Notorious Possession Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Notorious Possession, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Notorious Possession?

n.Occupying real estate owned by another person without permisiion giving an impression of being an owner to anyone else.

History and Meaning of Notorious Possession

Notorious possession is a term used in property law to refer to the occupation of a property without the permission of the rightful owner, but in a manner that suggests an ownership claim over the property. It is also known as "adverse possession." The idea behind adverse possession is that if a person occupies a property for an extended period of time (which varies by jurisdiction), openly and notoriously, without the owner taking any action to remove them, then the person can become the lawful owner of the property.

Notorious possession goes back centuries and has its roots in feudal land law where the king was the ultimate owner of all the land in his kingdom, and the nobles held land from the king in exchange for military or other duties. If a noble failed in their duties, the king could reclaim the land. Over time, the law developed to allow someone who possessed land for a certain period of time to claim ownership of the land in order to encourage the productive use of land.

Examples of Notorious Possession

  1. Jim has been living on a piece of land owned by Susan for 20 years, putting up a fence and calling it his own. He has made no attempt to pay rent or acknowledge Susan's ownership of the land. Jim may be able to claim the land through adverse possession.

  2. Mary has been using a small strip of vacant land next to her own property as a parking lot for over 10 years. The owner of the land has never tried to remove her or acknowledge ownership of the land. Mary could potentially claim ownership of the land through notorious possession.

  3. John moves into an abandoned house in the neighborhood and fixes it up, living there for over 7 years. No one ever contacts him to say he can't live there or demands rent for the property. He may be able to claim ownership of the house through adverse possession.

Legal Terms Similar to Notorious Possession

  1. Trespassing - Unauthorized entry onto someone else's property.
  2. Easement - The right to use someone else's property for a specific purpose, without owning it.
  3. Squatter's Rights - The rights of a person occupying a property without the owner's permission for a certain period of time to claim ownership of the property, similar to adverse possession.