Question from Squatter, What are the laws regarding squatting in a vacant building in North Carolina?
Answer from AI:
In North Carolina, 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.
North Carolina Trespassing Laws
Under North Carolina law, squatting is often treated as criminal trespass. According to North Carolina General Statute § 14-159.13, a person commits the crime of second degree trespass if, without authorization, he or she enters or remains on premises of another.
Adverse Possession in North Carolina
However, there is a legal concept known as “adverse possession” which, under certain circumstances, can allow a squatter to gain legal ownership of a property. In North Carolina, the requirements for adverse possession are quite strict. According to North Carolina General Statute § 1-38, a squatter must openly, continuously, and exclusively occupy the property for a period of 20 years, and must do so in a manner that is “hostile” to the owner’s rights.
If a property owner discovers a squatter, they may need to go through the formal eviction process to remove them. This typically involves serving an eviction notice and potentially going to court. It’s important to note that property owners should not attempt to forcibly remove squatters themselves, as this could lead to legal complications.
It’s crucial to consult with a legal professional if you’re dealing with a squatting situation or if you’re considering occupying a vacant property. They can provide personalized advice based on the specifics of your situation.
Resources for Property Owners and Squatters
- The North Carolina Bar Association’s Self-Help Center provides resources for understanding the law and navigating legal issues.
- The North Carolina Department of Justice offers information on landlord and tenant rights.
Remember, while this information provides a general overview of squatting laws in North Carolina, it does not constitute legal advice. Always consult with a legal professional for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.