Squatter’s Rights: What You Need to Know

October 17, 2023

I’m Jonathan, joined by Krista, and today we’re addressing a critical issue for landlords and homeowners alike: squatting. Squatting, or adverse possession, is a legal phenomenon where individuals occupy an unoccupied property, potentially leading to ownership under specific conditions.

Understanding Squatting

Squatting starts with an empty property and can range from illicit activities to simply living unnoticed. It becomes particularly concerning when squatters fulfill state-specific requirements that could allow them to claim ownership through adverse possession.

State Laws and Time Requirements

Adverse possession laws vary significantly by state. For example, in Colorado, a squatter must occupy a property for 18 years uninterrupted to claim ownership. This long-term requirement highlights the importance of diligence from property owners.

Preventive Measures for Property Owners

To prevent squatting, regular inspections are crucial, especially for unoccupied properties. Ensuring the property appears occupied, maintaining utilities, and building relationships with neighbors can deter potential squatters.

Addressing Suspected Squatting

If squatting is suspected, it’s essential not to confront the individuals directly. Instead, property owners should work with law enforcement and follow legal procedures to resolve the situation safely and lawfully.

Utilizing Technology and Software

Home automation and security cameras can be effective tools in monitoring properties. Additionally, platforms like TurboTenant help landlords quickly fill vacancies with vetted tenants, reducing the risk of squatting.

Squatting on Vacant Land

Adverse possession can also apply to vacant land. Property owners should secure vacant lots with fencing, signage, and regular monitoring to prevent unauthorized occupancy.


While squatting poses a significant risk to property owners, understanding the laws, maintaining vigilance, and utilizing available tools can greatly reduce the likelihood of unauthorized occupancy. Regular property checks and strong community relationships are key to protecting your investment.

Video Transcript


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