The Pros And Cons Of Usucapio Laws

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In Roman law, usucapio laws allowed someone who was in possession of a good without title to become the lawful proprietor if the original owner didn't show up after some time (one or two years), unless the good was obtained illegally (by theft or force). Stemming from Roman law and its successor, the Napoleonic Code, adopted as the basis of law in France, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, and also, in part, by the Netherlands and Germany, adverse possession generally recognizes two time periods for the acquisition of property: 30 years and some lesser time period, depending on the bona fides of the possessor and the location of the parties involve. In the United States, for instance the time limit on an owner being able to recover …show more content…

The person may not occupy the land secretively or make efforts to remain undetected. The occupation must not be covert. It should be clear to any normal person who inspects the property that someone is using the property in sort reasonable fashion. In other words, if the titled owner were to visit the property, it would be apparent that another is making use of the land. Many states refer to “inclosing” the property within a fence. A landowner is not required, however, to have actual knowledge of the occupation. The person occupying the land must act as the owner by engaging in acts consistent with the property’s purpose. Such acts must generally be observed by others to be typical of that expected of an owner. The actions of the disseisor must change the state of the land (in the case of non-residential property, taking such actions as clearing, mowing, planting, harvesting fruit of the land, logging or cutting timber, mining, fencing, pulling tree stumps, running livestock and constructing buildings or other improvements) or, if the property is residential, maintaining the property for its intended use (taking such actions as mowing the yard, trimming trees and hedges, changing locks, repairing or replacing fixtures such as a swimming pool, sprinkler system, or appliances), all to the exclusion of its true owner. In Cone v. West Virginia Pulp & Paper, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that Cone failed to establish actual possession by occasionally visiting the land and hunting on it, because his actions did not change the land from a wild and natural

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