Some view adverse possession claims as the legalized theft of real property. If someone uses another’s land as their own continuously and openly for a 10 year period, they can acquire title to it. Others see adverse possession rights as an entitlement if they are tending to the land as their own and where the true owner should not be sleeping on their rights. The House apparently falls somewhere in between and in a 95-1 vote held on February 23, 2011, it approved a new measure that would not eliminate adverse possession claims but would (1) require the higher “clear and convincing evidence” standard of proof for some adverse possession claims, rather than by preponderance of evidence standard (making cases harder to prove); (2) require a person asserting a claim of adverse possession to pay legal costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the party defending against the claim; and (3) require the winning party in any adverse possession case to pay taxes levied on the property during the period of adverse possession that were paid by the other party or that went unpaid.  HB 1026 is now before the Senate and has been referred to the judiciary committee. The new law, if adopted and signed by the governor, would only affect claims filed on or after July 1, 2012. For more on the bill, click here.