Squatting Laws Can Take Away Vacation Property

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houseMany people don’t know the laws surrounding the property they own. They might know the property tax laws, or at least the basics, but for the most part they probably only know how much they have to pay each year, and they may not even know that much. There are a number of laws that can cause a person to no longer own their land anymore, and all home owners should know about this. Squatters are a big problem in many areas and owners who do not live near their property should always have a company that can fit their needs to help them out.

Richard owned 15 acres of land in the middle of nowhere. He planned on building a house on it and moving out there when he retired. He wanted to have a little farm and live out his days in the wilderness. In the meantime he told his neighbor that they could use the land to plant some plants. He figured that it would help the land become fertile until he could start working it. Unfortunately he lost his job and couldn’t afford to keep paying the taxes on it, so he went to sell the land. His neighbors protested and said that the land is theirs not his so he can’t sell it. The judge, in seeing that he wasn’t using it and they were, decided in their favor. Now he can’t even sell that land to help himself out, or to move onto when he gets older.

This is a real situation that can happen. It is called squatting and was set into law during the Great Depression. This more than anything else explains what is meant by “Possession is nine tenths of the law.” It turns out that if an owner is not using a property someone else can simply take that property by living there and using the land or house for a specific period of time. This time period has changed, and you may want to find out how long it is in your city, but better than that would be to hire an attorney to evaluate the situation.

These people will take care of a place and will make some money for you in the process. Many others can take a second or third home and get it ready to be rented out, used to make extra money. They will make sure that renters are placed in empty houses and that houses that they haven’t found renters for are empty and don’t have people living in them. If someone breaks into a place and lives there for that same amount of the time they can take possession of the house.

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1 Comment

  1. Nathan -  July 13, 2013 - 9:21 am

    It is unfortunate that this law is still in place. There was a time that it was a benefit to people without homes, allowing them to take over abandoned property. However we now live in an age of investment property so it’s not at all uncommon for someone to buy property for future use or to eventually rent out. It’s not abandoned, only unused for a time. That being said if you do own investment property it should still be maintained either by you or a property management company.

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