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What is “ouster” in Texas Adverse Possession case law?

| Jul 9, 2019 | Real Estate |

Consistently, the Courts have required that the cotenant attempting to take full ownership must prove actual or constructive ouster, or repudiation, of his or her fellow cotenants.

“Because co-tenants to an undivided estate have an equal right to ‘enter upon the common estate and a corollary right to possession,’ a co-tenant seeking to establish title by adverse possession must prove, in addition to the usual adverse possession requirements, an ouster of the co-tenant not in possession or repudiation of the co-tenancy relationship.” Dyer v. Cotton, 333 S.W.3d 703, 712 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2010, no pet.) (quoting Byrom v. Pendley, 717 S.W.2d 602, 605 (Tex. 1986)).

The ouster standard that applies to cotenants differs from the adverse possession requirement courts impose between strangers because cotenants have rights to ownership and use of the property a stranger would not have.” BP America Prod. Co. v. Marshall, 342 S.W.3d 59, 70 (Tex. 2011) (emphasis added).

“The additional requirement of proving ouster or repudiation of the co-tenancy relationship exists because exclusive use and possession of the property for long periods of time is common in a co-tenancy relationship and usually occurs ‘with the acquiescence of the other co-tenants.’ The ‘real property statutes of limitations as to co-tenants are not designed to run in secrecy and silence’; therefore, the claimant must prove actual or constructive notice of the ouster, and the clear, unequivocal and unmistakable repudiation of the common title.” Dyer v. Cotton, 333 S.W.3d at 712 (quoting Todd v. Bruner, 365 S.W.2d 155, 159 (Tex., 1963)) (emphasis added).

“[A] co-tenant may not adversely possess against another co-tenant unless it clearly appears he has repudiated the title of his co-tenant and is holding adversely to it.” King Ranch, Inc. v. Chapman, 118 S.W.3d 742, 756 (Tex. 2003).

“Possession by one co-tenant, or by one claiming under a co-tenant, is not sufficient to give notice of a claim by that co-tenant adverse to the interest of the other co-tenant.” Gibralter Sav. Ass’n v. Martin, 784 S .W.2d 555, 559 (Tex.App.-Amarillo 1990, writ denied).

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