Posted in Blog  
  on Jun 08, 2015

What Are Squatters Rights in Arizona

Squatter's rights in Arizona are some of the most comprehensive that exist in the United States right now. They are invoked whenever squatters inhabit land or a structure that has been left unused. When enough time goes by, squatters are then allowed to claim that land or structure as their own, against the interests of those who hold the title to the property.

In Arizona, Squatters Can Take Adverse Possession Of An Abandoned Property In As Little As Two Years.

There is a color of title statute that is included with Arizona's adverse possession laws. This means they must have some reason to believe that they have a right to possess the property in some way. There must also be a claim that shows that the squatters have as much or a better claim to sovereignty over the property that is up in question. This means there is a notoriety stipulation within Arizona's adverse possession laws. The community at large must know that the squatter's are living in the residence and be able to assume that they have a legal right to be there. It must also have a hostile intent to it as well. This means that squatters cannot have a property owner's permission to be using the property. This means in general terms that the easiest way to stop an adverse possession claim is to simply give permission for the squatters to be there. Every situation, however, is unique and there are several factors that must be passed on both sides for a claim to become resolved.

Just Because An Adverse Possession Claim Is Filed Does Not Mean That The Title Is Automatically Signed Over To The Squatters.

Land owners have up to 3 years after they receive a cause of action to challenge the adverse possession claim. This limitation includes the ability to take any peaceable actions to recover real property using the color of title that exists. This means that the land owner believes that their right to claim the property is greater than that of the squatter's claims that have been made. If the property is a city lot, then there is a 5 year deadline for action to be taken instead. The total amount of time may equal 7-10 years for the full adverse possession claim to be resolved.

Certain Improvements May Be Recoverable Costs To Squatters, Including Property Taxes That Were Paid.

Squatters can enhance their claim to sovereignty by paying the property taxes and making cultivation improvements to the land in question. They must also openly occupy the land in order for them to be able to file for an adverse possession claim. What makes Arizona law interesting is that squatting is based on consecutive time spent and can involve multiple parties. Once the adverse possession deadline has passed, the squatter in possession at that time can file a claim no matter how many other squatters occupied the land before they did.

Arizona Law Does Have a Size Requirement In Place.

Squatter's rights in Arizona are limited in the size of the claim. Adverse possession prevents the possession of more than 160 acres of land in all circumstances. Even if squatters have been openly cultivating the land, have lived on it consecutively, or used the land for other reasons, only 160 acres can be filed for at most. Because squatter's cannot openly occupy two different land parcels simultaneously, this limits the ability to claim large portions of land. Squatters could win an adverse possession title on 160 acres that they have cultivated, get the title into their possession, and then adversely occupy an adjoining parcel of land to start the process of squatter's rights over from the very beginning.

Property Owners Also Have Quiet Title Rights That They May Present Before The Court.

Property owners who are concerned about adverse possession laws may be able to file what is known as a “quiet title lawsuit” in the state of Arizona. This can be done when there are other parties that may feel they have a legitimate ownership claim to specific property. This lawsuit asks the court to confirm that they are the owners of a specific title over a portion of land. The difference in squatter's rights in Arizona is that the process of claiming adverse possession can begin quite rapidly. The amount of time it takes to resolve a claim may take up to 10 years, putting Arizona in line with most other states in how squatter's rights are treated. Take action when necessary and most adverse possession claims can be nullified before they can become valid.


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