Squatters Rights in Kentucky: Everything you need to know
Who’s considered a squatter in Kentucky? The legal definition of squatting varies depending on where you live. In some states, such as California, squatters are defined as people who move into an abandoned property and begin living there without permission. In other states, such as Kentucky and Florida, squatters are defined as people who move into a residence without the owner’s permission but intend to live there permanently or sell the property later. In both cases, squatters are considered trespassers. Keep reading to find out some squatters rights in Kentucky.
Adverse possession laws in Kentucky
- Hostile possession
It is a legal process that allows squatters to gain title over abandoned land. The adverse possession laws allow squatters to claim ownership of property left for at least 20 years. This means that if you move onto someone else’s property, live there for 20 years without permission, and pay taxes on it during those two decades; you can claim it as your own through adverse possession laws.
- Active possession
This is the opposite of passive possession. Active possession means that you are occupying the property regularly. For example, if you move onto someone else’s land and live there for 20 years without interruption, this could qualify as active possession under adverse possession laws in Kentucky.
- Exclusive possession
This legal concept allows a person to gain ownership of real property by occupying it for an extended period. In Kentucky, adverse possession laws apply only to land and improvements to land, not personal property such as furniture or tools.
- Continuous possession
It means that you have to be physically present on the property for a certain amount of time, and during that time, you must act as if you own the property. The squatter must have had possession of the property continuously for five years.
How to Protect Yourself From Squatters in Kentucky
Squatters in Kentucky are a problem that many homeowners face. At best, you will be forced to evict them and pay their legal fees. At worst, they may damage your property or even cause an accident if they stay there too long.
- Visit often: When you’re not at home, ensure someone knows where you are and when you expect to return. You can also set up a security camera outside your home. The longer squatters access your property, the more permanent their presence becomes.
- Install locks and alarms: The most important thing you can do is to install locks on your doors and windows. Locks are not only a deterrent but also make it harder for squatters to gain access to your property. Additionally, consider installing alarms alert law enforcement when someone enters or leaves your dream home without authorization.
- Post “no trespassing” signs on the property: This will let anyone who comes onto your property know they are not welcome and should leave.
- Pay property taxes promptly: If you pay your property taxes on time every year, it will be nearly impossible for squatters to claim ownership of your home. If you’re having trouble paying your taxes, contact the local tax assessor’s office to see if they have any programs to help people with low incomes pay their property tax bills.
How to Evict a Squatter
It’s essential for every property owner or landlord to know Kentucky squatter’s rights law in case they are illegally occupying your vacant property. Knowing squatters rights in Kentucky will help you determine the right course of action you can take to reclaim your property.
Notify the Police
If you have reason to believe that the squatter is a danger to your property or other building tenants, report it to the police. This will help ensure that he doesn’t harm you while you wait for an eviction notice.
Serve a Formal Eviction Notice
If you’re lucky, the squatter will leave on their own accord. However, if they don’t, you may have to go through the formal eviction process. Before serving a legal eviction notice, ensure you’ve done everything possible to get rid of this person.
File an Eviction Lawsuit
If you have attempted to evict a squatter multiple times and still refuse to leave, it may be time to file an eviction lawsuit. The process of filing an eviction lawsuit is similar to how you would evict a tenant but with some extra paperwork. Depending on the state that you live in and the circumstances surrounding your case, it may take anywhere from 6 months up to a year for your eviction lawsuit to go through the courts.