How do you get squatter's rights?


Quick Answer

Squatters get the rights to a home if they meet three general criteria: living in a manner that is open, continuous and hostile for a certain number of years, according to HowStuffWorks. Squatters should pay property taxes to help ensure rights turn to them when the time period is met.

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Full Answer

Living openly means no effort is made to hide the habitation, and living hostilely means living in a home without permission, explains HowStuffWorks. Living continuously depends on the state; for example, as of 2015, the continuous time period is five years in California and 30 in Texas.

Establishing utility accounts for a home is one way in which squatters can build the foundation for their rights, says HowStuffWorks. Utility companies usually do not require proof of tenantship, and squatters can make repairs and decorate the home to further show habitation. A property owner must make an effort to remove squatters; otherwise, the law generally considers him complicit. Because police uphold criminal law as opposed to civil law, landlords often have to resolve the issue of squatters through legal processes. In some cases, resolution may take years. Gentrification is a common reason that squatters end up being evicted; poor areas suddenly become targets for development, and developers work to get squatters out.

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