Trespass

How Long Does Adverse Possession Take in Texas?

Adverse possession always seems to be a popular topic. The idea that you may able to take something that you knowtexas adverse possession real estate isn’t yours and legally make it your own (without compensation) may be enticing. That same idea, however, may be off-putting if it’s your property that is taken by someone else.

How long does adverse possession take? As usual, the answer is not so simple.

The Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code lists several different statutes of limitation for bringing suit to recover real property purported to having been taken — or purporting to be in the process of being taken — by another.

There are three-year, five-year, ten-year, fifteen-year, and twenty-five year statutes of limitations.

Which limitations period applies depends on whether the person claiming to take the property (the “Claimant”) holds it under title or color of title, whether the Claimant pays taxes on the property, whether the Claimant claims the property under a registered and non-forged instrument, how the property is being held, the size of the property at issue, whether the property is enclosed, whether the person whose property is being taken is, has been, or was operating under a legal disability (minor, unsound mind, or in the U.S. armed forces during a time of war), and other circumstances.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Damaged Fence Liens in Three Sentences

texas damaged fence lien lawA person who owns real estate enclosed by a fence may in some circumstances obtain a judgment for a lien against the motor vehicle of a person who damages the fence with the vehicle.

The purpose of the lien is to help (a) secure the fence repair costs, (b) recapture any animals that escaped as a direct result of the damage to the fence, and (c) have the vehicle towed from the property and stored.

The amount of the lien, the property to which it attaches, and the methods for perfecting and removing the lien are all dictated by statute.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Writs of Possession in Three Sentences

A writ is a written court order that commands the person to whom it is directed to perform, or refrain from performing, a specified act.

texas writ of possession

A writ of possession is a command often directed to a peace officer to remove people or items from property, or to dispossess people of property, and to deliver possession to another person.

Writs of possession may be issued in eviction cases, trespass to try title lawsuits, eminent domain actions, and other legal proceedings.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Denied Access to Personal Property in Your Residence/Former Residence?

texas denied access residence retrieve personal propertyThis issue often arises in the common property, landlord-tenant, family law, and foreclosure arenas.

 

A person who has been denied access to his or her residence or former residence may apply to a Texas Justice Court for an order authorizing access to retrieve personal property under Chapter 24A of the Texas Property Code.

The applicant must:

  1. certify that the occupant of the residence has denied the applicant access to the residence;
  2. certify that the applicant is not prohibited by law (including a protective order) from entering the residence;
  3. allege that the applicant, or the applicant’s dependent, requires one or more of the following personal items contained in the residence: (a) medical records; (b) medicine and medical supplies; (c) clothing; (d) child-care items; (e) legal or financial documents; (f) checks or bank or credit cards in the name of the applicant; (g) employment records; or (h) personal identification documents;
  4. allege that the applicant or the applicant’s dependent will suffer personal harm if the items listed in the application are not retrieved promptly;
  5. include documentation that shows the applicant is currently, or was formerly, authorized to occupy the residence; and
  6. execute a bond payable to the occupant in an amount set by the judge.

The Justice Court may issue an order authorizing the applicant to enter the residence accompanied by a peace officer to retrieve the property listed in the application (a) on sufficient evidence of urgency and potential harm to the health and safety of any person; and (b) after sufficient notice to the current occupant and an opportunity for both parties to be heard by the Court.

What happens if the order is granted but the applicant takes personal property that isn’t expressly permitted by the  order or that isn’t owned by the applicant?

Stay tuned!

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Trespass – Civil Liability

texas civil trespassA car jumped a roadway, curb, and sidewalk and ran into a tree, shrubs, and a brick wall owned by the plaintiff. There were erratic tire marks back on the roadway and curb. The driver was found unconscious behind the wheel. Turns out he had a heart attack and died. So the plaintiff sued his estate.

In earlier post, we discussed criminal trespass. One may also maintain a civil claim for trespass on realty.

A plaintiff proves civil trespass if the s/he owned or had a lawful right to possess property; the defendant entered that land; the entry was physical, voluntary, and intentional; and the trespass caused some injury to the plaintiff’s right of possession.

The trial judge ruled that the plaintiff should win the case as a matter of law without any need for the jury to consider the issue of the driver’s consciousness before the incident. The driver’s estate appealed. The appellate court returned the case to the trial court for another trial. The appellate court stated, “If [the driver] was unconscious or dead prior to leaving the roadway and entering upon [plaintiff’s] property, his act of entering [plaintiff’s] property could not have been voluntary.” In such an event, the plaintiff couldn’t win a civil trespass claim.

What if the driver was rendered unconscious before the accident due to intoxication?

In our Just for Fun posts, we underscore certain construction and real estate topics just for the fun of it.

Can You Shoot to Kill Santa Claus for Trespassing?

Texans love their family and their property. Many like their guns, too.

texas shoot kill trespassIf St. Nick trespasses onto your property, can you shoot to kill him for trespassing?

No, in Texas you can’t use deadly force in response to trespass. However, deadly force is not criminalized when, in some very particular circumstances, it’s used in self-defense, in defense of a third person, or to protect property.

Texas criminal law allows one to threaten force when the use of force is allowed by law in narrow situations. So maybe Santa shouldn’t be too surprised to at least see a shotgun wielded.

Please don’t shoot to kill Santa. Many children would be disappointed. Plus, his estate may have civil remedies even if your behavior isn’t criminal in nature. And I’ll bet Mrs. Claus makes a very charming witness.

In our Just for Fun posts, we underscore certain construction and real estate topics just for the fun of it.

Adverse Possession in Three Sentences

Adverse possession allows a person to claim title to real estate owned by another. Texas law defines it as an actual and visible appropriation of realty begun and continued under a claim of right that is inconsistent with, and hostile to, the claim of another person. The purpose of the law is to promote the beneficial and productive use of land.texas adverse possession real estate law

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.