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Adverse Possession Attorney in Washington

In Washington state, the adverse possession process allows one person to obtain title to land that belongs to another person. Typically, this requires meeting particular requirements for a specified period. If you think you might have a claim to land through adverse possession, it’s important to consult with an attorney who is experienced in such cases.

At Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, we have years of experience advising clients on adverse possession claims in Washington state. Our attorneys will work closely with you to understand your situation and determine whether you have a legitimate claim. We are committed to providing our clients with the best possible legal advice and representation, backed by our commitment to integrity and excellence.

If you have an adverse possession claim in Washington state, contact us today for more information and to schedule a consultation.

Examples of Adverse Possession

Adverse possession is a legal term used when someone other than the rightful owner of a piece of property obtains legal ownership and title. In Washington, like other states, adverse possession has specific requirements that must be met by the claimant in order for it to be successful. Here are some examples of situations when adverse possession may apply:

  • When an individual has been living on another person’s property for more than ten years, without permission and without having paid any rent or mortgage payments
  • When an individual establishes and maintains a driveway, fence, or other improvement on another person’s property without permission for more than 10 years
  • When a person pays all taxes on another person’s property for over 10 years
  • When a person openly possesses an otherwise abandoned property without the owner’s permission.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar to you, then it may be possible to claim adverse possession in Washington. If you think this is the case, it is best to consult an experienced attorney who can help determine if your situation meets the qualifications and carefully explain your rights.

Understanding Adverse Possession Claims in Washington

Adverse possession is a way to legally take title to property in Washington, as long as certain requirements are met. The requirements vary from state to state, but all require that the occupant demonstrate their “hostile” occupancy of the property, meaning they have used it openly and without permission from the original owner.

In Washington, there are two types of adverse possession claims—the traditional type and the color-of-title type—each with its own specific requirements:


To claim title through traditional adverse possession in Washington, you must possess the property exclusively and openly for a period of 10 years or more. You must also use the property as if you own it by making improvements, paying taxes on it, and keeping it clear of trespassers.


With color-of-title adverse possession in Washington, you must possess the property for 7 years or more and have a written instrument claiming a title that appears to be valid but is not. You must also prove that you acted with good faith reliance on this document when taking or using the property.

In addition to the requirements for adverse possession claims, it’s important to understand that adverse possession claims against government-owned land in Washington are generally not permitted. However, there are some limited circumstances where adverse possession claims may be allowed, such as when the government fails to take action to defend its property rights for an extended period of time.

Overall, adverse possession claims can be a complicated legal process, and it’s important to seek legal guidance from a qualified attorney. By understanding the requirements for adverse possession claims in Washington, individuals can better determine if this legal principle can help them acquire title to a property they have been occupying for a certain period of time.

The Elements Required to Establish Adverse Possession in Washington

Under Washington law, a claimant must satisfy several criteria in order to establish adverse possession. This includes:

  • Continuous use of the claimed property for more than 10 years
  • Actual possession of the claimed property
  • Open and notorious use of the claimed property
  • Color of title, or an unclear or incorrect deed on record
  • Intent to claim the rights of ownership

It is important to note that a squatter’s objective must be to claim ownership in order for them to gain title by adverse possession—just occupying the property is not enough. Additionally, without the color of title, there can be no successful claim, as this element establishes a legal obligation to the owner.

Due to the complexity and potential consequences associated with adverse possession claims, consulting an experienced attorney is recommended before making any decisions related to such a case. An experienced attorney from Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess can provide invaluable guidance on how best to proceed and ensure your rights are protected at all times.

The Costs of Litigating or Settling an Adverse Possession Claim

The costs of litigating or settling an adverse possession claim depend on the complexity of the case and the amount of time required. Typically, you can expect to pay attorney’s fees which are based on an hourly rate.

However, in Washington State, a lawyer or law firm can charge a flat fee or a contingency fee (percentage-based) for their services. It’s important to note that legal fees don’t include court costs or any other expenses related to your case, such as expert witnesses or filing fees.

At Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, we understand that the financial implications of adverse possession cases can be intimidating. That’s why we strive to provide our clients with affordable and transparent legal services tailored to their needs and budget. We will work with you to come up with the best plan and ensure that your interests are protected throughout the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to adverse possession in Washington, there are a few questions that come up often. Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions:

In Washington, you can take up to 10 acres of property. However, you cannot take any land that could potentially cause environmental damage or prevent public access.

In Washington State, the claimant must have possessed the property continuously and without interruption for ten years.

“Hostile” does not mean that the claimant must have a hostile intent toward the owner of the property. Rather, it means that the claimant’s possession must be without the owner’s permission or consent.

“Open and notorious” means that the claimant’s possession of the property was visible and obvious, such that the owner could have discovered it with reasonable diligence.

In Washington, an adverse possession claim can take up to 7 years for the property to be transferred over to your name. However, if after 7 years, no one contests your claim, then the process is complete, and you are now the legal owner of the property.

Yes. Filing fees for an adverse possession claim in Washington can range from 0 to $500 depending on the court’s decision. Furthermore, legal fees may also apply if you choose to hire an attorney for your claim.

If you are considering adverse possession in Washington, consulting an experienced attorney is always recommended. At Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, our experienced team can help guide you through this complex process and answer any questions you may have along the way.

Why Choose Us?

When you need to consult an attorney for a potential adverse possession case in Washington, you want to choose a law firm with the experience necessary to protect your rights. Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess has been assisting clients with adverse possession cases for over 20 years.

Our experienced lawyers understand the nuances of Washington’s laws and will provide you with reliable legal advice and representation when needed. We take our responsibility very seriously and make it our priority to ensure that our clients are aware of their legal rights and what course of action is available to them.

We also have a strong track record of successfully representing clients in court, so you can rest assured that we will fight tirelessly on your behalf. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of the laws in Washington pertaining to adverse possession, so you can trust us to provide you with the best legal guidance possible.

Call Us Right Now

In conclusion, adverse possession is a complex area of law that requires an understanding of Washington statutes and precedents. For this reason, should a dispute arise over an adverse possession claim, it is beneficial for a potential claimant to enlist the expertise of an experienced attorney. At Dickson, Frohlich, Phillips & Burgess, we are experienced in adverse possession matters and have provided successful outcomes for our clients in the past.

If you believe someone is adversely possessing your property, please contact the attorneys at Dickson, Frohlich, Phillips & Burgess at (206) 621-1110 Seattle, (253) 572-1000 Tacoma, or (360) 742-3500 Olympia to discuss your legal options.