In today’s world, where the high cost of living has become a norm, it’s not uncommon to find properties that have been left vacant due to their owners’ inability to maintain them. Unfortunately, some individuals also take advantage of this situation by occupying these properties without permission – these individuals are known as “squatters.”why do squatters have rights From a legal standpoint, squatters can be challenging to deal with, and this is mainly due to the concept of squatters’ rights. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about squatters’ rights and the legalities surrounding them.
Firstly, what are squatters’ rights? Squatters’ rights refer to the legal recognition of an individual’s possession of a property without legal ownership. These rights are based on a legal principle that rewards the parties that have maintained and used an abandoned property for a significant period of time. Although the laws regarding these rights vary from one jurisdiction to another, they share some common features. One of these features is that squatters’ rights only apply to abandoned properties, meaning that the owner has not been using the property or has not taken any legal steps to evict the occupants.
Secondly, what are the legalities surrounding squatters’ rights? Legal steps are necessary when you wish to remove squatters, and this involves serving notices to them. If the squatters refuse to leave, then legal action is needed to obtain a possession order from the courts. In some jurisdictions, owners are required to give squatters a notice period before they can apply for an eviction order. This is so that the squatters have a chance to defend their claim of possession, if they have any. It’s important to note that illegal eviction of squatters can lead to severe penalties, and it’s best to seek legal advice before taking any legal action.
Thirdly, how long does a squatter need to occupy a property for squatters’ rights to apply? The duration that a squatter needs to occupy a property for their rights to apply varies depending on the jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions have a minimum occupation period of two years, while others require the squatter to have taken active steps to develop and improve the property. In some instances, the ownership of a property can be transferred to a squatter if the legal owner fails to challenge the possession within the occupation period.
Fourthly, what can owners do to prevent squatters from occupying their properties? The most practical way of preventing squatters from occupying your property is by keeping the property closed and secure. This includes fixing all damaged entrances and notifying the police to report any signs of forced entry. Owners should also ensure that their properties are insured against squatters’ occupation. If you intend to leave your property vacant for an extended period of time, it’s best to rent or lease it out to another party, or appoint a caretaker to take care of it.
In summary, squatters’ rights are a legal concept that is mainly based on occupancy and prolonged possession of a property. These rights vary from one jurisdiction to another, and it’s essential to understand the legalities surrounding them before taking any legal action. If you’re a property owner, it’s vital to take active measures to prevent squatters from occupying your property, and this includes keeping it closed and secured. Seeking legal advice from a property lawyer is also important when dealing with squatters.