What are Squatters Rights in Alabama
Adverse possession in Alabama occurs when someone lives with hostile intent on a property that is not their own. It would be like moving in to a rental home, but refusing to pay rent while living there. Adverse possession takes this up another notch. To file for a claim, squatters would need to occupy the property for a minimum of 10 years, care for it as if it were their own, and even pay property taxes on it during this time period.
The Goal Is To Create an Easement
Squatter's rights in Alabama are more than just possessing a property with intent. An easement must be established so that the rights of the squatters are firmly established. The 10 year minimum for an adverse possession easement must not only pay taxes on the property for all 10 years consecutively, but there must be documentation that the property easement was granted to them in some way in the first place. There must also be a title by descent or through a predecessor who had a title and was in possession of the land. If any of these three instances do not occur, then the term of adverse possession doubles to 20 years and becomes a prescription easement.
What Is a Prescription Easement?
This is the type of adverse possession which occurs when someone is continually using the property of someone else with full knowledge of the event. There cannot be any interruption of this usage during that time period and it must be exclusive use to that squatter and cannot be a group of people that comes and goes. Conveyance easements would allow for an instant transfer of the deed as it would grant the squatter immediate property rights. This would require the current property owner to sign over the easement in a written document.
Property Owners Can Stop Adverse Possession At Any Time in the 10/20 Year Period.
They must simply enforce their rights as a property owner. When this occurs, the squatters on the property are reclassified as tenants and are granted all rights and privileges that a paid tenant would provide. Squatter's rights in Alabama are difficult to achieve, making it possible for most property owners to maintain their rights. Inspect property regularly, actively enforce applicable laws when squatters are discovered, and adverse possession won't become a problem.
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