This article defines how ‘squatting’ relates to land ownership in the United States. We will focus on New York squatters rights. A squatter illegally occupies a house, building, or land without the owner’s permission. Individual states choose what rights squatters have if any. Squatter’s rights about the law of adverse possession. Squatters may claim ownership if they follow the necessary criteria for adverse possession.
Wikipedia defines squatting in the United States as “the unauthorized use of the real estate. Squatting occurred during the California Gold Rush. Also, when European colonial settlers established land rights. There was squatting during the Great Depression in Hoovervilles and World War II. Shanty towns returned to the US after the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 and in the 2010s. Increasing numbers of people squat in foreclosed homes using fraudulent documents. In some cases, a squatter may get property ownership through adverse possession.
NY squatters rights
Trespassers have no legal rights. If they do not leave when you ask them, you must call the authorities and pursue eviction. You must defend your ownership if the squatter claims a legal property right. Squatter’s rights NY are like those in other states. If a squatter claims ownership, they may be able to prove adverse possession. If they have no claim of ownership, squatting is illegal, and they are trespassers. Alert the authorities and pursue eviction if necessary.
Adverse possession definitions are defined by New York in (Real Property Actions & Proceedings Law (RPAPL) §501)) as:
1. Adverse possessor.
A person or entity is an “adverse possessor” of real property when the person or entity occupies the real property of another person or entity with or without knowledge of the other’s superior ownership rights, in a manner that would give the owner a cause of action for ejectment.
2. Acquisition of title.
An adverse possessor gains title to the occupied real property upon the expiration of the statute of limitations for an action to recover real property pursuant to subdivision (a) of section two hundred twelve of the civil practice law and rules, provided that the occupancy, as described in sections five hundred twelve and five hundred twenty-two of this article, has been adverse, under a claim of right, open and notorious, continuous, exclusive, and actual.
3. Claim of right.
A claim of right means a reasonable basis for the belief that the property belongs to the adverse possessor or property owner, as the case may be. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, the claim of right shall not be required if the owner or owners of the real property throughout the statutory period cannot be ascertained in the records of the county clerk, or the register of the county, of the county where such real property is situated, and located by reasonable means.”
In New York, a person may claim adverse possession if they’ve paid taxes and have lived openly on the property for at least ten years without the owner’s authorization.
The New York state code (Real Property Actions & Proceedings Law (RPAPL) §511-1))states “Adverse possession under written instrument or judgment.
Where the occupant or those under whom the occupant claims entered into the possession of the premises under a claim of right, exclusive of any other right, founding the claim upon a written instrument, as being a conveyance of the premises in question, or upon the decree or judgment of a competent court, and there has been a continued occupation and possession of the premises included in the instrument, decree or judgment, or of some part thereof, for ten years, under the same claim, the premises so included are deemed to have been held adversely; except that when they consist of a tract divided into lots, the possession of one lot is not deemed possession of any other lot.”
New York allows trespassers to gain rights after only 30 days. They might do this to get people off of the streets. This is not in the property owner’s best interest, you should protect your property from trespassers. New York’s laws only allow eviction through the judicial process after someone stays on your property for only 30 days.
NYC squatters rights may require litigation to defend your ownership. A squatter may have “color of title.” Color of title means one has a claim of ownership with a document or other instrument. This instrument is defective or invalid. Litigation is necessary to prove the instrument is invalid or defective.
Squatting laws New York mandates that a person provide evidence for their claim. A person must prove their reasons for their claim of adverse possession. Their occupancy must meet specific conditions. A person must meet certain criteria to get a property by adverse possession in New York:
Before someone can take your property through adverse possession, they must meet the requirements. Squatter rights, New York are associated with the law of adverse possession. Adverse possession requires four distinct conditions.
For adverse possession to occur, the squatter or disseisor must exercise exclusive use of the property as if it were their own.
In Bauer v. Harris, 617 N.E.2d 923 (Ind. Ct. App. 1993), the court held that exclusive use is an independent claim of right, a use which does not depend upon use by others; it does not mean a use which excludes others entirely.
USlegal.com defines it as: “Exclusive use refers to the primary or dominant use of property, as opposed to incidental use. Exclusive use is an essential element for a prescriptive easement. It is the right exercised by an adverse user independently of similar rights held by others. The exclusive right is something more than the degree of possession.”
Most of us think that it means actual possession of the property. Actual possession means using or controlling a property. Clear evidence of possessing the property is making improvements and occupying the property.
Open and Notorious
Open and notorious is the visible evidence of possessing property. The disseisor is the squatter that acquires ownership by adverse possession. The disseisor must not hide the use of the property from the disseisee. The occupying squatter must occupy in a way that isn’t hidden from the public or the legal owner.
Possession must be actual, open, and notorious, of a kind that would notify others of the claim to the property. Open and notorious is further described by Cornell Law as “Open and Notorious. Possession must be obvious to anyone who bothers to look, to put the true owner on notice that a trespasser is in possession. One will not succeed with an adverse possession claim if it is secret.”
Hostile use of a property doesn’t imply confrontation. The definition of hostile means that a squatter’s use of a property opposes the original owner’s ownership.
Adverse possession can only take place if the squatter uses the property continuously. The period is the entire duration of the statute of limitations.
The person claiming the right to the property must exercise these four conditions. The conditions must exist continuously through the period mandated by the state’s squatter laws. Squatters’ rights in New York have similarities to many other states. Squatters must meet the conditions to gain ownership through adverse possession.
Other helpful definitions:
Awareness of Intrusion: Intrusion differs from trespass, which is a civil claim or a criminal charge for entering private property without the owner’s consent.
Good Faith Error: means a reasonable error of judgment concerning the existence of facts or law that, if true, would be sufficient to constitute probable cause.
Permanent possession is similar to continuous use. In New York, that translates to ten years. It can’t be a situation where they use the property for a few years and then leave.
The squatter must reside on the property and use the property. Making improvements is evidence of possession.
What is the reason for Adverse Possession?
Adverse possession fixes problems with titles that happen over time. Possession and using a property for the required time will disprove any false claims or fractured ownership.
Adverse possession is “a useful method for curing minor title defects.” A new owner occupies a parcel. One part of the parcel didn’t convey because of an error. Adverse possession allows the purchaser of the land to own the parcel, which they believe is the parcel they purchased from the seller.
Ownership goes to productive landowners rather than absentee owners. The land has a better chance of development with a person on-site.
The adverse possessor places a high personal value on the land while the real title holder abandons it. The law seeks to award ownership to the person who values it most.
What are squatter’s rights in New York, and how do I prevent adverse possession?
Visit your property or hire someone to inspect your property. Going to the property is the main way to ensure that someone doesn’t claim ownership of your property. You must visit your site.
Don’t allow someone to take ownership through adverse possession. Post no-trespassing signs along your parcel’s perimeter to inform the public of your wishes. Build a fence around your property for further security.
Keep a title insurance policy that guarantees your ownership.
Squatters rights, New York says the period to take adverse possession is 10 years. Someone that occupies your property is a trespasser. Trespassing is illegal; trespassers have no legal rights. Trespassers who occupy a property and meet certain criteria may claim a right in the occupied property. Adverse possession is the law used to gain ownership. Owners and those with a claim on the title must litigate for a final decision.
Prevent claims on your property from adverse possession by visiting your property. Post no trespassing signs, and secure your property with fences. There is no substitute for site visits. If your property no longer suits you or you have no use for it, sell or lease it.