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  1. #1
    manicbht is offline Junior Member
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    Question about Michigan squatters rights

    Hello,
    I have a question regarding "Squatter's Rights" in Michigan. My family owns several lots in a subdivision that abuts state owned land, Behind the property we own there is roughly a 120 foot or so wide strip of land that is between the property and the state land. On the subdivision plat maps it is not marked as common property, park useage or wildlife area. Since about 1972 our family has been removing dead and diseased trees, planting grass, ect, Improving the property and maintaining it to the extent of even errecting two small sheds.
    Sometime in the late 90's the new property owners association noticed the strip of land and thought that they could develop it for aditional building lots, not realizing that following a survey, that the property was not of sufficient width the permit a road to be built to access the land and allow sufficient size lots for building homes.
    Once the land was surveyed and they were informed that the land was basically unable to be developed do to it now being landlocked, the POA got upset and sent out letters ordering that any structures on the property were to be removed at once and any and all maintenance on the land was to stop at once, the POA even went as far as to make a threat that they personally would hire demo teams for any structures and assess the property owner for the cost of said demolition.
    At one point the term Squatters Rights was thrown at the POA and suddenly everything was dropped. To this day the property owners continue to maintain the land.
    And Sorry for the long tale but I wanted to put in as much info as I could, SO seeing that we have been maintaining the land for close to 30 years now, can we claim Squatters rights and claim title to the land? And how would one go about doing that?
    Thank you VERY much for any input!!
  2. #2
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    to legally claim title, you must file a quiet title action.

    If they ordered you off in the late 90's, not enough time has passed to allow such a claim. You can try to argue you have used the land for 30 years. I suspect they will argue they gave notice to cease and desist in the late 90's. The judge will decide who is believable and use their timeline to make their decision.
  3. #3
    manicbht is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you !
  4. #4
    latigo is offline Senior Member
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    What evidence could you produce to prove that you (or your predecessors in title combined) have physically occupied or possessed the land for the statutory required fifteen years? And that such occupation has been open, notorious, hostile, exclusive and continuous?

    Although “maintenance” can be indicia it is not equivalent to physical occupation.

    Importantly, your use of the plural below certainly negates exclusivity on your part!

    To this day the property owners continue to maintain the land.
    The clean up work you (and others as well) have performed is just as consistent with a desire to cure an eye sore and a detraction to property values as it is with the intention to adversely possess the strip and claim it against the recorded owner.

    Have you ever ordered anyone off of the property such as other property owners who are continuing to “maintain the land?

    Would you consider your entries upon the land as an act of trespass? Because a "squatter", as you term it, is by definition a trespasser. And I don't think you could truthfully testify that you believed that you have been trespassing and acting hostile to the interests of the owner. And you definitely have not been "SQUATTING" on the land. You know like in "sitting" and refusing to budge!

    And if you can't prove that your entry upon the land was hostile and adverse to the rights of the owner, then you have no cause of action based upon adverse possession!

    Also, it sounds to me that some of the homeowners in the subdivision whom you speak of are treating the land as “common property” - whether or not it was expressly dedicated as such. And if it is to be deemed common property to the subdivision by common usage then no property owner in the subdivision can assert a claim of adverse possession because his or her use thereof would be by common consent.
    ________________

    The answer to your question as to how one goes about obtaining title to land under a claim of adverse possession is that it is done through a complex, time consuming and expensive legal process called an action to quiet title.
  5. #5
    manicbht is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by latigo View Post
    What evidence could you produce to prove that you (or your predecessors in title combined) have physically occupied or possessed the land for the statutory required fifteen years? And that such occupation has been open, notorious, hostile, exclusive and continuous?

    Although “maintenance” can be indicia it is not equivalent to physical occupation.

    Importantly, your use of the plural below certainly negates exclusivity on your part!



    The clean up work you (and others as well) have performed is just as consistent with a desire to cure an eye sore and a detraction to property values as it is with the intention to adversely possess the strip and claim it against the recorded owner.

    Have you ever ordered anyone off of the property such as other property owners who are continuing to “maintain the land?

    Would you consider your entries upon the land as an act of trespass? Because a "squatter", as you term it, is by definition a trespasser. And I don't think you could truthfully testify that you believed that you have been trespassing and acting hostile to the interests of the owner. And you definitely have not been "SQUATTING" on the land. You know like in "sitting" and refusing to budge!

    And if you can't prove that your entry upon the land was hostile and adverse to the rights of the owner, then you have no cause of action based upon adverse possession!

    Also, it sounds to me that some of the homeowners in the subdivision whom you speak of are treating the land as “common property” - whether or not it was expressly dedicated as such. And if it is to be deemed common property to the subdivision by common usage then no property owner in the subdivision can assert a claim of adverse possession because his or her use thereof would be by common consent.
    ________________

    The answer to your question as to how one goes about obtaining title to land under a claim of adverse possession is that it is done through a complex, time consuming and expensive legal process called an action to quiet title.
    Well the property in Question abuts each property owners lot in the rear, Each person cared for their section, and in some cases built fences all the way back to the state land boundry line. There is no way that it could be used for anything, as to get to it one would have to trespass across a developed lot to gain access. In most cases the parcels were used as parking for boats or RV's. In our case as well as a few others, sheds were built on concrete pads as well as patios and fire pits. In most cases there are numerous photographs of sheds being built with the date of the picture's development in the lower right hand corner as was the custom in the 1970's.
    Like I have said, the property is landlocked by state land and privately owned lots and for the most part I was information seeking on the Squatters Rights Process due to the fact that when all this first started years ago the second the term "Squatters Rights" was tossed at the POA they suddenly dropped any further demands that the land be vacated, and several residents at the time told everyone involved that IF any buildings, fences, or firepits were removed that would negate any Squatters claim to the land. It was also mentioned by someone back then that IF the property HAD been designated on the land plat filed with the county as an area for development Such as a playground, park or common scenic area, that would make a squatters claim more difficult, BUT due to the fact that the area was never designated for any future development, and that it is shown as a much smaller area due to surveyors errors back in 1966 when this was planned out.
    By the way...Thank you for the stimulating and inteligent conversation! it is the first I have had in quite some time
  6. #6
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    ike I have said, the property is landlocked by state land and privately owned lots
    that is irrelevant

    the date of the picture's development in the lower right hand corner as was the custom in the 1970's.
    and they will likely have copies of the notices sent to the trespassers in the late 90's that would stop the running of the time.

    and several residents at the time told everyone involved that IF any buildings, fences, or firepits were removed that would negate any Squatters claim to the land.
    it takes much less than that to stop the clock. Those actions would clearly stop the clock but notice to cease and desist the trespass is actually all that is generally required.
  7. #7
    eagleseye is offline Junior Member
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    Why would you and your family want to take something that is not yours ?

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