If you own any of the property in Oklahoma, It’s important to educate yourself about the squatters right in Oklahoma also known as Adverse Possession. These include what exactly is the squatter’s right, how does the trespasser differ from the squatters, the requirement for filing for the adverse possession application, and how to handle the squatters. Here we have the complete guide for the landlords looking to know about the Squatters right
Who are squatters?
A squatter is someone who tries to settle on a foreclosed, unoccupied or an unabandoned residential building or area of land without lawful permission. This means that the person doesn’t rent or own the property.
How Is Trespasser Different from the Squatter?
A trespasser is an individual who knowingly enters someone else’s land or property without permission. Trespassing is a criminal offence, so the owner can call the police to take the trespasser off his hands.
Before one phones the authorities, it’s important to note that the term trespasser doesn’t apply to tenants who can’t afford rent, who may have broken their or whose lease may have lapsed. They fall under the category of the squatters.
The major difference between a trespasser and a squatter is their intention. By definition, A squatter intends to stay on the property for an extended period of time whereas the trespasser doesn’t. Getting rid of trespassers is easier in comparison to getting rid of squatters.
Can Holdover Tenants Be Considered as Squatters?
Holdover tenants are those tenants who refuse to leave the property when their lease period has ended. In this situation, the tenant is responsible for continuing to pay rent at the existing market rate and with the existing terms.
If the landlord is fine with the current tenant even after the lease period has ended, they may continue to accept the rent without worrying about the legality of the occupancy. In this case, the tenant becomes a ‘tenant at will’ which means that they are only on the property at the will of the landlord. They can be evicted at any period of time without notice.
Which State Has the Squatters Right?
Squatters’ Law also known as “Adverse Possession” exists in all of the 50 states of the United States. However, how these laws are enforced or implemented differs from state to state.
The below state has the squatters right where the individual has to be lived for a certain period of time:
|New Mexico||10 years|
|New York||10 years|
|New Jersey||30 years|
|North California||5 years|
|North Dakota||20 years|
|Rhode Island||10 years|
|South Carolina||10 years|
|South Dakota||20 years|
|West Virginia||10 years|
Understanding Squatters Law/Adverse Possession Law
Squatters rights particularly refer to the laws which allow the squatter to use or inhabit another person’s property if the lawful owner doesn’t evict or take action against the squatters. In simple words, A squatter is someone who uses real estate without owning it or without any legal permission by the owner to do so.
Typically the squatters laws only apply, if an individual has been illegitimately occupying a space for a specific period of time.
The basic requirements for claiming property under squatters rights in Oklahoma City
The basic requirements for claiming property under squatters rights in Oklahoma City
- Actual Possession: Actual Possession requires that the individual must be physically present on the property and treats it as if they are the owner.
- Continuous Possession Period: The Squatters should have continuous possession over the property over 15 years of the time period for claiming adverse possession. The possession cannot be justified in terms of divided periods. They can leave for a week, month, or a year, return later, and then claim they were absent as a continuous possession period. The time the Squatters reside on the property must be uninterrupted.
- Hostile Claim: In Squatters Right, Hostility means that the individual claiming possession of a disputed piece of land must demonstrate to the court that his/her possession is an actual invasion of or infringement upon, the true owner’s property rights.
- Open and Notorious: No attempt has been made to hide from the lawful owner i.e the Trespasser shouldn’t try to hide anything related to the property the owner who holds the property.
- Exclusive Possession: The Possession should be maintained by a single party. The Possession of the property by multiple parties over a period of time cannot be taken as an Exclusive Possession.
- Color of Title: Color of Title means that the owner may have the appearance of having a good and valid title to that property, but in reality, the owner doesn’t have one or more of the legal documents or proper registrations. or there is a significant defect in the written documents. In simple words, the Color of the title means that the ownership of Property is not regular.
Can Property Managers deal with squatters?
Squatters cannot easily move in the well managed rental properties and buildings and this should be a relief for the good property manager. The risk of Squatters is higher for foreclosed homes and abandoned houses which are typically not under the property management companies. Tenant Screening, Regular inspection and professional record-keeping of tenants are good practices to minimize the risk from squatters for the properties you manage.
However, if somehow squatters occupy the possession over the property, keep in mind that only the property owner can take legal action against squatters. This puts you, as the property manager, in a tough situation.
Things You Cannot Do as a Property Manager:
- force the squatters out of the property
- Don’t ever try to scare them into leaving in any way
- change the locks
- cut utilities.
In case, if any of the property that you are managing is occupied by the squatters you should immediately inform the property owner. This means you as an owner don’t want to hide anything concerning the property from them, helping to establish and maintain a trustworthy and healthy relationship.
Squatting Laws in Oklahoma City,ok
Oklahoma State law addresses the squatters differently than the other states. To claim the legal property title under Oklahoma State law, One must have been living or occupying the property for at least 15 years while the rightful owner has the time period of two years to recover the possession from the squatters by taking the legal actions. Additional Squatters law in the Oklahoma City, Ok are listed below:
|Code Section||12 § 93, 94|
|Time period required for Acquisition||15 years|
|Time for Rightful owner to claim over his property||2 years|
|Title from Tax advisor||5 years|
How to Get Rid of Squatters in Oklahoma City ?
Oklahoma doesn’t have specific laws for the eviction of squatters from a property. To evict squatters if they refuse through civil methods, a landowner must file a judicial eviction to have them removed.
If any of the squatters are claiming over your property, you must not make any attempt to physically remove the squatters or make a threat of violence. If you are found doing so, you are committing a crime.
Once you received the notice from the Land Registry that squatters are claiming possession over your property you should apply for an Interim Possession Order(IPO).Within a few days of applying you will receive the confirmation of your application from the court along with some documents that you need to give to the squatters within 48 hours. If they don’t leave the property within 24 hours and don’t stay away for at least 12 months they can be sent to prison. To then regain your possession over your property now you must a claim through IPO form.
However, there is a provision in Oklahoma law for landowners with a legal disability i.e they are underage, imprisoned, or legally incompetent. They have two years after their disability is lifted to claim over their properties that are occupied by the squatters. This means that while a landlord is legally disabled, no adverse possession claim can be levelled against his land.
After two years, if you don’t make any effort to reclaim your property and the same squatters apply for possession again then you will not be able to reject it, so act fast if you want a result.
You Can Also read about : Oklahoma Tenant Eviction Process
Do Squatters Have to Pay Property Taxes in Oklahoma City?
Yeah, squatters do have to pay property taxes to make an adverse possession claim in Oklahoma City. A title from a tax assessor is required to claim the property, and a squatter can only obtain a title from a tax assessor after paying property taxes for five consecutive years on a property where the ‘legal owner’ isn’t paying taxes.
Tips for Protecting Your Property from Squatters in Oklahoma City
- Inspect the property regularly.
- Always pay your property taxes in regular order.
- Ensure that the property is secured i.e Block all entrances, close all windows, and lock every door.
- Ask your neighboring property owner to be vigilant and inform if any kind of suspicious activity is happening.
- Post “No Trespassing or Squatting” signs on the property, especially if it’s currently vacant.
- Serve written notice as soon as you notice that squatters are present on your property.
- Call the sheriff to remove squatters from the premises if they do not leave.
- Hire a lawyer. To evict the squatters, You may need to take legal action, and having the correct legal advice is critical for every step of the journey.
Squatters are the fact of the property rental. As a landlord or owner, The best way to keep the squatters out of your property is to visit regularly and maintain the property on a time to time basis. By knowing the adverse possession laws of the state in which your property resides, you can better equip yourself to handle any instances of trespassing or squatting that may arise in the nearby future.
Why do squatters have rights?
The general idea is that the community should have squatters taking care and maintaining property than to have the properties that are unoccupied, vacant and going to seed.
Can tenants claim the squatters right?
No, the tenants cannot claim the Squatters right as squatters’ right only applies to those properties which have been abandoned by the owner or neglected to the point where someone can occupy the land without the owner’s knowledge for a specified period of time.
Can the squatter be evicted?
The Squatters can be evicted once the real owner finds that his property is being occupied or being claimed by the squatters by taking legal action against the squatters with all of the proof that the property belongs to him.
Do squatters right apply to registered land?
Yeah, the squatter’s right does apply to the registered land too. The squatter can claim for land after occupying for a fixed period of time and apply for adverse possession application.
When does possession become ownership?
Possession becomes ownership when an individual has lived for a specified period of time and applied for the legal ownership in the court along with all of the proofs that he has met the requirement for adverse possession.
Is Squatters Right legal?
Squatters’ rights are legal in Oklahoma City. Squatters can settle on the unoccupied or abandoned residential building or area of land without lawful permission and can apply for Squatter right after settling there for the specific period of time.