A squatter is a person that takes up residency within an abandoned or unused property, despite not needing any actual right–legal or otherwise–to do so. Though squatters don’t have any authority to occupy fresh properties or territory –and consequently, are accountable for committing trespass–there are laws in place that expand protection to squatters who stay in 1 area, sterile, for a substantial period of time. A squatter who matches the standards may have a claim for de facto ownership of a plot of land where he’s been living, against the true owner’s wishes.
Adverse possession, often colloquially referred to as”squatter’s rights,” is the practice of forcefully transferring ownership of real property, against the otherwise exclusive right of the property’s owner. Adverse possession enables a squatter, or possessor, who continuously occupies a plot of land possessed by another person to basically force the owner to transfer the property’s title, without compensation and against the owner’s wishes.
For a squatter to take ownership of another individual’s property through adverse possession, he should meet four primary criteria. To begin with, the squatter should take real, exclusive possession of the property, either via residential occupation or commercial or entertainment use. Secondly, the squatter’s use of the property must be open and clear; he can’t, as an instance, hide behind trees in the rear of the plot in which his use isn’t clear to the general public. Third, the squatter’s use must be exclusive, and can’t be shared with the proprietor or another possessor. Fourth, the squatter’s use must adversely encroach the proprietor’s interests; a person who occupies property with the owner’s permission, like a tenant, wouldn’t satisfy this standard.
In addition to the above, the squatter’s use also has to be continuous and uninterrupted for a statutory period of time. The statutory time frame varies from state to state; although the ordinary period across all states in seven decades, some states require a minimum constant use of at least 20 years for the squatter to claim adverse possession. If the owner or another party removes or impedes the squatter’s use, it’s no longer constant, and the statutory”clock” resets. A couple of states–most notably, Maine–also impose additional standards, although the vast majority of states follow this five-part rule.
The consequences of squatter’s rights are very pricey for the original owner of the property. If a squatter successfully attracts a claim of adverse possession against youpersonally, you permanently lose the title to the property. The squatter isn’t required to compensate you for taking ownership, and once the squatter takes ownership, he chooses all claims to the property–you cannot sell, develop, occupy or otherwise use the property.
As a landowner, you can prevent adverse possession by actively protecting your interests. If you are not currently using or occupying the property, visit the storyline on a regular basis, at least once every month. At any time you find someone using your property without your permission, take the right actions to eliminate him instantly. If the squatter poses a physical risk to you or to himself, call local law enforcement for help. For persistent squatters, file a civil claim for trespass to secure an arrangement to”evict” the squatter, and seek an order of protection barring any future trespass. If the squatter remains undeterred, continue to eliminate him on a regular basisthis is going to effectively prevent the squatter from satisfying the”constant use” requirement.