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A squatter is a person who occupies an abandoned, unoccupied or foreclosed building or area of land without permission from the owner. Squatters do not rent or own the property they are occupying. Property owners may not have any idea what to do if they stumble upon squatters living on the premises.
This article discusses questions someone may have if a squatter has invaded their property, including
- How do I evict or get rid of a squatter from my property?
- What are adverse possession laws?
- Does Indiana have squatter's laws?
How Do I Evict Or Get Rid Of A Squatter From My Property?
Step One: provide squatters with an eviction notice.
There are a couple of different notices that property owners use in Indiana.
- 10-Day Notice to Pay Rent. This notice must include the amount that the squatter must pay to stay on the property. After ten days (not including weekends or holidays) have passed, the owner of the property can file an eviction.
- 45- Day Notice to Quit. If there is illegal drug activity on the property, the owner can deliver a 45-Day Notice to Quit to the squatters.
- Immediate Eviction. If the squatters commit waste or there is prostitution activity on the premises, no prior notice is needed before filing an eviction lawsuit.
Step two: file an eviction lawsuit in an Indiana court
Seeking legal counsel is not required; however, obtaining counsel can make the eviction process smoother by ensuring proper notice has been given, an adequate amount of time has passed, and all forms are complete and accurate, so there is no delay. O'Flaherty Law has dedicated and experienced attorneys waiting to assist in your eviction matter.
To read more information about our Indiana Landlord-Tenant Attorney, please visit our website.
Step three: go to the hearing
A hearing will be scheduled after filing an eviction lawsuit. The judge will typically issue the eviction judgment at the hearing that will enable the owner to evict the squatters. Knowing the ins and outs of the court process, having an O'Flaherty law attorney with you at the hearing can ease your anxiety. Our attorneys will ensure you do not enter or leave the hearing without understanding what is going on and what will happen next.
Step four: Writ of Execution posted at the property
If the eviction judgment is granted, the owner will receive a Writ of Execution, which is the eviction judgment against the squatters. This Writ will be posted at the property giving notice to the squatters to remove their belongings. Having a sheriff present is usually the best idea to ensure the squatters leave the premises and no tension ramps up between the parties.
For more on eviction without a lease, please visit our other article.
What Are Adverse Possession Laws?
Adverse possession means a squatter is living on a property without permission from the owner of the property. In Indiana, a squatter must possess the property for a continuous 10-year period before having the ability to make an adverse possession claim. Adverse possession claims allow a squatter to obtain legal ownership of the property.
Squatters must meet each element outlined by Indiana's adverse possession laws. A squatter must meet the following elements to have grounds for a claim of adverse possession:
- Control – the squatter must show that they are in exclusive and continuous use of the property to show control.
- Intent – the squatter must claim full ownership of the property.
- Notice -the squatter gives formal notice to the legal owner of their intent and exclusive control.
- Duration – the squatter must satisfy each of these elements continuously for ten years.
Indiana does not require that squatters have the color of title to file for adverse possession. Color of the title only gives them ownership over the area of land they have occupied.
Does Indiana Have Squatter's Laws?
Indiana's adverse possession laws are squatters' only rights. Squatters can falsely claim that they have rights to property by producing false or fraudulent documents. If a squatter on your property does this, you will need to go through the eviction process outlined above.
Be advised, though, that if a person beautifies abandoned property, they can avoid criminal trespass prosecution. Additionally, if a person uses someone else's property without permission but there was a legitimate emergency, the person can be exempt from criminal trespass prosecution. Lastly, squatters cannot claim adverse possession of the occupied property.
If you want to know more about your rights or need help evicting a squatter from your property, please reach out to us. To request a consultation with an Indiana Landlord-Tenant Lawyer, call our office at (630) 324-6666, or you can also fill out our confidential contact form, and we will get back to you shortly.