What are squatters rights in North Carolina?
To qualify for squatter rights in North Carolina, a squatter must be continuously occupying a property for 20 years (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-38, et seq; 1-17 (2015)). They must also:
- Occupy the property alone
- Not hide their presence there
- Treat the property as if it were their own ensuring that it is kept
If they are able to satisfy these requirements, they can make an adverse possession claim on said property.
Additionally, still in North Carolina, a squatter, when occupying state property, must be continuously living there for at least 30 years.
What is a Squatter?
Oftentimes we confuse the terms ‘squatting’ and ‘trespassing’; we may even believe that a delinquent tenant, or a tenant whose lease has expired and refuses to leave the property, is a squatter or a trespasser. This is not the case, they are in fact three different things, though one may become another with certain conditions (based on provisions laid down in the law).
A squatter is an individual whom, without legal ownership or permission from the legal owner, occupies a property.
What are the Differences between Squatters Rights in North & South Carolina?
As we all know laws differ across states. We may be inclined to think that the laws in both of the Carolinas are the same, but no matter how close the name or the proximity, they are two different states, the laws are different.
In South Carolina the squatters rights law requires a squatter to occupy the land continuously for a period of ten (10) years, as well as possess a ‘color of title’ in order to make an adverse possession claim.
Across the border, into North Carolina however, a ‘color of title’ is not required but the occupancy period requirement is twice as long.
How do I remove squatters?
The Residential Buyer would like to inform/ remind you that removing squatters on your own is illegal in the states of North & South Carolina.
There is a legal eviction process that needs to be followed; if this process is not correctly carried out or you take matters into your own hands, you may open yourself up to lawsuits, from the squatter(s), and cause the eviction process to be drawn out.
The first stage of the eviction process would be serving the squatter with a ‘10-days notice to quit’. The final stage includes the court issuing, to the sheriff, a ‘writ of possession’; this writ directs the sheriff to evict the squatter.
How can I prevent squatting?
Protecting your property from squatters is more simple than it may look at first glance. Knowing your state’s required occupancy period tells you exactly how often you need to check on your property to ensure a squatter never meets the required occupancy period to make an adverse possession claim.
Secure your property from squatters by:
- Fencing your property and blocking entrance(s)
- Erecting visible ‘no trespassing’ or ‘private property’ signs at the entrance(s) and in and around other areas of your property
- Visiting and self-inspecting your property
- Renting/ leasing your property
Prefer to have someone else handle it? The Residential Buyer perhaps?
If you have squatters on your property but would prefer to not go through the process of removing them from your property, then reach out! The Residential Buyer would love to buy your home fast and would love to take care of the problem for you.