What's that land law?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by madmarchie, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. madmarchie

    madmarchie Active Member

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    I know there is a specific term for the law where a person uses another person's land with there knowledge but not the owner's consent. So like if I make a permanent residence on land that someone else owns and this person knows about it and doesn't approve of it but they never actually enforce their wish for me to move then the land becomes mine by default since I have been using it.

    My 450 sq ft house is almost done. I found out it is not being leased any more by the people I work for. I am going to be squatting. The land is up for sale but it is outside Austin Texas near encroaching suburbs so the price is sky high (3.5 mill) But the land has been on the market since this huge construction company aquired it some 5 years ago and it's not selling so well. It is between busy industrial railroad tracks and a creek.

    I think the law I am looking for states the squatter must be there some 15yrs. I think the land WILL sell in that amount of time so I don't think I be able to make the law work in my favor. Also, this developer is so huge I'd never win anyway.

    I thought rather than keeping quiet about my place I could jump in head first and get other people involved. In cooperation with my employers at the horse farm on the 80acres next door we could improve the trails and make camp sites. I could get people out to my farm stand and to "pick your own pumkin" next fall. Once things were cleared and the land was maintained I would love to have events of some sort centered around seasons, or holidays or other themes. I could host workshops.

    I don't want to see this beautiful land become a "high density" development! (realtor's words exactly) If I gathered support for this land in the community maybe "they" couldn't take it away so easily?

    - Megan
     
  2. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    I think the law you are talking about is "adverse possession" never could spell possession right! anyway, i agree that you cannot go against a huge land company but you might as well enjoy it and not put too much money into it till they take it from you. does the big land company know that you are there?
     

  3. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    If you don't have a written agreement of some kind that would allow you to stay and lease the land, you are SOL. I've never heard of a case that would allow a squatter to keep the house like this. Successful acquisition of land rights through adverse possession or a prescriptive easement usually entails access or erroneous fence lines, not a house.
     
  4. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

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    Isn't that sorta like stealing someone else's property? :no:

    I also think that you should enjoy it while you can as a large company will not want the legal liability of you living on their land very long.
    Insurance and lawyers ya knoe. :worship:
     
  5. madmarchie

    madmarchie Active Member

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    Yeah folks I know...sigh...

    Siryet, it's not stealing. I described how that law works. It's not out and out taking the land by force or secretively.

    It's upsetting to think that this company has millions and millions and there's ultimately trillions of dollars in the world and I can work my butt off and not get ahead when many people who do have money have gotten it through greedy, unethical, dishonest means.

    Ah well, no need to get too worked up. The plan is to enjoy it while it lasts.

    Thanks for listening to my pipe dream.
     
  6. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I think adverse possesion is the law you are looking for. Any time that you have spent paying rent to live on or use the land does not count towards adverse possesion.

    Out here, a bum lived in a remote wooded area for a while. Eventually, the landowner realized he was there. He made one phone call, and the cops came and evicted him. Then, they bulldozed his house.

    Why don't you make an offer on the land instead? If you buy the land, the house will come with it automatically. Otherwise, you would spend many years living there while wondering if the house will still be there when you come back.

    For that matter, the landowner could claim your house as his own, and that would not be fair to you.
     
  7. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Oh, yes, I almost forgot. Don't try for the entire thing, of course!

    If it has not sold as one piece, they might consider subdividing it. Try for a bit of it.
     
  8. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    property rights are one of the cornerstones of our country's heritage -

    coveting another's property is addressed in references other than law books -

    seeking to improve one's position by taking over the property of another, even if some obscure law encourages this, does not seem to be the moral approach -

    most property owners successful history of land acquisition can be traced directly to hard AND SMART work -

    if you are working really hard, and are still spinning your wheels, its up to you to determine and implement a change in course - don't lay it off on others who seem to have more -

    good luck -
     
  9. spring77

    spring77 Well-Known Member

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    In Texas the person occupying the land is recognized as owner through adverse possession unless the "hostile claim of another person", who is not in possession of the land, is brought in court (a) within 3 years if the occupant’s claim is based on having "color of title," or (b) within 5 years if the occupant’s claim is based on using the land, paying taxes on the land, and having a registered deed to the land that is not a forgery, or (c) within 10 years if the occupant’s claim is based on use of the land only.
     
  10. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    30 days and a notice in the local designated paper after recording it the county / state recorder office and then its yours..... friend has research that might help.... did a radio program on it as well.

    of course you will be facing a few times in court from someone who has abndoned the property [not using it is akin to abandonment] and from winning you can go to allodial title....

    most people fear the lawyers that threaten them so never do the whole process.... but it can be done for someone tenacious. This is not leagal advice.

    William
     
  11. ksredman

    ksredman Well-Known Member

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    why would you build a home on ground that you dont own? .
     
  12. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    This is why we have laws for adverse possesion.

    Suppose someone fences a pasture, but make an honest mistake on the property line. The fence is three feet off. Decades go by, and the land changes hands several times. The origional owners are long since dead and buried.

    Then, the mistake is found on a title search. What is worse, someone built a house which is now too close to the property line. The house is now illegal and the homeowner is getting flack from the government. To make it worse, a buyer has been found for the house and the homeowners title is not free and clear.

    At this point, the law of adverse possesion is used, the house becomes legal,the deed is is clear, and the sale goes through.

    The whole point of adverse possesion is too clear up problems that happened a long time ago, so that people can get on with their lives.

    That being said, every company that has large amounts of land will have lawyers that know about this law, and they will be VERY carefull that no one gets a chance to claim adverse possesion.

    In my personal opinion (and it IS just my opinion), someone will check the property, notice you and either remove you OR charge you rent BEFORE you have a chance to claim adverse possession.
     
  13. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well - you could work hard on something that _is_ yours and have something in life.

    Or, you can try to steal this property, and complain they they have too much & you have not enough.... Which you seem to be ensuring will continue.

    I do not understand how you can wish to build a house on property that is not yours, and expact to simply steal it from the proper owners some day. That makes no sense at all to me.

    Now, I don't understand the part about current employer & lease and all that, and there well could be more to this. But just on the face of it, sounds like you sort of have your life set up _to_ fail here. You might wish to look at the direction you are heading, and try a new & productive path.

    Don't mean anything mean by all that, & I wish you well, & I hope you figure out a legal & moral way to continue on happy. I'd like to hear more about it, don't wish to upset you or push you away.... :)

    It is also called "squatter's rights" in some states.

    --->Paul
     
  14. ksredman

    ksredman Well-Known Member

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    there has to be more to this than you are telling us........who was going to pay the taxes on the home you were building? was you promised this by you former employer? That might be the only out you have....looks like bad judgement by you. im not trying to downgrade you, but if i was to build a home, the first thing i would do was buy a parcel of ground. good luck
     
  15. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Who is paying the taxes on the land?
     
  16. madmarchie

    madmarchie Active Member

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    “Why don't you make an offer on the land instead? If you buy the land, the house will come with it automatically. Otherwise, you would spend many years living there while wondering if the house will still be there when you come back.”

    I would love to but it’s price at 30,000 an acre! 30 x 30,000 = 900,000 I have 9,000 in savings and I KNOW I can’t get financing. As silly as this sounds I really don’t want to get a loan from a bank. If I stick to my guns on this I might be landless forever. Old fashioned farming and/or market gardening is not going to pay the bank loan. A bank could pull the rug out from under me with foreclosure.

    If I was to go for adverse possession I wouldn’t take my eyes off the property and would have to forego or postpone plans to go do some other things I’ve wanted to do.

    “most property owners successful history of land acquisition can be traced directly to hard AND SMART work -”

    Yes, this is true in some cases. However this is not an real individual who’s property I am trying to usurp. This land is held by a corporation who thinks the land would be best made into a subdivision. If the head of the company spoke with me frankly and said “Ya know, I built this business from the ground up and I have been working hard ever since blah blah to make this the company grow and I still go in everyday and do the best I can to manage this company. That 30 acres is important to the future of my business” I would bow out graciously. On the other hand if the business man says “I inherited this company from my father. He built it. I let the peons do the actual work and I spend my time playing golf on weekdays and smoking cigars at the men’s club. That 30 acres is a drop in the bucket to me really but it’s mine nonetheless and it means money--and well, you know, money is the bottom line so I’m not even going to give you a generous deal on the purchase price”. I spoke with a friend who is a lawyer and he informed the latter is the more accurate picture of the man who owns this property. Now you tell me if cutting down 100 year old trees for the sake of greed is unethical in certain books.

    “In Texas the person occupying the land is recognized as owner through adverse possession unless the "hostile claim of another person", who is not in possession of the land, is brought in court (a) within 3 years if the occupant’s claim is based on having "color of title," or (b) within 5 years if the occupant’s claim is based on using the land, paying taxes on the land, and having a registered deed to the land that is not a forgery, or (c) within 10 years if the occupant’s claim is based on use of the land only.”

    “30 days and a notice in the local designated paper after recording it the county / state recorder office and then its yours..... friend has research that might help.... did a radio program on it as well.”

    Which of the above to statements is true? Do you know of a statute I could reference? I looked through the TX legal code and came up with some info on “trespass to try title” but it didn’t seem to give clear time frames on when proceedings needs to be filed to obtain land through AP. How would I pay the taxes without the corporation noticing? What is a “color of title”? I thought that was a warranty deed. Does it differ from a registered deed? How do I get those things without a regular sale?

    “I do not understand how you can wish to build a house on property that is not yours, and expact to simply steal it from the proper owners some day. That makes no sense at all to me.”

    Let me make clear I am not building this house only repairing it. It is also not a full house. It’s one room with a divider and it’s 450 sq ft. It also a historic pre-civil war era house. On the acreage is very old family cemetery which the state erected a real headstone commemorating the original owner who was a military hero of sorts. He was Robert McNutt and a detailed biography of him can be found at the Handbook of Texas Online.

    “Now, I don't understand the part about current employer & lease and all that, and there well could be more to this. But just on the face of it, sounds like you sort of have your life set up _to_ fail here. You might wish to look at the direction you are heading, and try a new & productive path.”

    Wow! I really don’t think I have my WHOLE life set up to fail. I don’t view being adventurous in life as setting my self up failure. That’s a pretty pessimistic attitude. I try not to have expectations and when things don’t work out I just chalk it up and move on with my sense of humor and good will intact.

    Plan A) Stay for roughly a year until my employers decide what they will do about their lease and enjoy the country life while it lasts. Then travle with intern or appretiships hopefully.

    Plan B) If I’m so inclined, I haven’t been kicked off and development isn’t imminent I might sit tight and go for the adverse possession OR just ride it out a little longer even if AP doesn’t work out.

    The lease my employers just signed does not include the “wild” 30 acres this time around only the land they use to run the horses. So technically the land is vacant.

    I appreciate everyone’s feedback--even if some do think I’m “stealing” :(

    - Megan
     
  17. John_in_Houston

    John_in_Houston Well-Known Member

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    Well, good luck with all that...

    Most folks find that the traditional way of saving money for a few years and purchasing property legally is a lot simpler in the long run, though...
     
  18. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If it's a civil war house with a cemetery, you might be able to take it to an historical society and have it saved, with you the care taker.
     
  19. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    What you contemplate is theft. You can dress it up any way you like but it is still theft. The fact that it is owned by a corporation rather than an individual makes no difference as to whether or not it is theft. You count on the fact that there is no face to see as a means of gathering sympathy from others.

    You contemplate doing this not because of a sense of adventure but because you see an opportunity to get something for nothing. Your statements indicate a lack of ethics.

    Would your goal meet the mother test? "Hey mom, I just want to tell you how proud I am that I'm scheming on how to steal someone elses property! I don't think so."

    You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
     
  20. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    amen -
    thou shalt not covet thy neighbors acres -