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  • Writer's pictureAttorney Jason A Greller

Adverse Possession in Wisconsin - Don't let it Happen to You.

Adverse possession is a legal principle that allows someone to acquire ownership of someone else's property by using it openly, continuously, and without permission for a specific period of time. This doctrine can be applied in situations where the person using the property (in this case, your neighbor) has treated the property as their own, even though it technically belongs to someone else (you).

In Wisconsin, the requirements for acquiring property through adverse possession typically include:

  1. Open and notorious: The use of the property must be visible and obvious, such that the true owner should have been aware of the encroachment or would have discovered it upon reasonable inspection.

  2. Hostile: The use must be without the owner's permission or against the owner's interests.

  3. Exclusive: The person claiming adverse possession must use the property independently, not in conjunction with the owner or other parties.

  4. Continuous and uninterrupted: The use must be ongoing for the entire statutory period, which is generally 20 years in Wisconsin, although it can be reduced to 10 years if the person claiming adverse possession has a color of title (a document that appears to grant ownership but is legally defective).

If your neighbor's garage is on your land and they claim to have acquired the right of adverse possession, you should consult with a real estate attorney in Wisconsin to evaluate the situation and determine the appropriate course of action. The attorney can help you understand whether your neighbor has met the requirements for adverse possession and advise you on your options for resolving the situation, which may include negotiating with your neighbor, seeking a court order to have the garage removed, or pursuing other legal remedies.

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