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Property I
Rutgers University, Newark School of Law
Henderson, Taja-Nia

Henderson Property SP2018


Adverse Possession: NEW JERSEY HAS GOOD FAITH HOSTILITY CAN ADVERSELY POSSESS AGAINST THE STATE: LOOK TO STATUTE IN BOOK; HAVE TO CULTIVATE OR MAKE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE LAND
CHANCES
Continuous
More than merely sporadic or occasional
Substantial intervals OK
Met if:
In light of nature/customary use of property,
Possession is regular and consistent,
Congruently with what true owner would do 
Ex.: seasonal logging operations in densely-wooded area; seasonal occupancy of summer cabin
Continuity Lost:
True owner asserts possession
Before adverse possession ripens to title
Trespasser
Voluntarily relinquishes possession (If trespasser later returns, time is lost; must start over)
With no intent to return
Subject to “tacking” rules
Hostile
Hostility≠ill-will
Trespasser actions on the property must 
Manifest to a reasonable observer 
Belief that property is his
Possession can never be “hostile” with consent of the true owner
State of Mind
Objective Test:
Trespasser’s subjective beliefs irrelevant
Must reasonably, objectively appear to treat property as his own
Reasonable perception of onlookers controls
Subjective Test:
Objective test must be met
Trespasser must honestly and in good faith believe property rightfully belongs to him
No flagrant squatters 
Actual
Trespasser must actually (physically) be on the property 
Notorious and Open
True owner actually knows about possession
Trespasser:
Publicly and openly treats property as his
Uninformed observer reasonably assumes trespasser is owner 
No secret possession; must be visible 
Color of Title/Constructive Adverse Possession (usually thought of as a subelement to hostility)
Color of Title: the adverse possessor assumes possession in reliance on a document that purports on its face to convey title, but for some reason is legally insufficient to convey title.
General Rule:
Adverse possessor only gets title to property actually possessed
If possessor enters under Color of Title (reliance on a document):
Deemed to possess entire property (Constructive Possession)
Even if doesn’t actually possess it all 
Exclusivity
Trespasser must behave as if the property is his as against everyone including the true owner. Trespasser must exclude anyone else (including the true owner) who tries to enter without his permission.
Competing adverse possessors cannot hold land adversely to one another at the same time. However, two or more persons who, cooperatively with one another, adversely possess as against everyone else except one another may acquire title as TIC through adverse possession
As between two adverse possessors, neither of which has yet taken full title, the one who got there 1st has the superior interest and may therefore sue to evict later comers (but not the true owner)
If earlier adverse possessor is involuntarily ousted by a later one
Time “pauses” until earlier possessor 
“Abandons” possession (clock resets to 0)
Outs later possessor (clock resumes where it left off)
Statutory Period
Generally statue of limitations for trespass
Starts running when adverse possession begins 
True owner may stop clock by bringing suit 
Disabilities:
The limitations period will not start running if, at the time the adverse possession begins, the true owner suffers from a legal disability, usually minority, insanity, locked up. The owner will have a specified time after disability is removed to bring suit. (Usually at least 10 yrs.) 
The onset of a disability after trespasser takes

as she doesn’t attempt to sell for the next 18 months, as clouds on the title are resolved”-FSD, POR

Life Estates and Remainders
Life Estate
An estate held only for the duration of a specified person’s life
After death, the property passes to someone else in FSA 
Present interest 
Can make use of the property the same way an owner in Fee simple would
Holder is called “life tenant”
Created by:
Conveying life estate and retaining reversion
Conveying remainder and retaining life estate
Language: “O conveys…to A for life/for as long as A lives”
Life Estate per Autre Vie/ estate for the life of another: “O conveys…to A for the life of B”
Obligations:
Must not commit waste
Affirmative waste: Actively and willingly does something that devalues property:
Exploitation of natural resources
Removal of beneficial structures
Permissive waste: Permitting the property to lose value through mere inaction:
Maintenance
Interest
Taxes
Duty limited to actual/potential income
Ameliorative waste: Beneficial changes:
Needs consent of remainderman/reversioner
Exceptions:
Open Mine/Customary Use
Privilege of Estover: can use any timber on the land as reasonably necessary
Changes to Surrounding Area
Defeasible/Determinable Life Estate
Termination:
End of measuring life
Merger
Voluntarily and Maliciously commits waste 
Determinable/condition subsequent
Subject to future interest