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Adverse possession

This is a legal process by which someone may take possession of a property without buying it or paying for it.

In the long-term, the property can actually change ownership without money changing hands. In effect, the laws of adverse possession can be used to reward the person who occupies land or buildings with its ownership after a prerequisite time.  'Squatter's rights', for example, is a form of adverse possession.

The time taken and processes that need to be followed vary from country to country. In the UK, this is currently determined by Land Registration rules updated in 2003.