Squatter's Rights

Squatters’ Rights are legal protections afforded to those who occupy property they do not own without the owner’s permission. Although it may seem strange, some legal systems grant automatic rights to squatters which vary by the length of time the unauthorised occupation has continued. If the occupation has continued only for a brief time, it may be possible to construe it as the crime of trespass. A landlord’s resort in this case is to contact the police who may be able to remove the squatters from the property and prosecute them.

If too much time has expired for the occupation to be construed as trespass, the squatters acquire some legal rights to occupy the property. In this case the landlord must apply to a court for permission to evict them. The actual eviction may be carried out by officers of the court or by the police. If the squatting continues for an extremely long time, for example ten years or so, some legal systems then grant full ownership of the property to the squatter. Squatting occurs most commonly in run down areas of large cities, where properties often lie vacant for long periods of time. However, it is not unknown even in prosperous and highly populated urban areas.

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