Question from Squatter, What are the laws regarding squatting in a vacant building in New York?
Answer from AI:
In New York, 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.
New York Squatter’s Rights
New York law does recognize a concept known as “adverse possession,” which can allow a squatter to gain legal ownership of a property. However, the requirements for adverse possession are quite stringent. According to the New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law Section 501, a squatter must:
- Have a hostile claim: The squatter must occupy the land without the owner’s permission.
- Actually possess the property: The squatter must be physically present and maintain the property as if they were the owner.
- Openly and notoriously possess the property: The squatter’s possession must be obvious to anyone who looks into it.
- Exclusively possess the property: The squatter cannot share possession with strangers or the owner.
- Continuously possess the property: The squatter must occupy the property for a continuous period of 10 years.
If a property owner discovers a squatter, they can go through the legal eviction process. This typically involves serving the squatter with a notice to quit and then filing an eviction lawsuit if the squatter does not leave. It’s important to note that property owners cannot use self-help methods, like changing the locks or shutting off utilities, to remove squatters. Doing so could lead to legal penalties under New York’s Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law Section 768.
If you’re dealing with a squatting situation, it’s often a good idea to consult with a legal professional. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances and help you navigate the legal process.
Remember, this information is a general overview of squatting laws in New York and may not apply to all situations. Laws can change, and the interpretation of those laws can vary based on the specifics of each case.
For more information, you can visit the New York Courts’ guide on squatters’ rights or the New York State Senate’s page on Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law.
Always consult with a legal professional for advice tailored to your situation.