In the state of Texas, the legal principle of adverse possession covers the idea of squatter's rights, according to Lone Star Land Law. This refers to a situation in which one legally claims property that originally belonged to someone else.
In 2012, 60 adverse possession filings took place in Tarrant County, Texas. In all of these situations, the homeowners had temporarily left their homes, for such reasons as an extended regimen of chemotherapy at a hospital in Houston, only to return and find someone else living in their home and claiming to own it, reports Fox News.
The squatter must possess the title and occupy the property openly for three years without the original owner filing a complaint to take the property. If the squatter has only filed a deed, he must occupy the property for five years without complaint. Without any paperwork, the squatter must occupy the property for 10 years without complaint to keep the property, notes Lone Star Land Law.