Overview of Missouri Adverse Possession Laws
In Missouri, as in other states, an individual who openly inhabits an otherwise neglected piece of property for a certain period of time may legally obtain title. This is called "adverse possession" and it's essentially a loophole in the law, closely related to trespassing. Basically, once the statute of limitations has run out, the legitimate property owner loses his or her right to force the "squatter" off of the property. In fact, adverse possession is often referred to as "squatter's rights."
There are some specific requirements, however, that make it relatively difficult for someone to claim another's property. While it is done without formal permission, the occupation must be open and obvious to any onlookers. Missouri law requires at least 10 years of continuous occupation before someone may claim a parcel of property.
The basic parameters of Missouri's adverse possession law are detailed in the following table, followed by additional general information and links to related resources. See Adverse Possession: Continuous Trespassers' Rights to learn more.
|Code Section||516.010, et seq.|
|Time Period Required for Occupation||10 yrs.-|
|Time for Landowner to Challenge/Effect of Landowner's Disability||After disability lifted: 3 yrs., max. 21 yrs.|
|Payment of Taxes||-|
|Title from Tax Assessor||-|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri land use and zoning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
What are the Basic Requirements for Claiming Adverse Possession?
While it is possible to obtain title for property one hasn't legally acquired, there are some fairly specific requirements. In practical terms, these laws are typically invoked when property lines are misdrawn or when there is a discrepancy among neighbors. States generally consider the following six requirements:
Research the Law
Missouri Adverse Possession Laws: Related Resources
Get Professional Legal Help with Your Adverse Possession Claim
Whether you're filing a claim for adverse possession or answering such a claim to your property, these issues tend to be quite complex. If you find yourself involved in one of these processes, your best bet is to contact a local real estate attorney, who can apply the law to your unique circumstances.
Contact a qualified attorney.