Notice: This is not legal advice. If need legal advice, seek out an attorney.
Squatters’ rights come into play when someone that the property owner occupies the property without the owner’s permission. If you own a property in Oklahoma, it’s important to educate yourself about the squatter’s right (also known as Adverse Possession). The purpose of this article is to answer the following questions:
- 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 Oklahoma Squatters right
Understanding Squatters Law/Adverse Possession Law
As per the Oklahoma adverse possession law, a squatter has the right to claim the property if they have continuous possession of the property for at least 15 years and title from 5 years.
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 squatter 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 deal with the trespasser.
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 lease rate, and with the existing lease 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.
Which State Has the Squatters Right?
All 50 states have Squatters’ law also known as “adverse possession”. 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|
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 oklahoma. The time the squatter resides on the property must be uninterrupted.
- Hostile Claim: Hostile Claim 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. The Trespasser shouldn’t try to hide their occupation of 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 proper.
Can Property Managers deal with squatters?
Squatters cannot easily move into a property managed by a company that knows what they are doing. The risk of squatters is higher for foreclosed homes and abandoned houses. Anytime I’ve had unauthorized people move in, I’ve been able to get rid of them either through police action or eviction.
Things You Cannot Do as a Property Manager:
There are certain responsibilities of a property manager. The property manager cannot do the following things when squatters are found occupying the rental property:
- force the squatters out of the property
- change the locks
- cut utilities.
Squatting Laws in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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 Evict a Squatter in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma doesn’t have a different laws mentioned in the Landlord-Tenant Act for the eviction of the squatters.If the squatters refuse to leave the property through civil methods, a landlord must file a judicial eviction to have them removed. It’s a normal eviction procedure.
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.
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 their properties that are occupied by the squatters. This means that while a landlord is legally disabled, no adverse possession claim can be issued
After two years, if you don’t make any effort to reclaim your property and the same squatters apply for possession again, 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?
Squatters do have to pay property taxes to make an adverse possession claim oklahoma. A title from a tax assessor is required to claim the property, and a squatter can only obtain a title from the 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.
- 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 ” 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 an eviction attorney. 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.
Can tenants claim the squatters right?
No, 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?
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.
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 a specific period of time.
How is Squatting Legal ?
The reason for the legality of squatting in the US can be traced back to the time of European Colonialists. At that time, the official owner for the majority of the properties was undetermined. So, people from Europe were given the ownership of a land-based on the fact that they worked/lived in that land.