Question from Squatter, What are the laws regarding squatting in a vacant building in Georgia, USA?
Answer from AI:
In Georgia, USA, squatting, or the act of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land or a building, is generally considered illegal. However, there are certain circumstances where a squatter may gain legal rights to the property through a process known as “adverse possession.”
What is 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 and met certain other conditions. In Georgia, the requirements for adverse possession are quite strict.
According to Georgia Code Title 44. Property § 44-5-161, a person must openly, continuously, and notoriously possess the property for a period of 20 years to claim adverse possession. The possession must also be exclusive, meaning the squatter doesn’t share possession with others.
What are the Consequences of Squatting?
Squatting can lead to criminal charges in Georgia. Under Georgia Code § 16-7-21, a person who knowingly and without authority enters or remains in the dwelling of another person or any building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, or aircraft is guilty of criminal trespass, a misdemeanor.
What are the Rights of Property Owners?
Property owners in Georgia have the right to remove squatters from their property. This is typically done through a legal process known as eviction. However, if a squatter has been on the property long enough to claim adverse possession, the property owner may need to take the matter to court.
When to Seek Legal Advice?
If you are a property owner dealing with a squatter or you are a squatter trying to understand your rights, it’s important to consult with a legal professional. Laws can vary greatly depending on the specifics of your situation, and a lawyer can provide personalized advice.
Remember, this information is a general overview of squatting and adverse possession laws in Georgia and should not be taken as legal advice. Always consult with a legal professional for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.