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You may be able to obtain property through adverse possession

If there is a property you've always wanted but have noticed it has been abandoned for some time, there may still be a chance you can obtain it. While a typical real estate transaction would require you to find the owner and make an offer on the property, laws of adverse possession may help you obtain the property without having to locate the owner.

When you openly inhabit the property that you don't own and make improvements to that property, you may be granted the title to the property under adverse possession laws. There is a time period you must do this for before you can receive the title. The waiting period is a reflection of the statute of limitations laws, which could subject you to trespassing charges until they run out.

When you decide to take possession of a property in this way, you need to live in it openly and exclusively. You must also live there without interruption and not have permission from the owner to be there. Once you have lived there for at least 15 years and have paid taxes for five of those years, you can claim the title of the property under the adverse possession laws.

This kind of law makes sure property owners take time to take care of their properties and use them regularly. If a property sits unused for 15 years or longer, giving the title to someone who is making changes to the property to benefit themselves and the community is completely legal. It also means the government can collect taxes on the property instead of receiving nothing since no one lived there in the past. If you're considering possessing a property in this way, your attorney can give you more information on the steps you need to take.

Source: FindLaw, "Minnesota Adverse Possession Laws," accessed May 25, 2017

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