Adverse possession won’t help man keep building
Question: I recently read in the newspaper about a gentleman who had owned a building for many years in a Maricopa County “island” near Tempe. The gentleman lost the building because he technically never had title to the land under the building. Didn’t the gentleman acquire title to the land under the building by adverse possession against Maricopa County? If not, would there have been a different result if he had paid property taxes for all of those years?
Answer: First, the law of adverse possession generally does not apply to land owned by the United States, or by a state, county or town. Therefore, the gentleman who owned the building would have no adverse possession claim against Maricopa County for the land under the building. Second, payment of property taxes can be a factor in a claim for adverse possession in some states, but is generally not a factor in Arizona.