Are There Squatters Rights In West Virginia?

In West Virginia, the status of squatting is growing increasingly complex due to frequent fluctuations in legal judgments. Nevertheless, there are numerous common law defenses that a squatter may lean on in specific scenarios. Furthermore, on rare occasions, the West Virginia code is arguably interpreted as protecting the squatter’s rights. To safeguard their legal status, squatters are advised to pursue establishing a prescriptive easement—consulting legal counsel is always highly recommended.

What is Squatting?

Squatting is a controversial practice of occupying land or property without permission or legal entitlement. Far from just a legal issue, it can involve the ownership of land or property and the exclusion of others, often relying on interpretations of common law and applicable state statutes to validate such a claim. Recognizing potential legal defenses for squatters, West Virginia law underscores the possibility of prescriptive easements and addresses how to prove land ownership in some instances. Moreover, court precedent set in the state reconfirms the rights of settlers, with outcomes dependent on the specifics of the dispute.

Squatter's Rights: Laws and How to Handle Squatters

Definition of Squatting

Squatting in West Virginia is a complicated issue as common law, statute limitations, laches, and prescription all factor into eviction proceedings. It is essential to understand the distinction between squatting and the illegal or discouraged living arrangements that often come with it. From the established law in West Virginia, it is clear that squatting rights are not typically granted; thus, squatting is usually illegal. Understanding this law of the land, West Virginia residents should be mindful of their circumstances and act accordingly.

Types of Squatting

Squatting is illegally occupying a property or structure within West Virginia. This behavior falls under the classification of adverse possession, commonly referred to as a squatting right. Acquiring these rights is based on meeting specific criteria determined in state law and court rulings, such as continuous property occupancy for an allotted period. When it comes to the Mountain State, squatters can gain legal rights and be bestowed a prescriptive easement to a property they’ve occupied without owners’ consent, so long as they meet the requisite legal qualifications.

ASAP Cash Offer - Call Now

Call Now (818) 651-8166

Why Sell Your Home to ASAP Cash Offer?

  1. You Pay Zero Fees 
  2. Close quickly 7-28 days.
  3. Guaranteed Offer, no waiting.
  4. No repairs required, sell “AS IS”
  5. No appraisals or delays.

Squatting in West Virginia

In West Virginia, squatting is a criminal offense that can incur heavy penalties. Homeowners must exercise caution to prevent unauthorized use of their land against their wishes, and it is essential to know the rights protection provisions of common law and state legislation. Adverse possession is a legal concept pleaded for an advantageous outcome in court cases related to squatting; however, the exact product may depend on circumstances. In some cases, settlers may take advantage of the legal concept of a prescriptive easement. By being aware of the risks and potential legal implications of squatting, homeowners and would-be squatters can ensure they know their rights and obligations under West Virginia law.

Common Law Defenses of Squatting

Squatting has long been practiced in West Virginia, with legal rights and possibilities governed by common law, state statutes, and in some cases, court rulings. The 15-year timeframe specified in common law makes it possible for a settler to gain a prescriptive easement if they can prove awareness of the owner and acceptance of their presence. Settlers who have resided on the property for five or more years may also benefit from possessory rights under West Virginia state statutes. Despite some conflicting court rulings, an individual still has the potential to have their rights as a squatter legally recognized and protected.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy:

Are There Squatters Rights In Massachusetts?
Are There Squatters Rights In Connecticut?
Are There Squatters Rights In Arkansas?
Are There Squatters Rights In Kentucky?
Are There Squatters Rights In Louisiana?

West Virginia Statutory Code

Squatting is illegal in West Virginia, where common law defenses to it, such as adverse possession and prescription, are not accepted. Furthermore, West Virginia’s statutory codes do not provide legal protection for those who wish to squat. Recent court rulings in this state have shown a hostile stance toward settlers, making it difficult for individuals to claim land or buildings as their own. The legal consequences of squatting in West Virginia are severe, meaning anyone caught engaging in it could face prosecution.

Prescriptive Easement

Squatting in West Virginia is no easy legal issue, as the state lacks specific statutes. Squatting is simply the occupation of an uninhabited property, either wholly or in part, and is mainly protected through common law interpretations of trespass. Complicating matters, prescriptive easements may grant squatters certain rights due to continuous occupancy over a set period, though these rights remain limited in West Virginia unless court rulings recognize them. In truth, court decisions on squatting in the state are diverse and unpredictable, making it essential to grasp the laws and implications of squatting in West Virginia before undertaking the activity.

ASAP Cash Offer - Free Online Quotes

Call Now (818) 651-8166

Why Sell Your Home to ASAP Cash Offer?

  1. You Pay Zero Fees 
  2. Close quickly 7-28 days.
  3. Guaranteed Offer, no waiting.
  4. No repairs required, sell “AS IS”
  5. No appraisals or delays.

Are Squatting Rights Protected in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, squatting is an emotionally-charged and legally tricky subject. Without permission or an arrangement, squatters live on another person’s property. Common law and state statutes provide some legal protection to these individuals. Now, two types of squatting require consideration: wrongful possession and prescriptive easement. Unfortunately, West Virginia has yet to provide clear boundaries for these rights. So, as a property owner, it’s essential to take necessary precautions and consult a qualified attorney for legal advice and resolution of any disputes.

Court Rulings

Squatting in West Virginia — a term encompassing occupying land or a structure without a legal right — isn’t precisely addressed within state statutes. Common law possession rights and the possibility of a prescriptive easement may become available, yet court rulings have been inconclusive. Thus, the legal rights of settlers within the state are always dependent on the case’s details and the court’s decision.

ASAP Cash Offer Buys Houses In These Cities:

Jacksonville, Florida
Reno, Nevada
Knoxville, Tennessee
Corpus Christi, Texas
Arlington, Texas


Squatting in West Virginia is a complex issue – both State Statutory Code and Common Law provide legal protection in the form of Prescriptive Easements, yet the exact outlook on squatting remains uncertain. To fully grasp the legal intricacies associated with squatting in the state, it’s best to consult a West Virginia licensed attorney. To increase Google rankings, it’s also essential to optimize content for high-volume keywords and have a firm understanding of the relevant statutory codes and court rulings, which can help any real estate investor generate the necessary web traffic they need.


In conclusion, West Virginia has no laws that protect squatters’ rights. But, there are nevertheless legal defenses to such cases, such as common law and the prescriptive easement. However, as court rulings vary, speaking to an experienced attorney is the most sensible way to stay informed and risk-free. It is probably best to rent or purchase a property in West Virginia, as squatting is illegal and could lead to eviction or court proceedings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does adverse possession exist in West Virginia?

Adverse possession is a legal concept that can exist in West Virginia, allowing an individual to obtain title of property by virtue of open and notorious possession. The requirements for adverse possession vary from state to state, but generally include continuous use over a specified period (typically 5-7 years) with no interruption or challenge from the true owner. In addition, claimants must make visible improvements on the land as well as pay applicable taxes while invoking their rights under adverse possession laws.

How do I claim adverse possession in WV?

Adverse possession is a legal process where an individual can gain title to land owned by another. In order to claim adverse possession in West Virgina, you must meet certain requirements over an extended period of time such as: proving uninterrupted occupancy for at least 10 years while paying all relevant taxes and maintaining the property; making substantial improvements on the property that are visible and open for public view; possessing the deed legally from its previous owner or being able to show proof of sufficient payment made for it; notifying local authorities with your intent to occupy said properties through written notice when necessary. By adhering these steps, one may be entitled to successfully possess real estate previously belonging someone else within state borders.

What is the squatter rule in Virginia?

Squatting in Virginia can be considered illegal, as it is an act of occupying another’s property without legal permission or title. The state has a ‘squatter rule’ known as the Statute of Limitations (SOL). According to this SOL, if someone occupies your land for over 15 years and remains there continuously for all that time then they are legally classified as having squatted on your land despite not owning it. This means that any attempt to remove them from their occupation at that point would be deemed unlawful by the court system. In practical terms however, squatters may still face prosecution for trespassing even before reaching the 15-year mark.

What are the laws around squatters?

Squatting, sometimes referred to as adverse possession, is an illegal act in most cases. Squatters are people who take over a property that they do not own without permission from the rightful owners. Squatting often violates multiple laws and local ordinances, such as trespassing on private property or vandalism of public spaces. In many states, squatters can be prosecuted for criminal charges if caught staying unlawfully at a home or land belonging to somebody else. It’s important to remember that any claims made by someone claiming ownership through squatter’s rights will likely be overruled by existing law and county courts.
Learn how to sell your house without a realtor...

Selling a property can be confusing, learn how to sell your home without fees. Connect with us or submit your info below and we'll help guide you through your options.

Receive a Free Online Quote From a Cash Buyer

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

ASAP Cash Offer Rated 5.0 / 5 based on 109 reviews. | Our Reviews