Squatters, The Homeless, Las Vegas

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CNN will air on Sunday, November 19, This is Life with Lisa Ling. We will be educated on the life of the homeless in Las Vegas.

We will see tent camps, learn about squatter’s, ride with Metro, and basically hear what it is like behind the glamour of The Strip. Exactly how this is will be presented as anything different from any other city will be interesting – because it is not different. We simply have better weather for camping than, say, Cleveland.

The homeless problem in the US is national, multifaceted, and huge. A homeless person and a squatter are first cousins – not much separating them except maybe the degree of mental illness.

Let’s contemplate a small part of this gigundous issue:

Will Lisa Ling ask a homeless person, or squatter, if they are familiar with the legal principle of adverse possession?

If they answer Yes, than they are much smarter than I give them credit for.

In the United States, “squatter’s rights” isn’t a list of specific rights, but refers to a specific form of adverse possession, a legal principle that we inherited from England and has been around, in one form or another, for ages.

Squatters can use adverse possession to gain ownership of the property they’re squatting in, or on, if they play their cards right. To claim possession in NV a trespasser must be:
1. hostile (against the right of the true owner and without permission)
2. actual (exercising control over the property)
3. exclusive (in the possession of the trespasser alone)
4. open and notorious (using the property as the real owner would, without hiding his or her occupancy)
5. continuous for the statutory period (which is generally five (5) years in Nevada under Nev. Rev. Stat. § 11.070), and
6. be accompanied by payment of all applicable taxes (pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. § 11.150).

Taxes? Ooops… the last one is a deal breaker for most.

As a reminder…. I do not hang For Rent or For Sale signs on vacant property. I visit the property every week and at random hours. Las Vegas has established procedures for filing police reports against squatter’s, whether they are camping in the house or on the yard. I know how to get these forms.

This Thanksgiving I will not over cook. I will not over eat. I will be thankful for employment and my home. I am thankful for you.

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