Richardson on E-Possession

Sally B. Richardson, Esq. presented a paper entitled E-Possession, at ALPS 2011: The Association for Law, Property, and Society Annual Meeting, held 4-5 March 2011 at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, USA. Here is the abstract:

To acquire title to real property via adverse possession, the taking party must physically use the property in a continuous, uninterrupted, peaceable, public, and unequivocal manner for a statutorily required time period. Historically, one of the reasons for requiring a party to meet all of these requirements—particularly the requirement of actual, physical use of the property—was to put the record owner on notice of the existence of the adverse claimant. Today, courts and scholars cite that same rationale when reciting the traditional, and still enforceable, elements. Much has changed, however, since the doctrine of adverse possession was first promulgated. Given changes in how individuals own land and changes in technology, this Article questions whether all elements of adverse possession remain necessary. Specifically, the Article contemplates whether technology has developed such that requiring actual use of property in order to acquire the property through adverse possession leads to the wasteful use of property, not only from the perspective of the adverse claimant, but also from the point of view of the record owner. After discussing whether the traditional elements of adverse possession encourage waste, this Article develops the concept of electronically possessing real property (“e-possession”) as a means of acquiring title. In developing the idea of e-possession, the Article considers the positives and negatives of applying the concept and how e-possession would operate.

Thanks to Ms. Richardson for sending the abstract.

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