Louisiana requires squatters to meet all common law requirements of adverse possession in order to have a claim to a property title.
This means the possession of the property must be open for everyone to see and be against the wishes of the property owner.
This is referred to as “hostile occupation.”
Squatters must have this possession be continuous in nature for a minimum of 10 years for an adverse possession claim to be heard.
Any time the elements of an adverse possession are not met, the claim for squatters rights will typically be rejected.
The burden of proof for such a claim is generally on the squatters who are attempting to obtain a property title.
In addition to the common elements, these additional factors are also considered within the state of Louisiana should an adverse possession claim be filed on a parcel of property.
1. The Occupation Of a Property Must Be Peaceful.
Squatters cannot disturb the peace in any way when attempting an adverse possession claim.
If law enforcement officials are called to a property on a regular basis because of bothersome activities that are happening on the land, then this may disqualify a petition for adverse possession.
2. There Must Be a Good Faith Element To The Adverse Possession.
The goal of adverse possession laws when they were first created was to make sure that all land and property was put to a productive use in some way.
If the current owner wasn’t doing that or if the land itself was unoccupied, then it could be used by someone else.
Current laws in Louisiana require a good faith element to be part of any claim.
Using abandoned property in a productive way can satisfy this claim, although most claims are because of errors on titles or deeds or alterations to the land by previous owners.
3. Louisiana Allows For More Than Just Surface Land Acquisition Through Adverse Possession.
Mineral rights are also allowed to transfer during a successful adverse possession claim if the squatters are accessing the minerals of a land when the current property owner is not.
If there is no access to the minerals during an occupation of an abandoned property, however, then the mineral rights are treated in the same way as they are for the property owner and will not transfer over.
4. There Is An Element To a Just Title.
In this aspect of Louisiana’s adverse possession laws, a French element of common law has been added that is unique in the US.
It means there must be a prescription for transfer of the property from one person to another.
In the instance when a property owner makes no protest regarding the transfer of a title during an adverse possession claim by squatters, then the transfer will happen with almost certainty.
If a property owner has demonstrated that they have attempted to reclaim their land, then this action alone may be enough to resolve any squatters rights to the property title or deed.
5. There Is Also The Element Of The Color Of Title That Must Be Considered.
Louisiana also requires squatters to maintain a property as if it was their own.
There must be a belief in place that the squatters have some right to the property itself and then operate as if they are the property owner.
This may even include paying any taxes or levies that may be associated with the property.
The 10 year requirement of occupation also applies to the color of title requirement.
This means a property owner who is paying their taxes or levies or attempting to establish their rights to a property may be able to disprove that they have abandoned it.
6. There Are No Disability Allowances In Louisiana.
Some states allow property owners a period of time after an adverse possession claim is filed to clear a disability that may have prevented them from using their property as they wished.
Louisiana is not one of those states.
If no actions are taken during the 10 year period by a property owner, then this is an indication that the property has been abandoned.
This allows an adverse possession claim to be heard. It is purposely difficult for an adverse possession claim to be considered valid because property owner’s do have rights.
There are also squatters rights to be considered, but only when a property owner has given up their own rights.
Consider these key points to make sure your rights are protected.