Is Squatting Legal in Your State? Here’s What We Know About Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois
Landowners beware! Squatters may have rights to your property if you're not careful and here's what you need to know if you live in these parts of the United States.
FIRST OF ALL, WHAT DOES SQUATTING EVEN MEAN?
If you don't know count yourself blessed. A squatter in this case is not a person that is crouching or in a position close to the ground. It has a bit of different meaning and it's a really good thing for you to know.
According to Investopedia;
A squatter is a person who settles in or occupies a piece of property with no legal claim to the property. A squatter lives on a property to which they have no title, right, or lease. A squatter may gain adverse possession of the property through involuntary transfer.
A property owner who does not use or inspect their property for several years could lose the title to another person who makes a claim to the land, takes possession of the land, and uses the land.
IS SQUATTING LEGAL IN KY, INDIANA, & ILLINOIS?
The natural response to this question seems like it would be NO right?! Well, it's a lot more complicated than a one-word answer, unfortunately.
In Kentucky, it's not necessarily illegal. According to obryanlawoffices.com
The Homestead Act of 1862 established adverse possession laws. Adverse possession laws are on the books in many states, including Kentucky. These regulations allow someone to take ownership of a piece of property if they’ve publicly lived there for a certain amount of time, made changes to the property, have a deed to the property, and have paid either rent or property taxes on it.
While adverse possession appears unjust, proving ownership isn’t easy. In Kentucky, adverse possession rules, often known as squatters’ rights, demand strict verification of specific factors before a trespasser can take a land title away from the actual owner.
Basically what this means is that if you hang out long enough you could actually claim the property. Here are five ways a person could actually take adverse possession.
INDIANA SQUATTER LAW
This is a bit different. According to a case covered by WDRB.com, a woman claimed "Squatter's rights" for breaking into a vacant house and the law says;
"Squatters rights" refers to a legal doctrine in which a person who has been living on a piece of property can claim ownership of that property after a sufficient period of time. But according to Indiana law, a squatter must have been living on the property for at least 10 years and paid all relevant property taxes and special assessments before he or she can claim ownership.
HOW ABOUT ILLINOIS SQUATTER RIGHTS?
It seems that adverse possession exists in all three states. However, the amount of time it takes to get possession differs. According to illinoislegalaid.org
If your possession has been “adverse,” you own it. Adverse possession is the only example of squatter's rights in Illinois property law. Whether that possession begins by innocent mistake or illegal trespass, 20 years makes you the legal landowner. But, not just any 20 years of possession.
Refer back to Kentucky and those 5 key requirements for adverse possession.
Most people don't understand there is a difference between trespassing and squatting. Trespassing generally means you have to force your way into the building or property. Squatters just show up without force.