This is rather big news for real estate attorneys in
A brief summary of the new law is as follows:
Permits a court to decide that a party who prevails on an adverse possession claim must pay certain taxes levied on the property that were paid by another party or that went unpaid.
Allows a court to award costs and reasonable attorneys' fees to the prevailing party in an action asserting title to real property by adverse possession if the court decides such an award is equitable and just.
The actual attorney’s fees provision reads as follows:
“(3) The prevailing party in an action asserting title to real property by adverse possession may request the court to award costs and reasonable attorneys' fees. The court may award all or a portion of costs and reasonable attorneys' fees to the prevailing party if, after considering all the facts, the court determines such an award is equitable and just.”
If you are unfamiliar with adverse possession, and happen to find yourself in a boundary line dispute with a neighbor you will want to contact a real estate attorney. In the most simplest of explanations, adverse possession can allow another to take ownership of property if they use the property for a period of over ten years, without the true owner making a claim or granting permission of the use. In general terms, in order to establish a claim to property by adverse possession, the claimant must establish open use, continuous use (10 years), exclusive use (keep others out), adverse use (no permission) and notorious use (known to others). Chaplin v. Sanders, 100 Wn. P.2d 853,676 P.2d 431(1984). In determining your property rights you should consider consulting with a real estate attorney.