Question from Squatter, What are the laws regarding squatting in a vacant building in Arizona?
Answer from AI:
In Arizona, as in many other states, squatting is generally considered illegal. Squatting refers to the act of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land or a building that the squatter does not own, rent, or otherwise have lawful permission to use.
Arizona Squatting Laws
Arizona law does not specifically address squatting. However, it does have laws related to trespassing and adverse possession, which can apply to squatting situations.
Trespassing: Under Arizona law (ARS § 13-1504), a person commits criminal trespass in the first degree by knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a residential structure. This is a class 6 felony.
Adverse Possession: Adverse possession is a legal doctrine that allows a person to claim a property right in land owned by someone else if they have inhabited the land for a certain period of time. In Arizona, the requirements for adverse possession are quite strict. According to ARS § 12-526, a person must occupy the property openly and notoriously, and in a hostile manner, for a continuous period of ten years. They must also pay all taxes during this period.
If a property owner discovers a squatter, they may need to go through the formal eviction process. This typically involves:
- Serving the squatter with a notice to quit or vacate the property.
- If the squatter does not leave, the property owner can file an unlawful detainer lawsuit in court.
- If the court rules in favor of the property owner, the sheriff can forcibly remove the squatter.
It’s important to note that property owners should not attempt to forcibly remove squatters themselves, as this can lead to legal complications.
If you’re dealing with a squatting situation, it’s recommended to consult with a legal professional. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances and help navigate the eviction process if necessary.
Remember, this information is a general guide and not a substitute for legal advice. Laws can change, and each situation is unique. Always consult with a legal professional for advice.