Squatters rights, or adverse possession, is a legal concept that allows someone to claim ownership of a property if they have been using it without the owner’s permission for a certain period of time. In Ohio, the law on squatters rights is governed by the Ohio Revised Code.
What is Adverse Possession?
Adverse possession is the legal principle that allows someone to claim ownership of a property that they have been using continuously and openly, without the owner’s permission, for a certain period of time. This period of time varies depending on the state, but in Ohio, it is 21 years.
What Constitutes Adverse Possession?
To establish adverse possession, there are five elements that must be met: 1. Actual possession: The squatter must physically occupy the property and use it as if they were the owner. 2. Open and notorious possession: The squatter’s possession must be open and obvious to the public, so that the owner is aware of their presence. 3. Hostile possession: The squatter must possess the property without the owner’s permission. 4. Continuous possession: The squatter must possess the property continuously for the entire 21-year period. 5. Exclusive possession: The squatter must possess the property exclusively, meaning that they cannot share it with the owner or anyone else.
How Can Squatters Rights Affect Property Owners?
Squatters rights can be a nightmare for property owners, as they can result in the loss of ownership of their property. If a squatter meets all of the elements of adverse possession, they can file a lawsuit to claim ownership of the property. This can be a lengthy and expensive legal battle, and even if the owner wins, they may have to pay legal fees and damages.
How Can Property Owners Protect Themselves?
There are several steps that property owners can take to protect themselves from squatters rights: 1. Keep the property well-maintained and secure. 2. If the property is vacant, check on it regularly to ensure that no one has moved in. 3. If you become aware of a squatter on your property, take immediate action to remove them. 4. Consider hiring a property management company to oversee the property, especially if it is vacant.
Squatters rights can be a complicated legal issue, and property owners should take steps to protect themselves from potential adverse possession claims. By understanding the elements of adverse possession and taking proactive measures to secure their property, property owners can minimize their risk of losing ownership of their property.