There are some Colorado laws that may seem strange the first time you hear of them. For example, the concept of adverse possession flies in the face of what most people believe about personal property. Adverse possession rules allow someone to lay claim to a piece of real property that another person technically owns.
By living at a property and maintaining it for years, individuals can establish the right to claim adverse possession and eventually become the legal owners of a property. What conditions must someone meet to have a viable adverse possession claim?
They need years of tenancy and color of title
Under Colorado law, someone who wants to claim that they have become the owner of your property by living there for years must maintain open possession of the property for at least 17 years and must have color of title for at least seven years, which includes paying the taxes on the property.
Seventeen years is a long time for someone to live on a property without the owner discovering their presence and evicting them. Provided that the owner frequently inspects and secures the property, they can limit the risk of someone else moving in and then claiming to be the lawful owner because they have assumed tenancy for so long.
Colorado also requires that someone have color of title, which means that the person living there has to have some kind of claim to ownership. A fraudulent bill of sale or a will bequeathing the property to them could strengthen the individual’s claim to the property in the eyes of the courts.
Securing your property against visitors and performing a thorough title check before investing in real property can reduce your risk of facing an adverse possession claim after already investing in the purchase price and maintenance expenses for a property.