What are squatters’ rights in Tennessee?

Tennessee is an attractive state to many, especially due to its beautiful landscapes, thriving economy, and relaxed lifestyle. However, there are still many people who find themselves unable to afford a home in this state. For some, the only option left is to become a squatter on someone else’s vacant property. While squatting in Tennessee is illegal, there are specific laws that protect squatters’ rights in certain situations. In this article, we will delve into what squatters’ rights are in Tennessee, the legality of squatting, and how to handle a situation where you are occupying someone else’s property.

Squatters’ rights in Tennessee, also known as adverse possession, refer to the legal right of a person to claim ownership of a property after using or occupying it openly and notoriously for a specific period. In Tennessee, the legal requirements for adverse possession include continuous possession of a property for at least ten years, without any interference or objections from the owner or any other party. Additionally, the person claiming adverse possession must also satisfy other conditions, such as payment of property taxes, open use of the property, and exclusive and hostile use of the property. It is important to note that adverse possession laws are complex and are subject to interpretation by the courts, and anyone considering claiming squatters’ rights should seek legal advice from a qualified attorney.

What is the squatting/squatter?

Squatting or being a squatter refers to the act of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied property without permission or legal rights to do so. Squatters typically move into properties that are abandoned, empty or in disrepair, and do not pay rent or any kind of occupancy fees. The act of squatting can be a response to homelessness, poverty or a lack of affordable housing in a given area. Squatters often face legal challenges and may be evicted if they are found to be occupying a property unlawfully. However, some individuals argue that squatting is a legitimate practice, as it can provide a means of basic shelter and survival for those who have no other options. Regardless of personal viewpoints, squatting remains a controversial topic that raises issues about property rights, social justice, and homelessness.

What is an example of a squatter?

A squatter is someone who occupies a property without a legal right or a written agreement. An example of a squatter is a person who moves into an abandoned building and makes that their home. The squatter may have no intention of paying rent or owning the property but believes that they have a right to stay there since no one else is using it. Squatting is illegal in most countries, and landlords or property owners have the right to evict squatters. However, the laws surrounding squatters’ rights vary from country to country, and some may allow squatters to make claims over a property if they have been living there for a certain period.

What is Adverse possession in Tennessee?

Adverse possession is a legal concept in Tennessee that enables a person to claim ownership of a property without the consent of the landowner. Under the law, if an individual occupies a piece of land continuously and openly for a certain period of time, they may acquire legal title to that property. Tennessee requires claimants to hold the property continuously for a period of ten years, and meet other requirements, such as paying taxes on the property, occupying the land openly and maintaining it openly. Once this period is met, the claimant can petition a court to be recognized as the legal owner of the property. However, the process of claiming ownership through adverse possession can be complicated and requires legal representation by experienced attorneys.

Is it legal to squat in Tennessee?

Squatting in Tennessee is illegal regardless of the ownership of the property. Squatting is the act of occupying or settling on someone else’s property without their permission. It is not a legal form of tenancy or residency, and it does not grant any rights or protections to the squatters. In Tennessee, it is a criminal offense to trespass on another person’s property, and the owner has the right to evict the squatters from their property. Therefore, anyone who wants to occupy any property in Tennessee must obtain permission from the owner or obtain a legal tenancy agreement before occupying the property. The laws relating to squatting in Tennessee are enforced, and those found guilty are subject to criminal punishment.

Can police remove squatters in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, police have the authority to remove squatters from a property if the occupant has no legal right to be there. Squatting is illegal, and those who occupy a property without the owner’s consent can face legal repercussions. Before taking any action, police officers must ensure that the property owner has legal possession and that the squatter is not a tenant with valid rights to occupy the property. If the squatter refuses to vacate, the police may take legal action or seek a court order to remove the individual. Ultimately, the police have the responsibility to protect the rights of property owners, ensure public safety, and uphold the law by removing squatters from unauthorized properties in Tennessee.

How to evict squatter in Tennessee?

Evicting a squatter in Tennessee requires following the legal process outlined by the state. The first step is to provide the squatter with a written notice to vacate the property. If they refuse to leave, the landlord must file a lawsuit against the squatter and obtain a court order for eviction. It is important to provide evidence to the court to prove that the squatter is occupying the property without permission, such as utility bills and lease agreements. The court will typically require the squatter to leave the property within a specified time frame, which is often 10 days. If the squatter refuses to leave after the allotted time, the landlord may obtain a writ of possession to remove the squatter from the property with the assistance of law enforcement. Conducting an eviction in Tennessee requires knowledge of the state’s laws and procedures, so it may be necessary to consult with a lawyer to ensure the process is done correctly.


  1. What do you mean by squatters’ rights in Tennessee?

Squatters’ rights in Tennessee refer to the legal rights of an individual or group to take over and use a property that is not theirs without the owner’s permission, provided that they have occupied the property for a certain period without objection from the owner.

  1. What is the period for adverse possession in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the period for adverse possession is generally 7 years. If the occupant possesses a property for 7 consecutive years without the owner’s permission or knowledge, they may be able to claim legal ownership over the property.

  1. What conditions must the squatter meet to claim adverse possession?

To claim adverse possession in Tennessee, the squatter must have openly, continuously, and exclusively occupied the property for the statutory period. They must also have used the property in a manner that is hostile to the owner’s interests.

  1. Can the owner evict a squatter in Tennessee?

Yes, a property owner can evict a squatter in Tennessee, but it can be challenging if the squatter has occupied the property for the statutory period and meets the requirements for adverse possession.

  1. Are squatters entitled to any rights in Tennessee?

Squatters are not entitled to any legal rights in Tennessee. However, they can claim adverse possession of a property if they meet the statutory requirements.

  1. What should property owners do to protect their property from squatters?

Property owners can protect their property from squatters by maintaining possession, preventing unauthorized entry, and promptly reporting any squatter activity to the authorities.


Official website of Tennessee State Government

Author – Stan Huxley

Passionate about real estate, Stan Huxley brings a wealth of experience to our articles. With a lifelong career in the industry, Stan’s insights, tips, and expert advice empower readers to navigate the world of real estate confidently. Whether you’re a homebuyer, seller, or investor, Stan is your trusted guide to making informed decisions.

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