how to apply for squatters rights without a lawyer

by Abraham Hudson 7 min read

What are squatter’s rights?

Feb 28, 2022 · Call the sheriff (not the local police) to remove squatters from the property if they refuse to leave. Hire a lawyer in case you need to file a lawsuit to remove the squatters from your premises. Squatters have different rights in different states. Make surely you refer to California Civ. Proc. §§318, 325, 328 for more information .

When can a squatter claim adverse possession of a property?

Squatters’ rights are a set of rights designed when homesteading was popular. Put into law with the Homestead Act of 1862 , these rights were written by a government who wanted to provide legal support for pioneers who moved onto land they perceived as vacant, built a home and started raising livestock or growing crops.

How do you get rid of a squatter on your property?

File a Lawsuit. You can take additional action by filing a lawsuit if the squatter refuses to leave after being told to do so. A court hearing date will be determined after that, and both sides will be expected to appear. If the judge rules in your favor, the …

What is squatting and is it legal?

Squatters’ rights are also known as adverse possession rights. This includes the set of laws that allow a squatter to legally use or live on real estate without the owner’s explicit permission. One of the main provisions is that tenants cannot be removed from the property without fair notice. In fact, in many parts of the country, squatters ...

What Is a Squatter?

A squatter is a person who lives on your land without authorization. They are someone who entered property without permission and unlawfully occupied it.

The Difference Between Squatting and Trespassing

Trespassing is considered a criminal offense and someone who trespasses on land can be arrested for it. Squatting, however, is considered a civil matter. People who are squatting can still be arrested and they can still be evicted from the land if they moved into an occupied property without the owner’s knowledge.

Steps To Protect Your Property From Squatters

You can call law enforcement if you see that someone is squatting on your property. If they do not leave and they claim squatters’ rights, then you can evict them. Squatting laws by state all allow property owners to evict squatters.

How to get rid of adverse possession?

1. Meet with an attorney. State requirements for adverse possession are strict. In order to make sure that you satisfy the requirements, you should meet with a lawyer. An experienced attorney can offer sound legal advice and also help you put together the strongest case possible.

What is a summons for a lawsuit?

A summons is a legal form that notifies the Respondent of the lawsuit and tells him how much time he has to file a written answer. The clerk should print off the summons or give you a form to fill out. Generally, you can serve notice using the sheriff or a process server, if you know where the defendant lives.

What is the first requirement for adverse possession?

1. Occupy the property in a hostile manner. The first requirement for adverse possession is to occupy the piece of property in a “hostile” manner. The definition of “hostile” is considerably different depending on the state. In Maine, for example, the squatter must be aware that he or she is trespassing.

How to show that you occupied a property?

Gather evidence of physical possession. To show that you occupied the property, gather evidence of utility bills which show use of electricity, gas, or heating oil. Also gather proof of payment, to show that you were the one using and paying for the utilities.

Can you bring a suit for quiet title?

Judges can be extremely hesitant to award title by adverse possession. Accordingly, you may not want to bring a suit for quiet title. Instead, you could simply continue to occupy the land until the rightful owner brings a suit to eject you. Then you could defend yourself using adverse possession as the defense.

How to quiet title?

2. Perform a title search. To quiet title, you will need to sue anyone who has an ownership interest in the property. Accordingly, you need to know who these individuals may be. You should perform a title search. You can hire a title company to perform a title search.

How long does it take to get a notice of appeal?

You must fill it out and file it. The procedure for appeals varies by state, but generally you will have around 30 days to fill it out and file it with the trial court. Ask the clerk who you should file the form with.

What Is a Squatter?

A squatter is an individual who occupies and has the intention to remain on the property of another person without their permission to stay or live there. A squatter might also simply use the land or piece of property without paying for it.

What Legal Requirements Should You Fulfill To Take Over Real Estate?

Continuously occupying the property grants a tenant adverse possession or squatters’ rights. To have a solid case, these are several requirements you must fulfill when seeking adverse possession. It’s important to note that requirement specifics will vary state by state. Work with one of our experienced adverse possession attorneys today.

How Do I Make a Claim on the Property I Have Occupied?

As illustrated above, how to make a squatters’ rights claim depends on the state you’re in. Generally speaking, you must fulfill all the terms of that specific state to make a claim. Note that there are some states where you must have paid taxes on the land or have access to the deed. Even so, here are some general steps to follow:

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What to do if you find unauthorized tenants?

If you discover unauthorized tenants at your property, the first step is to determine how long they’ve been occupying the property. If they’ve been there for a short period of time, you have no trespassing signs posted, or there are indications of forced entry (broken window, etc.), then you are likely dealing with a criminal breaking-and-entering situation and can simply call law enforcement. If none of these situations are present, you may have a squatter.

What is adverse possession?

If a squatter has physical possession of your property , adverse possession is the process to then acquire the title to the property they occupy. Simply occupying an abandoned or unused property isn’t enough to warrant an adverse possession claim; the squatter must continuously reside in or make use of the property.

Can a squatter occupy your property?

Generally speaking, a squatter is anyone who has taken up residence or occupies a property without permission from the property owner. Here are some examples of squatting scenarios:

How long does it take to evict a squatter?

The eviction process may take several weeks, but if the squatters have no reason to be on the property in the first place, the judgment will likely be in favor of the landlord. Once the eviction has been finalized, the sheriff or constable is the only one who has the authority to remove the squatters.

How long does it take to get a claim for squatters in Illinois?

A squatter may be able to claim rights to the property after a certain amount of time living there. In Illinois, it takes 20 years of continuous possession for a squatter to make an adverse possession claim (735 ILCS § 5/13-101 et seq). When a squatter makes an adverse possession claim, they can gain legal ownership of the property.

How long do squatters have to live on property in Illinois?

The squatter must reside on the property for an uninterrupted period of time. That means that they don’t leave the property and come back to it weeks or months later and try to count that time as part of their “continuous possession” timeframe. As previously stated, 20 years of continuous occupation is required in Illinois.

What does it mean to squat on a property?

Squatting is when a person finds an abandoned or vacant property and moves in without discussing it with the property owner. It sounds like breaking and entering – except sometimes it is legal.

What is the rule for trespassing?

This rule requires that the trespasser is aware that their occupation fo the property amounts to trespassing. They have to know that they have no legal right to the property. Good faith mistake. A few states follow this rule. This requires that the trespasser has made a good faith mistake in occupying the area.

Can a tenant be evicted without notice?

They can be evicted at any time without notice. However, if a holdover tenant does not leave after they receive a notice to quit (or move out), they will be subject to a lawsuit for unlawful detainer. A holdover tenant will not be able to claim adverse possession if they have already been told to leave.

What is actual possession?

Actual Possession requires that the trespasser be physically present on the land and treat it as if they were an owner. If the trespasser has improved or beautified the property (as mentioned earlier), documentation of these efforts can prove actual possession.

Adverse possession

Squatters’ rights operate to deal with overlooked land where the original owner has been dead or absent for a long period. The theory of the law of adverse possession involves an obligation for an owner to use, maintain and defend land.


An adverse possession claim can be made against an owner after 12 years. A claim is made to Titles Queensland.

New South Wales

An adverse possession claim can be made against an owner after 12 years. A claim to Crown land can be made after 30 years. A claim is made to the NSW Land Registry Services.


The Limitations of Actions Act 1958 provides that an adverse possession claim can be made against an owner after 15 years. It also states such a claim cannot be made over Crown land, rail track, water authorities, council land or common property. A claim is made to Land Use Victoria.


An adverse possession claim can be made against an owner after 12 years. A claim is made to the Land Titles Office.

South Australia

An adverse possession claim can be made against an owner after 12 years. A claim to Crown land can be made after 60 years. A claim is made to Land Services SA.

Western Australia

The claimant must show possession of the land for at least 12 years, or in some cases at least 30 years where the registered owner has a disability.

What does "open and notorious" mean?

Anyone who enters the land with the permission of the true owner fails to have exclusive possession. 5. Open and notorious. The adverse possessor’s use of the property must be so visible and apparent that it gives notice to the legal owner that someone may assert a claim.

What is the intent to possess?

Intention to possess. The adverse possessor must provide evidence that he had the “intention to possess.”. He must show that he intended to take the land for himself, to use it without the legal owner’s consent, not to share it with the legal owner.

What is actual possession?

Actual possession. There must be a sufficient amount of physical control over the property by the squatter. He must physically use the land as a property owner would. Examples include, clearing the land, planting crops, planting trees, harvesting the fruit on the land, grazing livestock, cutting timber, fencing the property, ...