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Everything You Need to Know About Squatter Rights and How to Protect Your Property

How Are Squatters Legal?

Squatters—those folks who move into empty properties without the owner’s say-so—can really throw a wrench into a property owner’s plans. Whether you’re a homeowner or a landlord, it’s crucial to understand how are squatters legal, squatter rights, adverse possession laws, and the legal steps needed to handle these unexpected guests.

When someone decides to occupy a property without permission, it not only poses a challenge but also raises questions about legal rights and responsibilities. What rights do squatters actually have? How does adverse possession come into play? And what steps can landlords take to protect their investments? In this guide, Cash For Michigan Houses breaks down all you need to know about squatter claims and how to safeguard your property from these uninvited residents.

What Are Squatter Rights?

A squatter is an individual who occupies the property of a landlord without legal permission from the owner. The squatter may take possession of the property, vacant buildings, abandoned homes, or even unused land. Contrary to common belief, squatters can include individuals who initially had permission to be on the property but have overstayed their welcome after their lease or agreement has ended. Such individuals are often referred to as Holdover tenants.

Do Squatters Have Rights?

Squatters do have some legal rights, although they vary depending on the jurisdiction. One of the most notable concepts related to squatter rights is adverse possession. Adverse possession claim allows individuals to claim legal ownership of the property if they openly live on the property for a specified period and meet certain requirements, such as paying property taxes.

Understanding Adverse Possession Claim and Its Implications

Adverse possession is a legal doctrine that allows a person to claim ownership of a property without the owner’s consent. To succeed in an adverse claim, the squatter must meet specific criteria, including property management and continuous and open occupation of the property for a set period, typically ranging from 5 to 20 years, depending on the jurisdiction.

How does adverse possession impact property owners?

Adverse possession can significantly impact landlords, as it can result in the loss of legal ownership rights if the squatter successfully meets all the requirements. Landlords must be vigilant in monitoring their properties and taking action to prevent adverse right claims by squatters and holdover tenants.

Legal Right of a Property Owner to Protect Your Property

Landlords have various legal actions when it comes to evicting a squatter or tenant. These rights include the ability to evict squatters through legal means, such as obtaining a court order for their removal.

Landlords have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to protect their properties from squatters. This may include regular inspections, securing vacant properties, and promptly removing squatters and any unauthorized occupants.

How To Get Rid of Squatters Who Claim Adverse Possession

Dealing with squatters and illegal tenants in Michigan requires a solid understanding of state laws and legal procedures. Michigan, like many other states, has specific statutes regarding squatters legal claims and property recovery processes. If squatters are attempting to establish a legal adverse claim on your property, here’s what you need to know:

Michigan Adverse Possession Laws

In Michigan, squatter legal claims are governed by statutory laws and judicial interpretations. According to Michigan law, adverse possession can be claimed if the occupant openly possesses the property for at least a 15 legal term. However, several conditions must be met, including continuous and uninterrupted possession, exclusive use of the property, and payment of property taxes. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements outlined in Michigan’s statutes to assess whether squatters on your property meet the criteria for adverse title claims.

Initiating Eviction Proceedings

If squatters on your property are attempting to claim adverse possession, it’s crucial to swiftly initiate legal proceedings to protect your ownership rights. In Michigan, land owners can initiate eviction proceedings against squatters through the court system. This typically involves filing a complaint in the appropriate district court and serving the squatters with a summons and complaint.

Serving Notice to Quit

Before filing an eviction lawsuit, Michigan law requires landlords to serve squatters and illegal tenants with a “Notice to Quit.” This notice informs the squatters that they must vacate the property within a specified period, typically 7 to 30 days, depending on the circumstances. If the squatters fail to comply with the notice, the land owner can proceed with the eviction process through the courts.

Obtaining a Court Order for Eviction

If squatters refuse to vacate the property after receiving a Notice to Quit, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit in the district court where the property is located. The court will schedule a hearing to determine whether the eviction is warranted based on the evidence presented. If the court rules in favor of the legal title owner, it will issue a judgment for possession, allowing law enforcement to remove the squatters from the property.

Seeking Legal Assistance

Navigating the adverse right claims can be complex and challenging. Landlords in Michigan are encouraged to seek legal assistance from experienced real estate attorneys familiar with state laws and squatter ejection procedures. An attorney can provide guidance, represent the title owner in court proceedings, and help protect their rights and interests.

How can property owners expedite the process of evicting squatters in Michigan?

Property owners can expedite the eviction process by ensuring they have strong evidence of the squatter’s unauthorized occupation, following all legal requirements for eviction proceedings, and seeking legal assistance if needed.

Squatting Laws & Squatters Rights In Michigan

In Michigan, squatting, or unauthorized occupancy, falls under trespassing laws. According to Michigan Compiled Laws Section 750.552, trespassing on private property without the owner’s permission constitutes a misdemeanor offense punishable by fines or imprisonment. However, squatters may attempt to establish adverse right claims under Michigan’s laws.

Michigan’s adverse possession statute, MCL 600.5801 et seq., allows individuals to claim legal ownership of property if they openly occupy it for 15 years or more, pay property taxes, and meet other specific requirements. Land owners have rights under MCL 600.2918 to take legal action to recover possession of their property if someone else is unlawfully occupying it. They may serve a Notice to Quit, initiate squatter removal proceedings, and obtain a court order for ejection under MCL 600.5720.

How can property owners prevent squatters & holdover tenants?

Legal title holders in California can protect their properties from squatters by taking proactive measures, such as securing vacant properties, monitoring for unauthorized occupants, and seeking legal advice if squatters are discovered.


Squatters pose a significant challenge for property owners and landlords, but understanding their rights and legal processes for dealing with them is essential. By familiarizing yourself with squatter rights, adverse possession laws, and eviction procedures, you can better protect your estate and avoid potential legal disputes. Remember to stay proactive, seek legal advice when needed, and take prompt action to address any unauthorized occupants on your property.

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