What are squatters rights in Washington?

Squatters rights have been a topic of concern for property owners in Washington for years. These rights entitle individuals who have been occupying a property for a certain period of time to become legal owners of the property in question. However, many property owners are unaware of what squatters rights entail, and how they can protect their property from such claims. In this article, we will discuss squatters rights in Washington and how property owners can take measures to safeguard their investments.

Squatters’ rights, also known as adverse possession, are important to understand in Washington. In order to claim squatters’ rights, a person must occupy a property without the owner’s permission for a certain period of time (usually 10 years in Washington) and meet specific legal requirements. This may include paying property taxes, making improvements or repairs to the property, and using the property continuously and openly. If these conditions are met, the squatter may have a legal claim to the property. It’s important to note that the laws surrounding squatters’ rights can be complicated and vary from state to state, and seeking legal advice is recommended before attempting to claim these rights.

What is the squatting/squatter?

Squatting, also known as occupying or living in an abandoned or unused property without permission, is a phenomenon that has gained popularity around the world. A person who does this is called a squatter or a squatter. In general, squatting is seen as a way to find affordable housing or to protest against property ownership laws or inequality. Some squatters may pay rent or make improvements to the property, while others may simply occupy the space without any legal or financial obligation. While squatting may be viewed as a form of activism or a way to address economic and social issues, it can also raise legal and safety concerns for both the squatters and the property owners.

What is an example of a squatter?

A squatter can refer to an individual or a group of people who occupy a residence or a piece of land without owning or paying rent for it. An example of a squatter would be someone who sets up camp in an abandoned house, unused building, or a vacant land plot with no legal rights to do so. Squatting can be done for various reasons like financial hardship or protesting against the landowners. However, squatting is not always legal and may lead to legal actions against the squatters. The concept of squatting is prevalent in many countries, and laws regarding it vary significantly from place to place.

What is Adverse possession in Washington?

Adverse possession in Washington is a common law doctrine that allows individuals to gain legal title to a property by occupying and using it. Also known as squatter’s rights, adverse possession can occur when someone uses a property that they do not own, openly and continuously, without the permission of the actual owner. In Washington, the law recognizes adverse possession as a valid means of acquiring ownership of a property if the occupant meets specific criteria such as possessing the land for at least ten years, paying property taxes, and demonstrating their intent to claim ownership. Adverse possession laws are complex, and disputes can arise between the adverse possessor and the property owner. It is advisable to consult an experienced real estate attorney if you are involved in an adverse possession case in Washington.

Is it legal to squat in Washington?

In Washington, squatting is considered illegal, and it is punishable by law. Squatting occurs when someone occupies a property without legal permission from the owner or without paying rent. Seattle city laws state that landlords have full authority over their property, including the right to evict tenants who occupied their property without permission. In addition, squatters do not have the legal right to access utilities, such as water or electricity. Therefore, those who are caught squatting in Washington can face criminal charges and may be forced to leave the property. It is important to note that if an individual wants to occupy a property, they must obtain legal permission through a lease or rental agreement.

Can police remove squatters in Washington?

In Washington, the police do not have the sole authority to remove squatters from a property. The legal process for removing squatters involves obtaining an eviction order from a court, which is typically initiated by the property owner or landlord. After the eviction order is issued, a law enforcement officer, such as a sheriff, can enforce the order and physically remove the squatters from the property. It is important for property owners to follow the legal process for eviction to avoid any potential legal issues or liability. Additionally, property owners should take steps to protect their property from being occupied by squatters, such as securing the property and conducting routine checks to ensure it remains vacant.

How to evict squatter in Washington?

In Washington, evicting a squatter can be a complex and time-consuming process. First, it’s important to establish whether the person living on the property is actually a squatter without a legal right to be there, or a tenant with a lease or rental agreement. Once squatter status has been established, the owner must provide written notice of eviction and wait a certain number of days before filing a lawsuit for eviction. This process typically involves appearing in court and presenting evidence of the squatter’s illegal occupancy of the property. The court may then issue a writ of restitution, giving the owner possession of the property and authorizing law enforcement to remove the squatter. It’s important to seek legal advice and follow all relevant laws and procedures when dealing with squatters to avoid legal complications and ensure a successful eviction.


Q: What is squatter law?
A: Squatter laws protect people who have been living in a property for an extended period of time without the owner’s consent.

Q: How long do you have to live in a property to be considered a squatter in Washington State?
A: In Washington State, there is no specific time period that designates someone as a squatter. However, if you have lived in a property for an extended period of time without the owner’s consent, you may be considered a squatter.

Q: Can squatters claim ownership of a property in Washington?
A: It is possible for squatters to claim ownership of a property through adverse possession. However, this process is complicated and requires meeting certain legal criteria.

Q: How can property owners prevent squatters from taking over their property?
A: Property owners can prevent squatters by regularly inspecting their properties, securing them with fences, signs and other mechanisms, and taking legal action when necessary.

Q: Is it legal to evict squatters in Washington?
A: Yes, property owners can evict squatters in Washington, but it must be done through the legal process, which includes providing adequate notice and following the appropriate procedures.


Washington State Legislature official website
Washington Law Help

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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