Peaceable Possession Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Peaceable Possession?

It is the possession of the real property by one, without any claim for the ownership or title of the property by him/her.

History and Meaning of Peaceable Possession

Peaceable possession is a legal term that means peaceful control or occupation of a property without interference from anyone else who claims an ownership interest in the property. It is a common-law concept that dates back to medieval England. In medieval English law, "possession is nine-tenths of the law," meaning that possession was evidence of ownership, assuming there was no evidence to the contrary.

In modern times, peaceable possession is necessary to establish adverse possession, which is a legal doctrine that allows an individual to gain ownership of real property owned by another. To establish adverse possession, the claimant must show that they have possessed the property for a statutory period (usually between 10-20 years) without interference from the true owner.

Examples of Peaceable Possession

  1. John has lived in a cabin on a remote piece of land for 15 years without any objection from the owner. John has maintained the property, paid the property taxes, and made improvements to the land. John may be able to establish adverse possession of the property.
  2. Sarah has been using a neighbor's driveway to access her property for over 20 years without any objection from the neighbor. Sarah may be able to establish an easement by prescription that allows her permanent use of the driveway.
  3. James inherited a farm from his grandfather but hasn't visited the property in over 10 years. During that time, a neighboring farmer has been using a small portion of James' land to graze his cattle, and James never objected. The neighbor may be able to establish adverse possession of the land he has been using.

Legal Terms Similar to Peaceable Possession

  • Actual possession: the physical control of property
  • Constructive possession: the legal assumption of possession of property
  • Adverse possession: gaining ownership of property through possession