What Are Squatters Rights in Texas

Squatters might be an inconvenience to landlords and property owners, but they do have rights that cannot be violated. The first thing that anyone should do if they discover squatters on their property is to contact the police. If your home is actively lived in, then this may be considered a break-in and the squatters will be removed. If there isn't any active living on the property and the squatters have set up utility accounts, you may need to take civil action instead. If your property is in Texas, however, you have an advantage when it comes to handling squatters. What are squatter's rights in Texas? Let's take a look.

It Takes 30 Years of Adverse Possession For Success

The conditions for squatters to be able to claim adverse possession are very difficult to achieve. The squatters must be living on the property continuously and without permission. They must also prove that they are behaving as the property owner, perform maintenance on the property, and reside their alone [or with their household]. Texas requires these conditions to be met for 30 years for adverse possession to occur. Texas also requires that all elements of adverse possession be in place for a deed to be drawn up in the squatter's name. Because of the 30 year minimum requirement of living on a property, there are a lot of things that can happen. Witnesses to the adverse possession may move away or pass away. The legal owner of a property might be able to prove that they granted the squatters the legal permission to live on the property at any time during this 30 year period. If there is just one missing element to an adverse possession case, it will be dismissed. Only if all elements are in place and the squatters have been there for 30 years without permission will an adverse possession claim be considered successful. At that point, the property deed will be treated as if cash or other valuable goods were exchanged for the it. If there is any outstanding debt or liens on the property, they become the responsibility of the previous property owner, not the squatter.

What About the Affidavit Method of Adverse Possession?

Texas has a century old law that has a potential loophole in it regarding adverse possession. It was used in 2011 to allow Kenneth Robinson to move into a foreclosed home that was worth $340k. The loophole was deemed to be invalid, however, and Robinson was given an order to move out of the home. Robinson's efforts inspired others to try moving into homes that weren't theirs as well. The only problem was that 8 people actually moved into homes that were actively occupied. This caused charges of burglary to be filed against them and some defendants received sentences that included fines up to $10,000. Texas passed legislation in 2013 that permanently closed this loophole. The good news for property owners in Texas is that they have plenty of time to deal with squatters that might be on their land. The bad news is that if that property is being used for rental income, it means money is being lost every day. By knowing the rights of squatters in Texas, however, every property owner can take the actions that are necessary to claim their property back.

Posted on Jan 29, 2015


Most Important Landlord Tenant Laws in Texas

When it comes to having a tenant for the first time, it can be pretty daunting because you are going to be the corresponding landlord and a new relationship will emerge, which will need time to grow... More

The Landlord Tenant Board: What it is and When it is Needed

Many times, there are issues between a landlord and a tenant that need to be resolved but are failed to do so, because both parties have gone too far with their actions, and have retaliated in the... More

The Landlord Tenant Laws in California

The landlord and tenant laws in California are literally the same as they are in any other state. These laws, rules and regulations are put into practice because they uphold an order, a discipline,... More

How to Write an Eviction Notice

When it comes to a landlord wanting to evict their tenant, there are specific steps that need to be followed before the process of eviction can start. It is not anymore that the landlord can simply... More

Understanding the Landlord Tenant Laws in Illinois

People are aware that there are different rulings in each state with reference to the landlord/tenant laws. The state of Illinois also has a set of laws. These rules and regulations are basically... More

How to Create a Residential Lease Agreement

Where there is a landlord, there will also be a tenant, and it is no surprise that these two parties can only work together once there is some sort of agreement, contract or a binding deal in place.... More

The Best Sites for Rental and Lease Agreement Templates

Many landlords find it difficult to write and draft a lease agreement. Since every State has its own general template, it can also be difficult to make sure your lease agreement meets all the criteria... More

The Landlord Tenant Act: What Landlords Need to Know

All landlords know that before they can formally become a landlord there are a lot of things they need to understand. Landlords and tenants cannot act as such without any legal bodies involved. That... More

What is the Eviction Process for a Landlord

When it comes to evicting a rowdy tenant from your apartment, it can be a little overwhelming, because you know that there is legal recourse and you cannot just boot out your tenant. There is a... More

Landlord Obligations: The Responsibilities of a Landlord

Becoming a landlord is a major deal and no one can simply get up and think, “well, yes I think I should be a landlord and rent out my flat.” If you are thinking that you would like to be a landlord,... More