Adverse Possession Against the States: The Hornbooks Have It Wrong

The hornbook rule is that adverse possession statutes do not run against land owned by state governments. Yet, in practice, the land of many states is subject to loss by adverse possession. Few states have statutes that simply and explicitly protect all state land from adverse possession. This Article describes the variety of ways in which states protect or fail to protect their land from adverse possession. It concludes with the recommendation that, given increasing development pressures and limited state enforcement budgets, state legislatures should protect completely all state land from adverse possession.