Posted on May 15, 2019 in Consumer Law
Many Americans have heard stories of people obtaining pieces of property, usually real estate, through the use of seemingly glaring legal loopholes, often obtaining property for a fraction of the sale price of the property. This happens due to a legal concept known as adverse possession, which essentially describes the taking of another person’s property by satisfying very specific legal requirements. All Nevada residents should understand how adverse possession works and the legal implications it may entail for any type of property purchase agreement.
What Is Adverse Possession?
Adverse possession is the legal terms for a person’s ability to obtain the title to property by satisfying specific legal requirements. The term “adverse” indicates that this usually happens without the actual owner’s agreement; the party claiming adverse possession essentially acts as the owner of the property and pays all applicable taxes on the property for a certain time. In Nevada, the requirement is five years.
In most adverse possession cases, the owner has not granted permission to the individual seeking adverse possession to use the property in question. However, if the occupying owner acts as the true owner in all legal respects, particularly when it comes to satisfying the tax requirements on the property.
How Do I Claim Adverse Possession in Nevada?
Nevada state law places several strict requirements on adverse possession claims that an occupying owner of a property must satisfy to claim adverse possession.
- The occupying owner must have open and notorious use of the property. He or she must publicly appear as the owner of the property and not use the property secretly.
- The occupying owner must establish open and continuous ownership of the property. He or she may not share the property with others and remain on the property without prolonged absences.
- If the occupying owner remains on the property in the role of the true owner for five full years while paying all applicable taxes on the property, Nevada state law will likely recognize the occupying owner as the true owner through adverse possession.
Satisfying these requirements could lead to an occupying owner assuming full legal ownership of the property due to the true owner’s failure to use the property and pay necessary taxes.
What Are Squatters’ Rights in Nevada?
“Squatting” is the act of living in a home without the permission of the owner. This typically happens without the owner’s permission. While it may seem unfair to allow a squatter in someone else’s home to remain in the home without penalty, the adverse possession laws in Nevada enable many squatters to make legitimate claims of ownership if they meet the state’s adverse possession requirements. Nevada recently enacted laws against re-entry after eviction from a property. If the police remove a squatter from a property, the owner must still adhere to the state’s requirements in terms of squatters’ rights, even if it seems unfair.
- After the police remove a squatter, the owner must hold the squatter’s possessions from the property in a secure storage unit or in the property itself for 21 days.
- The property owner must file a notice of retaking ownership of the property for 21 days, during which time the squatter may legally petition to retain ownership of the property.
- If the squatter does not request a hearing, the lockout period begins and the owner may throw out or donate the squatter’s belongings once the lockout period ends.
If the squatter believes any personal property is missing from his or her belongings once the lockout period begins, he or she would have the right to file a civil claim against the true owner, further delaying the true owner’s reclamation process.
If the true owner files a notice to surrender to the squatter, the squatter has four business days to vacate the premises. However, the squatter may attempt to petition the court to remain in the property by claiming he or she is a legitimate tenant or the actual owner of the property. If the squatter petitions a judge to avoid the notice to surrender, this can delay the reclamation process by another week or more. If granted, the true owner will need to hold the squatter’s belongings for another 21 days.
What Are the Requirements for Adverse Possession?
A squatter can legally obtain ownership of the other party’s property if he or she meets specific requirements, including remaining in the property without prolonged absence for five years, publicly holding out as the true owner of the property, and paying all applicable taxes on the property for those five years.