If you’re a landlord, you may be wondering – what are squatter’s rights in Kansas?
A squatter is someone who occupies a property without the owner’s permission. The properties squatters occupy are usually abandoned, foreclosed, or unoccupied. Despite having no title, right, or lease allowing them access to the property, squatters in Kansas have legal rights.
Squatters can claim ownership rights to the property they are residing in after a certain time. Kansas requires squatters making an adverse possession claim to have occupied the property for a minimum of 15 years. (KSS § 60-503).
However, occupying the property for 15 years isn’t the only requirement outlined under Adverse Possession laws. The squatter must meet other requirements as well.
As a Kansas property owner, knowing these requirements will help you prevent a squatter from gaining ownership of your property!
What are Squatter’s Rights in Kansas?
Squatters are unauthorized tenants who reside on a property they don’t own or pay rent to occupy. Despite this fact, you cannot simply remove them from your property once you find out they are living there. Squatters have a right to continue living on the premises until you complete the proper eviction procedures.
Additionally, under Adverse Possession laws, a squatter may be able to obtain legal ownership of the property they are residing in after a certain period of time.
What are the Legal Requirements for Adverse Possession in Kansas?
A squatter must fulfill certain requirements under Adverse Possession laws in order to make an adverse claim on a property. The requirements are as follows.
This requires that the squatter physically occupy the property in person.
They must also treat it as if they are the actual property owner by carrying out maintenance activities and improvement projects.
Open and Notorious Possession
Under this doctrine, the squatter must make their possession obvious. Neighbors, as well as other people in the community, should be able to tell that there is a squatter living on the premises.
Adverse Possession laws also require that the squatter making the claim does not claim possession with other people. They must occupy the property exclusively.
To make an adverse claim, the squatter must also have resided on the property for a continuous period of time. Various states require a certain minimum period of occupation. In Kansas, the minimum period of occupation is 15 years.
This period must be uninterrupted. That is, the squatter must not give up the use of the property at any point and then return to it later to claim it.
In this context, hostile doesn’t mean unfriendly. Rather, it means that by possessing the property, the squatter is infringing on the actual owner’s rights. In Kansas, the term "hostile" has three legal definitions: Simple Occupation, Awareness of Trespassing, and Good Faith Mistake.
Most states tend to use the first definition: Simple Occupation. It defines hostile as the mere occupation of land. Simple Occupation makes the assumption that the trespasser doesn’t know to who the property belongs.
How Can You Prevent a Squatter from Occupying Your Kansas Property?
You can protect yourself from squatters in Kansas by taking any of the following measures.
- Regularly inspect your property.
- Make sure your property is secure. You can do this by closing windows, blocking all entrances, and locking all doors. You can also install a security monitoring system.
- Make tax payments on time.
- Put up "No Trespassing" signs on the property’s perimeter.
- Serve a written notice to the squatter immediately once you notice they are residing on your property.
- Offer the squatter an option to rent the property by signing a lease agreement.
- Hire a property management company to help you rent out your vacant property. A good property manager will help you find a reliable and dependable tenant that will care for the unit and pay rent on time.
How Can You Get Rid of a Squatter in Kansas?
Though there is a lack of specific squatter removal laws, removing a squatter in Kansas can be a rather quick process! Basically, you just need to follow the state’s standard eviction processes to evict the squatter.
The eviction process starts with serving the squatter a written notice. The notice will tell them the reason for the eviction, as well as any actions they must complete within a certain period of time.
The first eviction notice is the 3-Day Notice to Pay. This will require the squatter to pay any due rent within 3 days to avoid getting evicted.
Another notice is the X-Day Notice to Quit. This notice is reserved specifically for tenants who overstay their lease term. The notice period (X) depends on the type of lease in operation.
If the squatter doesn’t leave within the notice period, you can move to court and file an eviction lawsuit. The hearing can be scheduled anywhere between 3 and 14 days after successfully filing the eviction lawsuit. The squatter will then have 10 days to dispute their eviction.
Without any binding contractual agreement, the ruling will most likely be in your favor. You’ll then need to obtain a writ of restitution from the court. The writ will be the final notice for your tenant to leave.
If they don’t vacate the property, the local sheriff will return and forcefully remove the squatter from the premises. The sheriff will do this within 10 days of the issuance of the writ of restitution.
If the squatter leaves any of their personal belongings behind, you’ll need to notify them of this within 15 days. If the squatter doesn’t claim their belongings within 30 days, you’ll have no further responsibility in regards to storage. You may dispose of the property in any manner you see fit.
At SCUDO Real Estate & Property Management, we’re well-versed with Kansas Landlord-Tenant laws. Our comprehensive property management services will also ensure your property is cared for and occupied by a reliable and dependable tenant.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about our tried and tested services!
Disclaimer: This blog isn’t a substitute for legal advice or information provided by a licensed attorney or professional property management company. Laws are subject to change and this post may not be updated at the time of your reading.