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Photo by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC 2.0

I was recently quoted in Credit.com’s article, “Do Squatters Actually Have Rights?” You can read the entire article here.

The article addresses the concept of squatters’ rights, the idea that someone can simply move into someone else’s—often abandoned—property and thereby acquire rights to occupy it. I serve as a source for the article, providing insight into the actual provisions of various real estate laws and how they implicate the notion of squatters’ rights. As I state and the article supports, squatters’ rights are largely a myth, representing a distortion of the common law concept of adverse possession.

The law of adverse possession largely developed as a way to settle boundary disputes, not as a means to circumvent property rights to gain ownership of someone else’s house. Because taking ownership of property by adverse possession takes several years of open, notorious use of the property without the permission of the landowner, the ability of someone to gain ownership of a home merely by living in it is theoretically possible but practically inconceivable.

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