1.  ELEMENTS          A claimant must prove actual, exclusive, visible, notorious, distinct and hostile possession of the land continuously for 21 years.

2.  STATUTORY BASIS       The statutory basis for adverse possession is 42 Pa. C.S. § 5530, which provides that an owner is barred from commencing an action for the possession of real property after 21 years.

Photo courtesy of Paul Sabelman   http://www.flickr.com/photos/pasa/
Photo courtesy of Paul Sabelman http://www.flickr.com/photos/pasa/

3.  EFFECT     When the elements of adverse possession have been satisfied, the record owner is divested of title and absolute fee ownership vests in the claimant.  Title obtained by adverse possession is marketable.   However, the author is not aware of a title insurance underwriter that will insure such title, absent a final, unappealed and unappealable court order.

4.  DIVESTITURE     “Title [acquired by adverse possession] may be divested only in the manner in which title acquired by formal grant or conveyance may be divested and is not lost by ‘neglecting to keep up the possession.'”

5.  RECORDING       Any person who acquires title by adverse possession and who, thereafter, ceases to remain in possession of the property, must file a statement of claim within 6 months of leaving possession.  68 P.S. § 81.  Failure to record such a statement renders such title invalid against any purchaser, mortgagee or judgment creditor for value and without notice.

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