ADVERSE POSSESSION: squatters get restraining orders against owners

Real Estate Agent with Alain Pinel BRE 01367196

ADVERSE POSSESSION:  squatters lock out and get restraining orders against owners

This is a shocking headline: Colo. Family Tries to Regain Home From Occupiers. The two squatters managed to lock out and even get restraining orders against the legitimate owners.

We don’t run into this very often, but perhaps with the bleak situation of high unemployment, many foreclosures, etc. we’ll see more cases of adverse possession.

Here’s an actual situation ---- My Parents bought a home thru short sale & now there are squatters living there refusing to leave --- as reported in

Would you believe they even have sites that teach people how to be a squatter? And on how to get squatter rights?

What is the legal definition of adverse possession? defines it as “Adverse possession is a principle of real estate law whereby somebody who possesses the land of another for an extended period of time may be able to claim legal title to that land. The exact elements of an adverse possession claim may be different in each state.”

California’s Department of Transportation provides this document that explains our state law pertaining to Adverse Possession and the requirements for obtaining land:

  • Hostile claim . Person knows he is trespassing, or knowingly occupies land that isn’t his. AND/OR: The trespasser must be completely innocent and must have made a good faith mistake, such as relying on an invalid or incorrect deed
  • Actual, open and notorious possession. The trespasser must actually be in possession of the property and treat it as if he were an owner.
  • Exclusive and continuous possession. The trespasser must possess the land exclusively and without interruption for the statutory time period.
  • Payment of property taxes.

So....what does YOUR state law say about adverse possession?


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Randi Brammer
Randi Brammer, Acctg. - Hinckley, MN
Accountant & Tax Preparer

Another group of lazy people trying to get something for nothing!

Jul 17, 2012 04:49 AM #1
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA


Makes my blood boil. I feel so sad for the Colorado couple who was already saddled with financial challenges, and now, this. Hope they get a lot of help from other outraged people.

Jul 17, 2012 04:58 AM #2
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I remember studying about this during my Broker's Licensing courses.  There was a case of a guy who had hundreds of acres and apparently, someone had built a home on it and had been living there for years.  Because it had gone on so long, there was nothing he could do about it.  Apparently the law said that if he had caught it in the beginning, it would've been different.  Makes me terrified at the thought of owning lots of land.  You have to troll it and make sure no one is setting up camp on it.

Jul 17, 2012 07:43 AM #3
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Chris Ann -- We've read of so many cases of squatters gaining rights to vacant land that owners have neglected to monitor. And now, vacant properties. short sales and foreclosures, too?

Jul 17, 2012 08:30 AM #4
Ann Wilkins
Bay Sotheby's International Realty - Oakland, CA
Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA

It seems like the property taxes would be the key element since most squatters aren't going to be paying the property  taxes. 

Jul 17, 2012 09:21 AM #5
Anja Kerstens
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Morgan Hill, CA
GRI, CDPE, CHS, ASP, Selling Silicon Valley Real

Pacita, it is becoming a real problem. It will be a while before we have legislation in place to protect homeowners from these kind of thieves who take more than possessions. They steal homeowners sence of security and protection. It affects their life in many more aspects than the property. I thought that CA already is working or has something in place to protect ownership; trespassers can no longer gain ownership through payment of property taxes. I may be wrong; I may be dreaming.

Jul 19, 2012 02:42 AM #6
Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

Wow, I hadn't seen any articles about this situation, although I am not surprised.  When faced with a diffcult situation, some will do just about anything.

Jul 19, 2012 11:46 AM #7
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Ann --- these people would have to be really wily to figure out how to do this.

Anja --- Thieves! Crooks! That's what these people are. And yes, we need to have protection for owners. At the same time, owners need to keep an eye on their properties.

Kathy --- and I think desperate times are causing these folks to take desperate measures. But isn't it galling that they can even do that?

Jul 19, 2012 12:11 PM #8
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Pacita Dimacali

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