Also referred to as Squatter’s Rights, adverse possession enables a person living on or using someone else’s property to legally take ownership of said property if the original owner has abandoned and/or not claimed ownership over a certain period of time. This law came in to effect to encourage land/property upkeep and utilization. Adverse Possession can be determined by the mnemonic HELUVA: Hostile, Exclusive, Lasting, Uninterrupted, Visible, Actual. A squatter must demonstrate the following actions in order to legally take ownership of a property:
Hostile – possess property with no permission from original owner.
Exclusive – be the only person/family to possess the property and keep it exclusive from others.
Lasting – lasts for the statutory period as set by states.
Uninterrupted – continuous possession.
Visible – open and notorious about possession.
Actual – must actually possess the land and inhabit as intended.