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Missouri Squatters Rights

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#1 GyMadDogUSMC


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Posted 26 March 2010 - 06:39 PM

We have lived in this house in Cape Fair (Stone County) Missouri since July 2000.  8+ years ago our friend bought 7 vacant lots and a house (investment/rental property) in this sub-division, including one 2.5 acre lot next to ours, while remaining in CA.  When we bought the house and 2.5 acres in 2000, (from a bank foreclosure 2.5 years earlier on the entire sub-division), it had sat vacant for 3 years already.  The house was the original, first structure on a 5 acre lot, meant to be the first of a group of homes on 5 acre lots to surround a golf course, but when the bank foreclosed, it split all the lots to 2.5 acres each and put them on the market.  That split put our propane tank on the adjoining lot by 10 feet.  Our friend that had bought the lot next to us told us to feel free to build a carport & storage shed in the rear corner of his lot, directly adjacent to our home, and to build a garage if we wanted, because he was never going to sell the land.  In return we would maintain and mow his other lots, and assist with the rental (and eventual sale) of the rental house.  He told us he would 'give' us the property as a wedding present (didn't happen).  Then later told us he would give us the property as a return for $10K we invested with him, which didn't work out, still didn't happen.  Then I asked for a power of attorney for the ground under the structures (approximately 1/10 acre), so we could get a building permit to build a garage.  He said he would send it, but after three requests, I quit asking and he never sent it.  We offered to buy the property, but he told us it was not necessary as he would never sell it and we could use it for as long as we lived or lived here, which ever came first.  When the yearly receipt came for his property taxes (he uses our mailing address for his property here), before we sent it on to him, we noticed that he had deeded it to his daughter upon his death (T.O.D.).  She's a great kid, but she will NEVER move here, or build on the lot.  He has never asked for rent.  He has never asked us to move our carport & shed off his property.  I have maintained and mowed this property for 8+ years.  In the event that he should pass and his daughter wants to sell the lot, can we claim 'Squatters Rights' for just the property we are currently using for our carport & shed?  Do we have standing?  I do not want to force the issue.  But, in the event of his passing and her wanting to sell, I would like to know what my options are for small portion of the land we have already improved on (with structures), as I am sure we won't be able to afford to buy the entire lot.  We are both 100% disabled, living on fixed income from the V.A. and S.S.D.I., and this property has increased threefold in value since he bought it.  I look forward to your response.  Thank You for your time and consideration in this matter.

#2 Tax_Counsel


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Posted 26 March 2010 - 10:47 PM

What most people think of when they use the term "squatter's rights" is what the law calls adverse possession. In general, under adverse possession, a use of the property of another contrary to his rights as if it were your own can result in the property becoming yours if the use is "continuous, open, and notorious" for the period of time that the state law has for the true owner to assert his rights. In Missouri, that time period is 10 years. The underlined portion is important, however—if you are using the property with his permission, then you are not using it contrary to his rights and you don't have the beginnings of an adverse possession claim.

You might want to see a local real estate attorney, however, as there may be other approaches here to secure rights to own or use the property

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