Understanding Squatters’ Rights in Nashville: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Squatters’ Rights in Nashville: A Comprehensive Guide

As a rental property owner, you’ve probably heard your fair share of squatting horror stories. 

But what exactly is squatting? And what are squatters’ rights in Nashville?

In this article, we’ll explore the legal definition of squatting, outline how squatters' rights work, and discuss ways to protect your property from squatters.

Let’s dive in!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available in this blog are for general informational purposes only.

Defining Squatters’ Rights

Squatters' rights refer to the legal rights and protections afforded to individuals who occupy and possess a property without the owner's permission. Typically, these rights arise when a squatter demonstrates an extended period of occupancy or adverse possession of a property.

The Legal Basis for Squatters’ Rights

The legal foundation for squatters' rights can be traced back to the concept of adverse possession, which has its roots in common law. Adverse possession allows individuals to obtain legal ownership of property by openly occupying and possessing it for a specified period, often referred to as the "statutory period."

In Tennessee, the statutory period for adverse possession is between 7 and 20 years, which means the squatter must openly and notoriously occupy a property for the specified period before claiming legal ownership through adverse possession.

Squatters’ Rights in Tennessee Law

In Tennessee, in addition to satisfying the statutory period, the squatter must demonstrate possession of the property that is actual, open, exclusive, continuous, and notorious. They must also prove that their possession is hostile to the interests of the property owner.

Because adverse possession laws vary from state to state, it's crucial to consult the specific regulations of Tennessee.

And hey, we’re property managers, not lawyers! Be sure to speak with a Nashville-based real estate attorney to confirm these requirements and determine whether they apply to your situation.

The Rights and Limitations of Squatters

While squatters' rights in Nashville may afford legal protections to squatters, there are inherent limitations and responsibilities that come with these rights.

What Squatters Can and Can't Do

Squatters' rights in Nashville provide individuals with a legal basis for possession, but they do not grant ownership of the property. Squatters have the right to occupy and possess the property openly, but they must respect the legal rights of the property owner.

Squatters cannot sell or transfer the property. They are also not entitled to make permanent alterations or improvements without the permission of the property owner. Understanding these limitations is crucial to avoid legal complications or disputes.

Legal Protections for Squatters

Despite the limitations, squatters in Nashville are afforded certain legal protections. For example, they cannot be evicted without due process or without the property owner obtaining a court order. Squatters have the right to present their case and demonstrate their right to remain in the property.

Furthermore, squatters have legal protections against self-help eviction methods, such as changing locks or removing their personal belongings from the property without proper legal procedures. These safeguards ensure that squatters are treated fairly and their rights are respected.

local property management company may be able to assist with a lawful eviction.

Property Owners and Squatters’ Rights in Nashville

For property owners, squatters' rights in Nashville can pose both challenges and concerns. 

How Property Owners Can Challenge Squatters Rights

If property owners in Nashville discover that squatters have occupied their property, they have legal recourse to challenge the establishment of squatters' rights. Property owners can take legal action to remove squatters by initiating eviction procedures.

Property owners need to consult a legal professional to understand the specific procedures and requirements for eviction in Tennessee to ensure their actions are legally valid and effective.

Preventative Measures for Property Owners

To prevent the establishment of squatters' rights, property owners can take proactive measures. Regularly inspecting and maintaining properties, securing vacant structures, and promptly addressing any unauthorized occupancies can assist property owners in safeguarding their interests.

If you live out-of-state, or if you’re just not up to the task, a property management company can do this on your behalf

Property owners should also be proactive in addressing any potential legal issues, such as unpaid property taxes or contractual disputes, which may attract squatters. By actively managing their properties, property owners can minimize the risk of squatting and protect their rights more effectively.

Final Thoughts: Squatters’ Rights in Nashville

In conclusion, understanding squatters' rights in Nashville is critical for rental property owners. By understanding adverse possession, the rights and protections for squatters, and the actions property owners can take to prevent and evict squatters, all parties involved can navigate this complex issue more effectively. Remaining vigilant, conducting regular property inspections, and seeking legal guidance when needed will help you maintain the security and integrity of your property.

Looking for a Property Management Company in Nashville?

Need help with squatters, marketing, maintenance, and more? Evernest Nashville is here to help! Contact our local team to get started today.