The State of Nevada has enacted specific laws dealing with squatters living on property without the owner’s permission. The process is streamlined, allowing the owner to avoid the time and expenses associated with the formal eviction process. Here is an overview of squatter law in Nevada.
Who is a Squatter?
A squatter is someone who occupies an abandoned, unoccupied, or foreclosed property without lawful permission of the owner or landlord. The formal name for “squatters” is unlawful or unauthorized occupant.
A squatter includes an occupant who has forcibly entered property without permission, or someone occupying the property pursuant to a fraudulent lease agreement entered into without the property owner’s knowledge or consent. Squatters can be complete strangers or even neighbors trying to obtain title of land.
Squatters and Adverse Possession Law
Squatters may acquire rights to the property if they can satisfy the elements of an adverse possession claim. There are six distinct legal requirements in Nevada that the squatter must meet before they can make an adverse possession claim. The occupation of the property must be:
Hostile – without permission and against the right of the true owner.
Actual – exercising control over the real property.
Open & Notorious – using the property as the owner would and not hiding his/her occupancy.
Exclusive – in the possession of the individual occupying the real property alone.
Continuous – staying on the property for 5 years.
In addition, the squatter must pay property taxes for five years. If all these requirements exist, the squatters have grounds to file an adverse possession claim in Nevada. When squatters claim adverse possession, they can gain legal ownership of the property. If successful, the squatter has lawful permission to remain on the property and is no longer a criminal trespasser.
Removal of a Squatter
Nevada has enacted laws to facilitate the removal of squatters from property. There are two ways for an owner to remove an unauthorized or unlawful occupant.
The first is by retaking the property following the squatter’s arrest. This happens when the unlawful occupant is arrested for housebreaking or unlawful occupancy and the property is completely vacant. The owner can change the locks and retake possession of the property. The owner posts a notice on the property, then files that notice and a statement with the court within 24 hours of posting. This notice must be posted for 21 days to give the squatter time to take legal action if they feel it is necessary. They can file a Verified Complaint for Reentry, after which the court will schedule a trial to decide whether the occupant is a squatter or lawful resident.
The second way an owner can remove an alleged squatter is through the civil removal process. This procedure begins with the owner serving the occupant with a 4-day Notice to Surrender. When the occupant receives the notice, the occupant might choose to leave the property within the 4 days, or file an affidavit with the court to dispute the notice and/or ask for more time to move out. If the occupant files an affidavit/answer with a legal defense, the court will schedule a hearing to decide whether an order for removal should be issued.
Personal Property Left Behind by a Squatter
If the squatter leaves personal property behind after leaving, the landowner must store the property for 14 days. The squatter is responsible for paying all fees associated with moving, inventorying, and storing the property. If it hasn’t been reclaimed within 14 days, the owner can sell or otherwise dispose of it.
Please contact Lynx Legal at 888-441-2355 or email@example.com with any questions regarding the above, or if you are ready to start a case. Our experienced professionals are standing by to assist in any way we can.