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They simply cannot claim squatter's rights (adverse possession is the legal term) unless they have already been utilizing that land for ten years. So, unless this is true, they cannot claim ownership.
But even if it has been for 10+ years, the current owner has to then prove the following in Court:
- There must be a “hostile” claim: the trespasser must either
- make an honest mistake (like relying on an incorrect deed);
- merely occupy the land (with or without knowledge that it is private property); or
- be aware of his or her trespassing;
- There must be actual possession: the trespasser must be physically present on the land, treating it as his or her own;
- There must be open and notorious possession: the act of trespassing cannot be secret; and
- There must be exclusive and continuous possession: the trespasser cannot share possession with others, and must be in possession of the land for an uninterrupted period of time.
And, this is not automatic, meaning THEY have to file this in court, and PROVE each element above.
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