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Gregory Boop
Gregory Boop, Lawyer (JD)
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What are the squatters rights in Dayton, Ohio

Resolved Question:

What are the squatter''s rights in Dayton, Ohio? We have property that our family is living in rent free. Is this property in danger of being legally obtained by them through squatter''s rights?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Gregory Boop replied 9 years ago.

There are no squatter's rights in Ohio beyond the adverse possession law ORC 2305.04 and the need to file a forcible entry and detainer action to remove them.

The statute allows for an action to recover real estate after 21 years (or, 10 years after the removal of a disability). Now, adverse possession requires:

  1. Actual possession.
  2. Open and notorious possession.
  3. Hostile possession.
  4. Continuous possession.
They have actual possession - they live there. They have open possession - you know they are there. It is not hostile - you are allowing them to be there. I don't know how continuous it is, but they must be there continuously for 21 years to have a claim.

So, there is no claim because it is not hostile possession. If this is a dispute where they are claiming ownership and you just are letting it go, then after 21 years they will have a claim.

But, this is the least concern you have. You should have a written lease between the parties spelling out responsibility. Who buys insurance, pays utilities, taxes, upkeep and assessments? If they are injured in a fire, who is responsible? The lease can be for say $1 per month rent. But, the obligations, in the absence of a writing are all yours as owner. They don't pay gas bill and pipes break - your responsibility. If you have insurance on the house make absolutely sure you have tenant's coverage and that the insurer knows you are not in possession otherwise there may be no coverage. These are greater concerns. You should have an Ohio attorney draft a lease and have a written record of the precise agreement between the parties.
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