Dilemma in Delaware
On Mar. 7, 2023, the New York Post reported a man had lost $100,000 in property due to a squatter's rights claim.
A Delaware woman by the name of Melissa Shrock capitalized on an adverse possession code to seize the ownership rights of Burton Banks' land. Banks, an Atlanta resident, had inherited the parcel from his late father. Nonetheless, a Delaware judge ruled in Schrock's favor. But why?
The judge based the decision on who spent more time on the land.
- Banks had maintained a full-time out-of-state residence. His returns to the property were brief and infrequent.
- Meanwhile, Schrock had maintained a goat pen on the premise for over twenty years and used it as a backyard.
Could It Happen Here?
Banks v. Schrock might seem like a whacky one-off, but it could happen here. In the state of Idaho, it's possible and legal for a squatter to seize your property.
...in no case shall adverse possession be considered established under the provisions of any sections of this code unless it shall be shown that the land has been occupied and claimed for the period of twenty (20) years continuously, and the party or persons, their predecessors and grantors, have paid all the taxes, state, county or municipal, which have been levied and assessed upon such land according to law. —Idaho State Legislature, Chapter 2, 5-210 (2)
Preventing & Removing Squatters from Idaho Property
To reduce or prevent a squatter from occupying your Idaho property, Boise's Realty Management Associates, Inc. recommends the following:
- Contact an attorney & issue an eviction notice ASAP
- Inspect your property regularly & secure all entrances
- Lace your property with "no trespassing" signs
- If a squatter resists your requests to exit the premise:
- serve them with an eviction notice that obligates them to pay the property's existing rent, taxes, and fees
- if the squatter expresses further resistance, an attorney can assist you in filing a forcible detainer lawsuit and proceeding with further action