Posted in Blog  
  on Dec 02, 2015

What Are Squatters Rights in Nebraska

The State of Nebraska incorporates some common law elements and some specific state statutes into their revised statutes which govern squatters rights. Anyone who wishes to seek a possession claim through the process of adverse possession must prove that they have been in “actual, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession” of the property in question for a minimum of 10 years. Nebraska also has some state-specific standards which must be met. Those squatters rights are listed below and if not met, may actually cause an adverse possession claim to be denied.

1. Holding Over Without a Lease May Qualify As Adverse Possession.

Nebraska considers staying at a rental unit after a lease expires as potentially qualifying as occupation without permission. This means landlords must take proactive action to either give permission for tenants to be holding over or to initiate the eviction process.

2. Water Rights Are Separate From Property Rights.

Squatters must occupy a property for a minimum of 10 years to make an adverse possession claim. Property owners who don't use their water rights for more than 10 years will lose their rights to this resource, regardless of how the adverse possession claim is heard. This means a property owner may lose their land to squatters, but the squatters won't generally be granted water rights to the property.

3. There Must Be Some Form Of Intent To Claim The Deed.

Squatters must have some level of claim to the property in question. Seeking out properties that look abandoned and then improving them may qualify, but generally there must be some claim to the land, even if it is mistaken, for an adverse possession claim to be heard.

4. Fences Qualify An Adverse Possession Claim.

If a fence is built outside of a property line and that land is claimed in ownership for the 10 year period, then this may qualify for an adverse possession claim over that land.

5. Squatters Must Provide a Preponderance Of Evidence.

It is up to those who are making a claim of adverse possession to prove they have been acting as the owners of the land in question over a 10 year period. A title does not have to be awarded to squatters even if all of the conditions for adverse possession have been met. For specific answers to a current situation involving squatters and adverse possession, be sure to reference Nebraska's revised statutes or speak with a legal professional familiar with this area of law.


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