black-big.pngI received a nice note from Washington’s 23rd Legislative District House Representative Christine Rolfes (D) yesterday. In addition to congratulating me on this month’s publication of my Bar News article, A Good Faith Attack on Land Thieves, she provided a link to the Adverse Possession legislation that she prefiled with 18th Legislative District House Representative Ed Orcutt (R) last month. For those of you who are interested, please observe (Proposed) House Bill 1026.

A quick analysis of HB 1026 is that if enacted as is, it will:

  1. Require all Adverse Possession claims to be proven by “clear and convincing evidence.”
  2. Require the Adverse Possessor to pay the Title Holder’s legal fees (apparently even when the Adverse Possessor prevails).
  3. Does not apply to the Chain of Title Statute – RCW 7.28.050; Tax Payment Statute – RCW 7.28.070; or Forest Lands Statute – RCW 7.28.085.
  4. Requires an Adverse Possessor who prevails to pay the taxes that the Title Holder overpaid to the Title Holder or pay any back taxes to the county assessor. Provides that the prevailing Adverse Possessor is to pay overpaid taxes – on the land gained by operation of Adverse Possession – either to the disenfranchised Title Holder, the county assessor, or both as the Court deems appropriate. [Updated 2011.06.28 – RWZ]
  5. Apply to actions filed after July 1, 2012.

It will be interesting to see how this bill fares. Indeed, HB 1026 would have the effect of decreasing land thieves. Yet, sadly it will also increase the numbers of those who purchased homes with a longstanding understanding of their respective property dimensions, who subsequently will have to give ground AND pay up. Well, I’m taking on the charge to provide education and understanding for a legal doctrine so strange as adverse possession. As such for the while, you can expect there to be a steady march of Green Justice