Posted in Blog  
  on Oct 08, 2015

What Are Squatters Rights in Mississippi

Squatters do have rights in Mississippi, but the adverse possession laws require several common law elements to be in place before a claim can be filed. The possessor of the property must be using land that has been abandoned to qualify for their squatters rights. There must be some claim of right, whether purposeful or through possession, and that claim must be actual and against the ownership wishes of the current property owner. Squatters in Mississippi must also be visible with their property occupation. It must be notorious and open, which means they must be using the property in such a way that it seems like they are the actual property owner. The state also requires the occupation to be exclusive to the squatters in question and be continuous and uninterrupted. The property owner must not have given permission for the squatters to be present on the property for a claim to be valid.

There Are 2 Additional Stipulations That Must Be Met

Outside of the common law elements that must be met, squatters in Mississippi must also use the property in question in an uninterrupted fashion for a minimum of 10 years. Squatters cannot “tack on” time from one occupation group to another. If an abandoned property is used for 7 years by one set of squatters and a new household moves in to take their place, the 10 year clock to file an adverse possession claim starts over. Mississippi also requires that squatters occupy an abandoned property in a peaceful manner. If squatters create a disturbance in their neighborhood or create conflict with their neighbors, then this may disqualify the adverse possession claim at any time. Each element must be shown through clear and convincing evidence by the squatters when they file a claim for the property.

How Has Mississippi Ruled In the Past?

The courts in Mississippi have put in some guidelines through adverse possession cases that help to clarify some of the common law guidelines that must be in place for a claim to be potentially valid. It is not good enough in the state to just be in possession of the land for occupation of it to be considered open and notorious. There must also be a notification to the current property owner offered in some way that someone is occupying their land adversely so the owner can regain possession of the property in question. There must also not be any permissive elements to the use of the property whatsoever for an adverse possession claim to be considered valid. Any permissive element by the property owner in question at any time disrupts the hostile element of the case. Even if permission is only given on a periodic basis with a limited time frame, the occupation of the property is no longer hostile and therefore may not qualify as an adverse possession claim.

The Property Title Doesn't Just Transfer Upon a Claim

Once all of the legal stipulations have been met for an adverse possession claim, the squatters must file a motion with the court to have the title transferred over to them. A judge will hear the evidence from both parties and then decide if the case has merit. There are several outcomes which can be given upon judgment, including a complete transfer of title, a partial ownership transfer, or an outright rejection of the adverse possession claim. Appeals are allowed on both sides through the Mississippi Court of Appeals and potentially to the state Supreme Court.

Partial claims of adverse possession are also possible. The same elements for squatters rights are considered for a partial property transfer. Unlike other states, however, Mississippi doesn't consider the establishment of a fence as strong enough evidence that the occupation of land is hostile and open in nature. There must also be an element in place where the adjoining property owners must be aware that their rights to that land are in jeopardy. When it comes to squatters rights in Mississippi, the legal precedents are to side with the current property owners whenever possible. This doesn't mean a property owner can abandon their property for more than 10 years and expect the court system to rule in their favor. Maintaining personal property in some way, even if it is only a couple times per year, can put a halt to any adverse possession claim before it begins. Use the information in this guide to your advantage and consult with a legal professional for any specific questions you may have.


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