Being a homeowner is a dream for most everyone in Texas. It is probably surprising to know that I am 46 years old and never owned a home. Renting has always been the best and most affordable option. I'm hoping that changes over the next year even though this is apparently the worst time to buy a home in the history of ever.

But I digress.

One thing I have never considered is just moving into a home that looked empty, otherwise known as squatting. In Texas, squatters have a frustratingly large amount of rights. They may lose those rights in the near future thanks to some testimony of squatter victims.

Squatters Rights in Texas

Say you go on an extended vacation for say two weeks. When you return home from that vacation, you find that someone, or multiple someone's, have moved into your home, called squatting. You think this would be considered breaking and entering and local police could arrest this person or persons and criminal charges could be filed. Nope. You would essentially have to file an eviction notice like they were a renter behind on the monthly rent and that person, or person's, could still live there.

In that time you were gone, the squatter, or squatters, could ransack your home and steal your possessions. Under Texas law, you wouldn't be able to file criminal charges against this person or persons ( This is a problem that has existed in the state for a long time.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has brought this issue to the Texas Senate and wants changes to be made to the adverse possession laws. A Mesquite resident testified that she lost her home to a squatter. She was out of town and the squatter moved in and began selling drugs out of the home. That squatter sold many of her possessions online or simply destroyed them. She called police but by Texas law, this was not a criminal matter, it was a civil matter (KXAN).

Throughout the months long process, she could not live in the home because of all the damage and pest infestation but still had to pay the mortgage, insurance, property taxes and utilities.

Not Until 2025

Unfortunately, proposed changes to this law may not happen until the next regular session of the Texas Legislature in 2025. Let's hope our lawmakers in Austin can make the appropriate changes so a home owner can immediately evict a squatter and press criminal charges against them.

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