have
also mowed the grass and cleaned up
trash that was present,bears will
tear out trash from neighboring
properties onto the land that I
have cleaned up also,i spent quite
a bit of time there in the 10 years
I been around,its abandoned and the
owners have never been there in 10
years,iv read the info online but
find it kinda lacking on the whole
process and what repercussions I
could face if trying to claim it.
Any and all info you can give me be
much appreciated.thank you in

Asked on January 4, 2018 under Real Estate Law, West Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You possession must be "open and notorious"--that is, obvious to anyone who comes by that someone is living there, so that an owner who him/herself only periodically comes by would be put on notice that someone is using or claiming their land--and must similarly be "continuous"--i.e. it has be basically full-time use, for the same reason, so that an owner will be put on notice that someone else wants or is claiming their land. What you describe--"occasional walks"; "stayed there a few times"--would not suffice: it is not continuous or obvious enough, and the owners would have no reason to know you are staking a claim. Therefore, based on what you write, your adverse possession claim would fail.
If you bring a claim and it fails, the owner will have you removed from the land and may be able to counter claim against you for the effective "rent" you should have paid for the use you did make of the land.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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