Adverse possession claims more widespread than initially thought

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on November 3, 2011 at 7:01 PM

MANSFIELD - What happened in a court Thursday showed just what a legal mess can be created when someone simply files a claim of adverse possession against property that has sat vacant, and it is happening more than anyone knew.

Tarrant County authorities posted no trespassing signs on a Mansfield home to keep out a squatter who moved in back in August when the home was vacant. The man filed an affidavit claiming to be the new owner to be the new owner under an old Texas law allowing adverse possession.

For just $16, the squatter claimed a $250,000 home.

Thursday a justice of the peace dismissed that claim, but there are plenty more where that came from and all of them could bring legal headaches for the rightful owners.

"Probably the owners of the property will now have to file in district court to have a determination and to have the adverse possession affidavits and claims removed," said attorney Gerald Perry.

Records show the Tarrant County clerk has received and filed nearly 60 claims for adverse possession in recent months.

In the Mansfield case, a real estate agent representing the foreign owner faces more legal battles to clear the title.

Tarrant County constables are now trying to figure out who is behind all the filings of adverse possession. They think Minister Tony Brown, who News 8 spoke to Wednesday, may have the answers.

News 8 will continue to follow this story Thursday at 10 p.m.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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