Protecting Your Property: Understanding Squatting and Squatter’s Rights in New York

Are you a renter in New York? If so, it’s crucial to understand the complexities surrounding property ownership, especially when it comes to squatting and squatter’s rights. In recent years, stories of homeowners returning from vacations only to find strangers occupying their homes have highlighted the need for clarity in this area.

Squatting, simply put, occurs when someone moves into a property without the owner’s permission. In New York, if a person manages to reside in a property for 30 days or more without consent, they may gain what’s known as “Squatter’s Rights.” This legal status complicates matters for property owners, as they can no longer simply remove the squatter with police assistance.

It’s essential to differentiate between squatting and trespassing. While trespassing is clearly illegal, squatting involves the intent to claim ownership or rights to the property. This distinction affects the legal processes involved in eviction.

When dealing with squatters, landlords must follow a formal eviction process, which can be time-consuming and expensive. This process typically involves serving a 10-day notice to vacate and initiating a removal proceeding in local courts. Attempting to remove squatters unlawfully can lead to legal consequences for landlords, including civil suits.

In response to the rising number of squatting cases, the New York legislature is considering new laws to empower property owners. Senate Bill S8867 proposes a faster eviction process, allowing property owners to seek police intervention without court involvement. Assembly Bill A6894 aims to reclassify squatting as criminal trespassing and extend the time required for tenancy rights to take effect.

To protect against squatters, renters should remain vigilant and report unauthorized occupants promptly. Landlords can benefit from seeking legal counsel to navigate eviction processes and safeguard their properties effectively.

Ultimately, understanding the nuances of squatting and squatter’s rights in New York is crucial for both renters and property owners. By staying informed and proactive, individuals can better protect their investments and assets from unwanted legal battles.