Understanding Squatters Rights in Georgia

Adverse possession, which are also called squatter's rights, in Georgia are broken down into two categories of property. Land may be considered developed, which means there is a livable structure on the land. Undeveloped land is land with no livable structures. Under Georgia law, squatter's have the right to take possession of this property if they occupy it without permission for a specific period of time.

1. Property that is neglected by an owner and occupied without permission by a squatter for 7 years or more will qualify for adverse possession.

2. Undeveloped land must be occupied in some fashion without permission for a minimum of 20 years.

The difficulty for squatters in the adverse possession law is that the owner of the property cannot make any attempt to legally claim their ownership over that period of time. As long as the property owner intercedes before the statute of limitations kicks in, all claims to adverse possession rights are considered null and void. This intercession can be as simple as a rental offer to those living on the property.

Adverse Possession Applies In Other Instances As Well

Squatter's rights in Georgia also apply when there aren't even traditional squatters occupying a property. In one instance, adverse possession shifted property lines in Atlanta when one homeowner installed a brick pathway between houses. The other property owner did not realize the land was theirs instead of their neighbor's and in 20 years, with continuous use, the homeowner who installed the path filed a motion of adverse possession and was granted the land.

In another circumstance, an open field was used for gardening freely over the course of 20 years. It was used openly and the property owner made no effort to claim their ownership of the land. The person who openly occupied that land for 20 years, growing crops on it, filed a claim of adverse possession and was granted the deed. Property owners must periodically check their open lands to make sure it is not being openly used without permission. Vacant homes must be checked and an effort to claim possession of them made should unauthorized parties be found there. In doing so, the squatter's rights will be nullified and no adverse possession event will take place.

Posted on Mar 16, 2015


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