Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Montana

Squatter's rights

What is the legal definition of squatter's rights? Can one of four property owners claim squatter's rights when they occupy a house on the jointly owned property? If so, how long must the house be continuously occupied as a primary residence?

Asked on 8/16/00, 7:51 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Charles Aspinwall Charles S. Aspinwall, J.D., LLC

Re: Squatter's rights

Sometimes one acquires title to real estate by adverse possession. This requires open, notorious and hostile actual possession of the property, and in most states requires that the adverse possesser have paid the property taxes for a period of time, often 10 years, sometimes 7.

A joint or co-owner of real estate cannot acquire title by living on the property with or without the permission of the other owners. Adverse possession cannot arise against a co-owner, only a non co-owner.

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Answered on 9/27/00, 8:51 am


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