Is Squatting Legal In Wisconsin? It’s Pretty Complicated
We often see people lurking around buildings that are old and abandoned but are those people allowed to be living there in Wisconsin?
You've probably seen these people and thought that it's illegal for them to be there. But several states have what's known as squatters' rights ('adverse possession' in the fancy terms).
What Exactly Is A Squatter?
To be clear, a squatter is not someone who's just lightyears behind on rent payments. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a squatter is defined as: "one that settles on property without right or title or payment of rent" or "one that settles on public land under government regulation with the purpose of acquiring title".
Are Squatters Legal In Wisconsin?
There isn't a clear answer to that since the situation matters. Real estate website Doorloop says that unless the landlord/property owner has not given them permission to be on the property, a squatter is welcome to stay. Moreover, landlords and property owners cannot forcibly remove squatters in Wisconsin.
How The Squatter Can Own The Property
Remember that 'adverse possession' thing? This is where it comes into play. Iowa and Illinois both have adverse possession laws. There's criteria for that, like the squatter must treat the property like it's their own, make no attempt to conceal the fact they live there, and that it exclusively theirs, so they're not sharing it with a bunch of other squatters.
If you need to prevent squatters in Wisconsin, you should monitor the properties that you own. If they pop up and you need to get rid of them, Doorloop recommends you issue them an eviction notice.