A Colorado family has reclaimed its home, after squatters occupied it for the better part of a year.
A county judge in Littleton, Colo., recently gave squatters 48 hours to leave a home they did not own, and allow the family to regain possession, CBS 4 Denver reported on Thursday.
Troy Donovan, his wife Danya, and their two children moved to Indiana last year after Troy got a job there, according to the station. But when they came back to their house in Littleton, outside of Denver, squatters were living in it and refused to leave.
The squatters, who lived in the home for 8 months, had obtained a deed of "adverse possession" for $5,000 from a former realtor who now faces criminal charges and is linked to other squatters.
Squatters around the country are using similar arguments to try to take legal possession of the homes they occupy. "Adverse possession" rules vary state to state, but allow a hostile takeover of land to be approved legally if the new tenant meets certain common law requirements and lives on the property for a certain length of time, typically at least 7 years, according to Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute.
In Texas, "adverse possession" originates from the 19th century and still is used to settle rural land disputes. In Tarrant County, Tex., the county of Fort Worth, there have been dozens of tenants claiming "adverse possession" of homes, according to Fox News.
One squatter took over a home in Arlington, Tex., while the owner was in Houston for a few months getting chemotherapy, according to Fox News. The squatter showed the police a deed for "adverse possession."
Having a place to live has become more difficult for people at the lower end of the income scale. The rental market has become especially tight, as banks' tighter credit requirements have shut out many people from the housing market, and there are not enough affordable housing units available for America's poorest, according to a study released in February by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.