Posted in Blog  
  on Sep 16, 2015

What Are Squatters Rights In Rhode Island?

The court systems throughout the United States have consistently held that squatter's rights cannot be implemented unless there is an open, hostile, and continuous claim to the property in questions. This process, which is referred to as adverse possession, also applies in Rhode Island. If squatters are using a property consistently without the permission of the owner for a minimum of 10 years, then a claim can be filed to take over title of the land that is being used. Rhode Island has one more stipulation that must be followed: the occupation of the property must also be peaceful. If dominion over the property creates a disturbance for any surrounding neighbors that are not a potential defendant should an adverse possession claim be filed, then the claim may be rejected even if every other stipulation has been met.

Rhode Island Also Requires Exclusivity

Some jurisdictions allow for an adverse possession claim to continue on through different squatters as long as the occupation is continuous. That is not the case in Rhode Island. It must be the same individual or household maintaining the adverse possession claim over the minimum 10 year period. If a different individual or household takes over the property, then the adverse possession timing must start over. Rhode Island also requires what is known as a “claim of right.” This means there must be some legitimate reason behind the occupation of the property in the first place. Squatters cannot simply take over an abandoned property and claim it is there own. There must be some sort of claim to that property, real or imagined, that grants them permission to be there.

If there are squatters that do take over an abandoned property, the eviction process in Rhode Island must be utilized to have unwanted individuals removed from the land. If the property was not abandoned, then this may qualify as trespassing. Squatter's rights in Rhode Island have higher requirement levels to meet than other states, which means property owners have a better opportunity to stop an adverse possession claim. If the 10 years elapses, however, the heightened requirements also mean a claim is more likely to go through. Keep this in mind if you own land in this state.


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