Question from Squatter, What are the laws regarding squatting in a vacant building in Washington, USA?
Answer from AI:
In Washington State, the laws regarding squatting, or the act of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied space or building, are primarily governed by the state’s trespassing and adverse possession laws.
Under Washington’s trespassing laws (RCW 9A.52), it is generally illegal to enter or remain in a building without the owner’s permission. This includes vacant buildings. If a squatter is discovered, the property owner can call the police and have the squatter removed for trespassing.
Adverse Possession Laws
However, there is a legal concept known as “adverse possession” under which a squatter could potentially gain legal ownership of a property. According to Washington’s adverse possession laws (RCW 7.28), a squatter must meet several conditions to claim ownership:
- The squatter must have been in continuous possession of the property for at least seven years.
- The squatter’s possession must be open and notorious, meaning it’s obvious to anyone that they are living there.
- The squatter must have paid property taxes for the seven-year period.
- The squatter must have made improvements to the property.
If a property owner wants to remove a squatter, they typically need to go through the legal eviction process. This involves serving the squatter with an eviction notice and then filing an unlawful detainer lawsuit if the squatter does not leave.
Please note: The laws surrounding squatting can be complex and may vary depending on the specific circumstances. It’s recommended that property owners or individuals dealing with a squatting situation consult with a legal professional for personalized advice.
For more information, you can refer to the Washington State Legislature’s website for the full text of the state’s trespassing and adverse possession laws.