Don’t Lose Your Property by Adverse Possession

Ohio’s Eleventh District Court of Appeals recently affirmed a trial court’s judgment in favor of a Defendant that pled adverse possession in response to a civil trespass claim.  Hedrick v. Szep, 2021-Ohio-1851.

Ohio’s Eleventh District Court of Appeals ultimately affirmed the Trial Court’s decision, finding that the undisputed evidence established that the fence had been in place since at least 1991, and that the disputed property had been exclusively possessed by the Defendant and the prior owner in an open, notorious, continuous, and adverse manner for more than 21 years.

Adverse possession is one of very few ways that ownership of real estate may be different than the public records reflect.  When purchasing real estate, you should be mindful of whether the elements of adverse possession might have been satisfied by someone else, despite what the public records show about ownership.  Always obtain a survey, and make part of your due diligence whether and how the property you are purchasing is being used by others.