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I own a mobile home in Georgia that is over fifteen years old. It is on someone elses land. Can they make me move?
Asked on June 15, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Georgia
M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 12 years ago | Contributor
This might be a case of something that is known in the law as "adverse possesson". Adverse possession is a means of acquiring title to another's real property without compensation by, as the name suggests, holding the property in a manner that conflicts with the true owner's rights.
Adverse possession requires the actual, visible, hostile, notorious, exclusive, and continuous possession of the property for the statutory period, and some jurisdictions further require the possession to be made under a claim of title or a claim of right. In simple terms, this means that those attempting to claim the property are occupying it exclusively (keeping out others) and openly as if it were their own. Generally, the openly hostile possession must be continuous (although not necessarily constant) without challenge or permission from the lawful owner, for a fixed statutory period in order to acquire title. Where the property is of a type ordinarily only occupied during certain times (such as a summer cottage), the adverse possessor may only need to be in exclusive, open, hostile possession during those successive useful periods.
Fundamentally, adverse possession is an application of traditional statute of limitations. Once the cause of action for trespass arises, the landowner has a certain number of years to bring an action. Once that time has passed, the trespasser can no longer be evicted from the property, since the trespass action is time-barred.
In Georgia the period of time for adverse possession must be at least seven (7) years for improved land and twenty (20) years for wild land.
Note: If adverse possession does not apply to your case, then you are trespassing and must remove your mobile home from the property in question.
This can be a complicated area of the law. You should consult with an attorney in your area on the matter.
Best of luck.