Squatter Rights in the City of New York

December 1, 2021

Yes! In New York, squatters enjoy legal rights. They must meet all adverse possession standards to be eligible for adverse possession. They may be arrested for trespassing if they do not comply. In the state of New York, a homeless person can use squatters' rights to gain property.

When a squatter's lease ends, they might refuse to move out and refuse to pay rent in the future. In New York City, this type of squatter is referred to as a holdover tenant. A squatter can enter an abandoned structure and start living there.

Continue reading this article where we will expound on Squatter Rights in the City of New York!

Squatter Rights in the City of New York

Squatters are granted several fundamental rights under the law. They do not, however, have the same rights as renters, and their rights are only effective for as long as they meet all of the prerequisites for obtaining adverse possession. Otherwise, they may be considered criminals and detained by the authorities.

Squatters' rights allow a homeless person to attempt to take possession of a property by taking advantage of the situation. This is due to the fact that, as squatters, they will be exempt from the need to pay rent.

There are, however, certain exceptions to these norms. The names of them are as follows:

  • Trespassers who make improvements to the property they have trespassed on may be able to escape being penalized for their actions. Beautification may include activities such as landscaping, waste removal, and flower planting, among other things.
  • It is possible to avoid being charged with trespassing if one can demonstrate that he or she was acting in response to an emergency situation.
  • To initiate the procedure of an adverse possession claim, the property in issue must be vacant and not in use at the time of the claim.

Note, it's very important to understand the difference between a trespasser and a squatter if you end up in a situation that involves law enforcers.

Squatters who want to claim adverse possession must have lived on the land publicly and unlawfully for a period of at least 10 years without interruption. It takes just 30 days after a prior tenant's lease term has expired in New York City for them to be granted squatter's rights.

It is possible for someone who openly moves into and fixes a property that has been neglected for a period of time to obtain ownership of the property once that period of time has expired.

According to the concept of "adverse possession," land should not be allowed to lay unused. These safeguards are rendered ineffective if the property is acquired in secrecy or by fraud. In order to be eligible for legal title under New York's adverse possession statutes, a person must have been in possession for at least 10 years and have paid taxes throughout that time period.

Adverse Possession Requirements and Criteria

All the criteria needs to be met to gain adverse possession, for article Squatter Rights in the City of New York

For squatter rights in the city of New York to be invoked an adverse possession claim has to be approved, and each state across the US has its own set of essential conditions.

According to one of the arguments for these criteria, they provide the true owner of the property with a variety of options for preventing the adverse possessor from obtaining possession of the land. The fact that the land may be exploited rather than being neglected and undeveloped is another basis for adverse possession.

Open and Notorious

Open and notorious means that the presence of a trespasser on the property must be clear to anyone, including a property owner who makes a reasonable attempt to investigate.

An opposing possessor must be utilizing the property in a public manner and not be concealing their use of the property from the public eye. It allows the genuine owner the ability to observe and enforce their ownership rights if their usage is visible to the public. Unless the owner knows what they are doing, he or she will not have the chance to exclude the trespasser from the property.

Time Limits Under the Law

A time limit is set by law in each state for an adverse possessor to utilize the land before it becomes their own. Before the opposing possessor to get title to the property in New York, the land must be utilized for at least 10 years

Hostile claim

In the context of adverse possession, "hostility" indicates that the person claiming ownership of a disputed piece of land must show that his or her possession constitutes a genuine invasion of or infringement on the rightful owner's property rights.

The claim or use of the property by the hostile possessor must be incompatible with the claim and use of the land by the owner. If the opposing possessor was granted permission to utilize the property by the landowner, they will not be able to bring an adverse possession claim against them.

Exclusive and Continuous

In order for an opposing possessor to obtain title, he must be in possession of the property for the following periods of time: Continuous—The property must be in the ownership of a single adverse possessor at all times. The opposing possessor has sole control of the property and does not share it with anyone else (unless in private with himself).

Ten years must have passed without a break in order for the New York criteria to be fulfilled. However, even if the trespasser may leave and return for brief periods of time, their usage of the land cannot be interrupted.


As a result, the adverse possessor is effectively exploiting the land as if it were his or her own property. The adverse possessor is actually in possession of someone else's property. The true owner has a cause of action for trespass, which must be pursued within the statute of limitations. 

Color of title

 A person who possesses color of title through adverse possession rather than a genuine purchase transaction has the color of title. If a person successfully gains land by adverse possession, they will have entire physical authority over the property, but no legal title to it.

The opposing possessor must have an erroneous claim to the property, such as a faulty title or some other document that claims to transfer the land to them, according to the laws of various states.

Possession of Harmful Substances Can Be Prevented

One of the most straightforward strategies for avoiding an adverse possession claim is to conduct frequent inspections of vacant or undeveloped property in your neighborhood. An intrusion from a neighbor might also be considered adverse possession. if you observe that your neighbor is routinely utilizing a portion of your property, it may be prudent to provide them formal permission to do so in order to prevent them from gaining ownership of the land in the future via adverse occupation.

In New York, is it possible to turn off utilities for a squatter?

It is illegal to remove a squatter without judicial intervention under New York City and state law. That simply means that a squatter cannot be locked out of the apartment. Even if you successfully evicted the squatter and won your case in court, this is true. To put it another way, property owners are not authorized to evict squatters themselves and must rely on the court and the Sheriff's office to do so. Because most squatters are tenants, landlords cannot cut off utilities indiscriminately in an attempt to force the squatter to leave or make them uncomfortable.

How to Evict a Squatter in the State of New York

Returning the keys to a property after been evicted

The eviction procedure relating to squatter rights in the City of New York State is quite difficult and time-consuming.

You'll want to avoid going through it if at all possible. If you are unfamiliar with real estate and/or real estate law, you should seek the assistance of an expert real estate agent or property manager to remove the squatter from your property.

Notice Requirement of 14 Days

The normal notice term for eviction is 14 days, which is regarded to be the industry standard. Your notification informs the renter that they must either pay the whole amount of rent outstanding or vacate the premises within 14 days of receiving the notice.

The majority of the time, it works when the individual is a former renter who continues to reside in the property after the lease has expired. It is permissible to charge them rent in such circumstances. After the notification period has expired, you may file a lawsuit in court to have the property evicted.

Notice of Squatters' Rights for 30 Days

You'll send this notification if the squatter has been living on the property for more than 30 days and is now deemed to be a legitimate renter of the home.

This notification informs the squatter that they have 30 days to vacate their premises. If the renter does not vacate the premises within 30 days, you may begin the eviction procedure. After one year or longer of continuous occupancy, you must provide them with a 60-day notice to vacate the premises.

Take into consideration the fact that the squatter will likely fight the case in court in order to remain on the property for as long as feasible. To prepare for these court processes, landlords should get acquainted with the eviction laws of the State of New York.

Requirement for a 10-Day Notice

It is acceptable to send this notification to someone who has only been a resident of the property for under 30 days. In the notice, you will need to inform the squatter that they have ten days to depart the property, as well as the basis for their removal. Defend your property from squatters who refuse to leave after ten days. You may launch a lawsuit against them.

Squatters: What You Can Do to Prevent Them

If your rental home is temporarily vacant, you should be cautious. It might quickly attract uninvited guests or squatters who could cause significant damage. Landlords may be obliged to pay not just for the damage, but also for the loss of rental income while repairs are being done. The good news for landlords is that there are things they can do to reduce the chances of squatters taking over their buildings.

Boost safety

A home surveillance system that is connected to a mobile device

An alarm system is an excellent approach to ensure the safety of your home. It provides homeowners with peace of mind, particularly while they are on vacation.

Installing a home security system will provide a homeowner with several benefits. This procedure is necessary whether or not your property is inhabited. As a deterrent to unwanted guests considering breaking in, install deadlocks on outside doors and security screens on accessible windows. Having a functioning local or back-to-base alarm system can also help keep your vacant property safe.

Or, with the growing advances in technology- consider getting a security system that can be hooked up to your smartphone. This will allow you to keep tabs on your property from wherever you are and you will be alerted to any problems almost immediately.

On a regular basis, inspect the property.

When a renter vacates a residence, the landlord is required to conduct a formal property inspection. Incoming condition reports with associated photographs and videos can be used as proof if there are any unsolved issues after the tenant has vacated the property.

It's recommended to hire a gardener if the property will be vacant for an extended length of time. Long grass, overgrown plants, and excess leaves covering pathways can make it obvious that the home is vacant, making squatters a target.

Make it appear as if the residence is occupied.

To avoid encountering a legal case concerning Squatter Rights in the City of New York, you should try to make it appear as if someone is living in the property. This will deter squatters who are looking for evidence that a property is uninhabited. 

To provide the idea that someone is home when the lights switch on, landlords could install automatic motion sensors or timed lighting systems. Getting rid of any surplus mail or newspapers in the vicinity is a smart idea. It's also a good idea to let a trusted neighbor know that the house is empty so that they can keep an eye on it.

Make sure your landlord and your building are covered by insurance.

Understanding that a good landlord insurance policy should cover malicious damage to the property, such as damage to the carpet or blinds, is vital.

Damage to the structure itself, however, maybe the landlord's responsibility unless the landlord has enough building insurance coverage. If a landlord's property is damaged and can't be rented for a week to 52 weeks, building insurance can help him keep his rental income.

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