We have all heard stories of squatters who have occupied a home or building sometimes with consequences like fires or major damage to the property. So what is technically a squatter and is it illegal in Minnesota? The answer is it is complicated.

According to Ipropertymanagement: " A squatter is someone who occupies an abandoned, foreclosed or unoccupied building or area of land without lawful permission. The person does not rent or own the property. Despite this, squatting is quite common in the United States."

But despite this definition of a squatter which seems pretty cut and dry there are different types of squatters and squatter's rights too. Trespassing is a criminal offense while squatting is considered civil in nature. But, squatting might be treated as a criminal offense if the landowner or landlord has established that the person or persons are not welcome on the property.

Some squatters may attempt to claim they own the property by using fake paperwork to show to law enforcement or even the owner of the property which is obviously illegal. Squatters do have rights too but must prove requirements for what is called Adverse Possession: "In Minnesota, it takes 15 years of continuous occupation for a squatter to make an adverse possession claim (Minn. Stat. Sec. 541.02). They must also pay property taxes for a total of 5 consecutive years."

Obviously, this is not very common unless the owner of the house or building never checks on the property for that long a period of time, but it can happen. But like anything, there are exceptions to the rule too. If a person beautifies the living space by planting flowers, removing debris, etc. in a residential or industrial property they may be able to avoid a trespassing charge. Also In the case of a legitimate emergency, a person who accessed the property may also avoid trespassing charges.

As an owner of any type of property, it is obviously very important to check the building or house on a regular basis to try and prevent this from happening, but if it does make sure to involve the police. This could be a very dangerous situation for the property owner especially if it is a group of people.

If these same people or persons continue to come back to that property or refuse to leave Minnesota doesn’t have any specific laws that help landowners get rid of squatters. A landowner who needs to get rid of a squatter will need to go through a standard eviction process to legally remove them.

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