Oregon Squatters & Adverse Possession Laws


Adverse possession is a legal term for squatter's rights; adverse possession allows an individual to assert a claim to another's property if all elements are met. The law of adverse possession is codified in Section 105.620 of the Oregon Code. Oregon's code explains the elements necessary to assert a claim of adverse possession, as well as the necessity of satisfying the statute of limitations.

Actual, Open and Notorious

According to Section 105.620 of Oregon's code, an individual may acquire title through adverse possession if he is in actual possession of another's property. Actual possession requires an individual to actually possess land, not merely assert that the land is his from a distance. In Oregon, an adverse possessor must possess another's land in an open and notorious manner. Open and notorious occupation requires a possessor to possess land in an open manner that is visible for all to see.

Exclusive, Hostile and Continuous

Section 105.620 also requires claimants to possess the land of another exclusively, meaning she may not share possession or occupation with the true owner. Oregon law requires an adverse possessor to possess another's property in a manner that is hostile, or adverse, to an actual owner's rights and interests. Adverse possessors must occupy another's land continuously for the entire statute of limitations period.

Color of Title

Oregon's statute explains that hostile possession requires an adverse possessor "if the possession is under claim of right or with color of title." Claim of right means an adverse possessor truly believes another's property belongs to him. An individual claims under color of title when he believes he has title to the property and he either does not or the title he does have is defective.

Oregon's Statute of Limitations

All the above elements must be present for a specific period, as explained in Oregon's code. Section 105.620(1)(A) explains that the statute of limitations is 10 years. Once an adverse possessor has possessed another's land for the 10-year period, he can bring an action to "quiet title" and receive a fee simple title. However, Oregon's code requires an adverse possessor to provide "clear and convincing evidence" that he met each of the elements.

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