What Are Squatters Rights in California

Many property owners in California have noticed that squatters are taking over their vacant homes much more frequently. The rights that squatters have, which is often referred to as adverse possession, basically means that someone has moved onto a property without permission. Although they aren't supposed to be there, squatters still have numerous rights that may make it difficult for them to be removed. This is especially true if they are able to establish some form of tenancy.


You Have 5 Years to Act in California

The California statutes for adverse possession are very clear, although some local jurisdictions may make their own modifications to the rules. Squatters must not only be occupying the property to gain legal possession of it, but they must also have made the property tax payments for 5 consecutive years to have a claim. Although they do not need to be continuously living on the property, then do need to be continuously maintaining the property. Squatters in California will typically pursue some form of tenancy rights instead of seek out adverse possession. By claiming oral contracts or rental agreements, a court may find that they may be entitled to the rights of a regular tenant, even if they are there without permission. If this occurs, a property owner will have to go through the full eviction process as they would with any other non-paying tenant.



Can Squatters Be Removed Right Away?

The key to the California code on squatters rights is that the property must be vacant. If someone is actively living on the property, then a squatter coming into the home may be violating the codes of criminal conduct. Skilled squatters know that producing documentation can bring the question of tenancy into the hands of the court, so it isn't uncommon for property owners to literally pay squatters to leave. Squatting can be a serious problem for a property owner, but as long as the California statutes for squatter's rights are known, it is a problem that can be solved. Make sure to act within the 5 year period, pay your own property taxes, and in doing so you will not need to worry about the laws regarding adverse possession.

Posted on Mar 03, 2015


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