KENTUCKY (FOX 56) — Does Kentucky have squatter’s rights? More importantly, what exactly are squatters and squatter’s rights?

Squatting is defined as the act of a person moving into an abandoned or vacant property without speaking to the property owner first, according to iPropertyManagement.

The kicker is, it’s legal as long as the property owner has not expressed the individuals are not welcome on the property.

In order to obtain adverse possession of a property in Kentucky, squatters must live on the property for 15 years.

Adverse possession in Kentucky is a legal principle that allows an individual to take over possession of another person’s property by behaving as if it is their own. Adverse possession was established by the Homestead Act of 1862, according to O’Bryan Law Offices.

There are five requirements to meet in the U.S. before they are eligible to make an adverse possession claim. Squatters must occupy a property that is:

  1. Hostile: Without permission and against the right of the property owner
  2. Actual: Exercising control over the real property
  3. Open and notorious: Treating the property like an owner would and not attempting to hide their occupancy.
  4. Exclusive: Possession of the real property alone
  5. Continuous: Remaining on the property for a time period of 15 years

Kentucky also has a definiteness clause that would require squatters to have put up a fence or distinct boundary of some kind around the property.

In order to get rid of squatters, the owner of the property is required to file a formal eviction with the court.

To protect yourself from squatters, iProperty Management encourages property owners to:

  • Inspect the property regularly
  • Make sure that the property is secured by blocking entrances, locking all doors, and closing all windows(block all entrances, close all windows, and lock all doors)
  • Pay property taxes promptly
  • Put up “No Trespassing” signs on the property, especially on unoccupied properties
  • Serve written notice to squatters promptly after discovering them
  • Offer to rent the property to the squatters
  • Call the sheriff, not the local police, to remove squatters from the property if they do not leave
  • Hire a lawyer since you might have to file a lawsuit to remove the squatter from the property