Adverse possession, commonly known as squatters rights, is recognized under the revised statutes of the state of Missouri. A person may lose title to his land if a trespasser occupies or makes use of it, with or without the intent to claim ownership, for a period of 10 years. A trespasser must satisfy five legal elements in order to acquire land via squatters rights.
Open and Notorious Use
A squatter has generally satisfied the open and notorious use qualification under the law if his occupancy, use or improvements to a piece of property are viewable by the rightful owner.
A squatter must occupy or use a piece of land for a period of at least 10 years, with no legal action having been brought against him, before he can attempt to claim title. In some cases, use need not be continuous or consistent. Two squatters could occupy a piece of land for five years each and legally combine their time.
The squatter must use the land in similar fashion to land located in the general vicinity. A squatter can use another person's land for a home or for farming, as long as there are other homes or farms nearby.
A squatter can attempt to claim title via the "exclusive use" clause if the rightful owner of the land has not sought legal recourse and has not permitted any other person to use his property.
In order to prove "hostile use" of the land, the rightful owner of the land must not have granted the squatter permission to use it. Granting permission will often void the "hostile use" requirement and prevent the squatter from gaining title.
Jack Hugo has written professionally since 1984 for publications such as "Playboy," "Missouri Life" and "USA Today." He is the former owner of five restaurants, and the author of two travel guides published nationally by WW Norton. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Missouri-Columbia.