Chaplin v. Sanders

100 Wash. 2d 853, 676 P.2d 431 (1984)

 

RULE:

In order to establish a claim of adverse possession, the possession must be: (1) exclusive, (2) actual and uninterrupted, (3) open and notorious and (4) hostile and under a claim of right made in good faith. The period throughout which these elements must concurrently exist is 10 years. Hostility, as defined by the court, does not import enmity or ill-will, but rather imports that the claimant is in possession as owner, in contradistinction to holding in recognition of or subordination to the true owner. The court traditionally treats the hostility and claim of right requirements as one and the same.  The requirement of open and notorious is satisfied if the title holder has actual notice of the adverse use throughout the statutory period. This is consistent with the purpose of the requirement, which is to ensure that the user makes such use of the land that any reasonable person would assume he is the owner. For this reason the owner is held to constructive notice of the possession. When the owner has actual knowledge of the possession, the requirement's purpose has been satisfied

FACTS:


Petitioners sued for quiet title in a portion of land acquired by virtue of adverse possession from respondents, their neighbors. The Superior Court held that petitioners' possession of property was not sufficiently hostile. The appellate court entered judgment for respondents, finding that petitioner's possession of the property was not hostile because they had actual notice of the owner's interest in land they purchased without a survey, and petitioner's appealed. The judgment for respondents action to quiet title by virtue of adverse possession was reversed because petitioners and their predecessors used and maintained the property as if it were their own for the statutory 10-year period and that was sufficient to satisfy the element of hostility.

ISSUE:

Did petitioner's have adverse possession of the property?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

 The court overruled the dual requirement that the claimant take possession in good faith and not recognize another's superior interest because the requirement did not serve the purpose of the adverse possession doctrine. The court reversed, finding petitioners and their predecessors used and maintained the property as though it were their own for the statutory 10-year period, which was sufficient to satisfy the element of hostility.

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