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Tacking On


Concept within the adverse possession law where the land user adds or tacks on their use of a property to a previous adverse possessor. For time to be tacked on to previous user’s land use, the party is required to use the land continuously. Use must be without interruption.


Tacking on or tack is when an individual who is trying to claim adverse possession of a property they do not own transfers his or her adverse possession period to another party.

One of the main requirements to claim property through adverse possession is for the non-owning land user to openly use the landowner’s property in open defiance of their rights for a period of five consecutive years. Tacking on is used to give the non owning landowner the ability to transfer that required five year period to another party to continue use of that property to get to that five year requirement.

For tacking on to be admissible by a court as grounds to claim adverse possession, there cannot be a lapse in time from the original non-owning land user and another party’s occupancy of a property. In other words, to achieve the required five year occupancy period in open defiance of the land user, there must be a dissesior for five consecutive years, irrespective of whom that party is.

In order to claim adverse possession of a property the landuser must continuously use a property to claim it as their own. A disseisor must possess a property for five consecutive years without interruption. A disseisor is a party who is attempting to take possession of another party’s property.

Interruption in possession ends the original five year period and begins a new one. In the event that a disseisor dies, or discontinues use of the property for the five year period, a successor of the disseisor may take over and complete the five year period. This is called tacking on. In order for tacking on to be considered valid in an adverse possession claim, the disseisor and the successor must have a relationship with one another.

Example of Tacking On

John owns a large farm. John’s friend Mark is a farmer who just lost his land, so he asks John if he can plant some crops on a small portion of his land. John allows Mark to grow on his land to help Mark get back on his feet. Mark continues to use the property for three years, at which point he retires, however gives control of the land given from John to his son Chad.

Chad continues using the property immediately after his father’s leave. Chad is tacking on time from the time after his father Mark left the property. After two years of working the land, Chad and his father use the property for a combined five years undisturbed.

During this period of growing and living on John’s land, John asks Chad to leave because he needs more land to grow his own crops. Chad refuses and decides to take legal action by claiming adverse possession. The court grants possession of the portion of land owned by John to Chad because John did nothing to prevent Chad from continuing to use the property. Ultimately Chad becomes an owner of the portion of land his father Mark and he used. Although Chad and his father Mark did not individually use the land for five years the fact that they tacked on time together ultimately led them to use the property for five consecutive years giving them grounds to claim adverse possession.