Traveling can be stressful. (Yes, Thanksgiving, that was a shot at you.) If you’re like me, your constant travel companion is that nagging feeling that you forgot something. Did I lock the door? Take out the trash? Remember to pack x, y, or z? At some point—most likely when you’re too far away to do anything about it—you’ll have that moment of clarity when you realize exactly what you forgot. Well now partway into this holiday season, I’ve got a whole new concern to add to the list—is someone going to attempt to adversely possess my home while I’m away?
Have you heard about the guy in Ohio who’s been playing fast and loose with adverse possession? It’s happening. When one OH family returned to their home after visiting a dying relative, they found that Robert Carr had changed the locks, removed their belongings, and filed for a quiet title.The only problem? The family didn’t abandon the property.
The family, who are in the process of foreclosing that home and moving to Pittsburgh, are challenging Carr’s claim. Carr is now facing three counts of breaking and entering and three counts of theft because as news sources are reporting, this isn’t the first time Carr has possessed a house. Turns out that Carr filed similar paperwork on ten other houses and even claims to have a “team of people” who clear out a house and change the locks on his order.
If you, like me, haven’t brushed up on Ohio law lately, you may be interested to hear it takes twenty-one years for a squatter to be able to claim adverse possession. Until you hit that twenty-one (and cover the open, notorious, and continuous bases), you are just a trespasser. And here we appear to have yet another case where it pays to pay attention to the fine print.