Squatting in California

Reading news of thousands of squatters in New York and Atlanta etc. Owners getting arrested for changing lock in their own homes.

Question: what’s the situation in CA? Can someone move into a vacant home and claim renters/squatters rights?

A group of squatter moms tried that in Oakland. Didn’t end well for them.

Our rules for “adverse possession” are much more stringent:

In California, a squatter can gain ownership of a property through adverse possession if they meet certain requirements, including paying property taxes for five years in a row. The squatter must also:

  • Occupy the property
  • Improve the property
  • Pay all taxes
  • Have exclusive possession
  • Have hostile possession
  • Make their occupation obvious

I know 5-year is the requirement in CA but does it actually apply? For example, in Georgia the requirement is 20-year. However, there are thousands of squatters in Atlanta!

Is it all up for grabs? Or, is there is any logic to it?

I feel that what happens depends a lot on local jurisdictions. Richer towns like Palo Alto are more ready to kick out squatters.

So if even Oakland kicks out squatters I don’t think we need to worry too much. Obviously it doesn’t hurt to put up better defenses like installing a home security system.

But I am glad to see national media is reporting those squatter cases. “Squatter’s rights” is one of the absolutely most idiotic concepts I have ever seen. Even worse than “teaching high school math is racist”.

I knew a guy in the 80’s who got a beautiful Daly City City home with views of the ocean by squatting. In addition to paying back taxes and occupying for 5 years he also had to place an ad in a local paper as a good faith effort to find the owner. He did initially break in but did minimal damage doing so. Some neighbors had been trying to locate the owner for years. The yard was an eyesore and some folk figured they could get the house for cheap; maybe the owner was unaware of its value. They were upset when that guy just broke in and took it. One guy called the cops and when it was calmly explained to them that the occupier was homesteading it (he had all the legal references handy) they just said “good luck.”

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There used to be a serial squatter in the Sunset. How do I know? Well, the guy that I caught (the police did) in my Sunset home when I was not yet remodeling it (I was still staying elsewhere) turned out to be the same dude that my buddy caught several years later with his remodel. European blondish hair guy who was relatively well dressed (leather jacket, etc). All these people do is look for vacant Sunset homes that are deserted for a number of reasons and they break in with a ladder (that’s how he got into mine, via bathroom window entry from the roof) or get pass the front tunnel gate. The dude even brought in a CONSOLE tv (remember those?)!!! What nerve!!!

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