Table of Contents Hide
- What is a Squatter?
- Adverse Possession: What Is It?
- Unfavorable Possession Factors Under Adverse Possession
- Squatter’s Rights in Ohio
- How to Keep Squatters Out of Your Property
- Is Squatting Trespassing?
- The rule does not always apply
- Are Squatters required to pay property taxes in Ohio?
- Fights against Squatting Rights in Ohio
- Which States have Squatters’ Rights?
If you own a property in Ohio, it is only wise that you understand the term ‘Squatters Rights’. Knowing how it works gives you a solid advantage on how to defend your home. In Ohio, squatters have certain chances to get title to or possession of a vacant property if they meet the conditions.
Because f this, it is important t be ready, knowledgeable, and aware f this information if you own rental property in Ohio to avoid a drawn-out and expensive problem.
Read on to find out who a squatter is, how their rights are enforced in Ohio, and what you may do to defend your property against such an individual.
What is a Squatter?
An individual or group of people who move into a house, structure, or plot of land with the goal of residing there permanently without the owner’s consent is known as a squatter.
Through adverse possession, some squatters finally gain the legal title to the land. But, this is after the squatter has made their case in front of an Ohio county court, they can take ownership of the land through the process known as adverse possession.
Adverse Possession: What Is It?
Because adverse possession is the set of legalities that grant a squatter the right to gain legal title to a property after they have occupied that property and fulfilled the legal requirements t become the owner, the terms adverse possession and squatters rights are often used interchangeably.
Another term for a person who seeks title through adverse possession is disseisor. And, it is a person who asserts that they could evict the real owner of a piece of property and that they now have a legitimate claim to the title of that property.
In Ohio, such person must establish a few minimum requirements before they can assert their legal title to a piece of property and make use of their squatter rights.
Unfavorable Possession Factors Under Adverse Possession
In States like Ohio, a person must satisfy these requirements before they can assert legal title to a property by adverse possession.
#1. One-Time Use
The disseisor must use the property exclusively as if it were their own for adverse possession to occur. This requires such an individual to act as though they are the owners including maybe keeping out and evicting trespassers, other squatters, and even the real property’s owner.
However, it is expedient to note that it must only use the property for that purpose.
#2. Present Possession
The disseisor must use the property as an owner would and properly maintain and/or make improvements to the building or land in order to be considered to have actual possession of the property.
Lawn mowing, landscaping, changing locks, or land harvesting are a few examples of this.
See: HOW TO BECOME A HOME OWNER IN 2022
#3. Open and well-known
Such an individual must use the property in a way that the public or the rightful owner can observe and mustn’t conceal their use of it.
Leaving and entering through the front door as a typical owner would serve as an illustration of this.
Each state’s squatter laws have a slightly different interpretation of this requirement, but to satisfy it, the disseisor must have entered the property or used it without the rightful owner’s consent.
The animosity component of this aspect does not imply that the disseisor and the real owner will come into contact or engage in physical violence.
It merely requires that the reasons of the disseisor be hostile to the genuine owner’s claim to the property.
#5. Constant Use
The final condition for adverse possession to occur is that the squatter or disseisor must use the property continually for the whole period of the statute of limitations.
This means that during the time specified under the state’s squatter laws, the person asserting ownership of the property must consistently engage in the four actions listed above.
Squatter’s Rights in Ohio
To claim squatters rights in Ohio and gain ownership of a property through adverse possession, you must meet all the five adverse possession factors described above, as well as meet additional conditions as stipulated under adverse possession legislation in Ohio.
The following requirements must be met in order to establish adverse possession in Ohio:
- Hold title to the property continuously for at least 21 years.
- Cover all necessary property taxes for the property that is being claimed
However, in order to assert adverse possession in Ohio, one is not required to pay real estate taxes. A squatter may now begin legal actions through his court system and make their adverse possession claim in front of a judge once all the aforementioned conditions have been satisfied.
How to Keep Squatters Out of Your Property
It takes attention and dedication on the side of the property owner or property management to prevent squatters and trespassers.
A long time spent neglecting a property can serve as a warning sign to a squatter that the property is empty, raising the likelihood of a squatter problem.
Nobody wants someone living in their property without their consent or paying rent, even if the situation doesn’t progress to someone claiming title to the property. Below are steps you can take to keep squatters out of your property in Ohio.
Look for signs that someone is living there
It is advised to visit and visually inspect the property frequently, particularly if it is vacant.
- Open the doors.
- Open the windows.
- Remaining garbage.
- Water bottles that were abandoned.
- Entrance markers.
Also, ensure to exchange contact information with a neighbour who might notify you if someone moves into the property if it is far away which prevents you from visiting it frequently.
Have a schedule for maintenance
Regular care can prevent trespassers or squatters from settling on the property besides keeping it in immaculate condition.
A clean property gives the impression that someone is already living there, discouraging potential squatters or trespassers.
Additionally, remember that in order to get a title to a property through adverse possession, a person must have had exclusive use of it; by reserving the property, you remove that requirement.
Keeping records and storing documents
Keeping track of tax payment due dates and receipts can help you stay organized and stop someone else from paying the property’s taxes.
Protecting other crucial property documents, such as the property’s title and expense records, is also crucial.
Hence, maintaining orderly property records is important to avoid the possibility that scammers and squatters would get these records and use them against you.
Add a Security System
Installing an alarm system can prevent squatters and intruders from potentially settling in the house. While it is the first step to preventing long-term squatter situations, it can deter burglars from entering the house and also occupying it if it has remained unoccupied for a long time.
This can be the deciding factor in understanding whether this person was just a trespasser or something more, like a squatter.
Is Squatting Trespassing?
Trespassing doesn’t always include squatting. While squatting is a civil issue, trespassing is a criminal offence. However, it may be treated as a crime if the proprietor can prove the squatter is not welcome.
- Trespassers or squatters could make up a justification for their presence on the land.
- They do this by giving the owner or law enforcement fake or counterfeit documentation or other documents.
- This is forbidden.
- Squatters have rights, but they can’t exercise them unless they can prove they have adverse possession
- They could be detained as criminal trespassers if they don’t fulfil these standards.
- Squatters who aim to gain land titles can be strangers or even neighbours.
Related article: WARRANTY DEED VS QUIT CLAIM DEED: Differences
The rule does not always apply
A person may escape legal action for trespassing if they make an abandoned or vacant property more attractive (by clearing away trash, growing flowers, or making other renovations, etc.).
Trespassing may not apply to someone who enters the premises without authorization if there is a valid emergency.
For squatters to make an adverse possession claim, the property must not be in use.
Are Squatters required to pay property taxes in Ohio?
In some states, squatters must pay property taxes before they can be charged with adverse possession. None of these states includes Ohio.
Squatters are eligible to file an adverse possession claim even though they have never paid the property’s property taxes.
Fights against Squatting Rights in Ohio
Non-profit organisations have tried to exploit squatters’ rights in Ohio as a legal means for people to own land in many places today. Squatters frequently claim tenant rights because they signed false lease agreements without realizing it and paid rent to con artists, or because they verbally agreed with the owner to make improvements to the property in lieu of paying rent, even if the owner was a fraud.
The first thing you should do if you think you have squatters on your property is call the police. You will now request that the squatters vacate. You must serve them with an eviction notice if they assert squatters’ rights or claim to be a legitimate tenant.
If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to sue to defend yourself from the adverse possession claim they made against you.
Which States have Squatters’ Rights?
Squatters’ rights exist in all 50 states, but naturally, the length of time that people stay on a particular piece of property varies by state.
- Colorado: 18 years
- Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia are the states under 15 years old
- Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming are among the states with a 10-year lifespan
- Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, and Utah all have 7 years
- Montana and California: 5 Years
Squatting is theoretically prohibited because it requires trespassing.
Squatters are those who illegally occupy someone else’s property without getting consent.
Ask the squatter to vacate your property if they are there politely. Call the cops if they object. Be reminded that the easiest way to get a squatter off your property if they claim to be a renter is to evict them.
Squatters rights indeed exist in Ohio. Going through this carefully written article will equip you with the things you should know about this term and how best to counter such rights.