Understanding Squatters’ Rights and Property Laws in North Carolina

The issue of squatters can be a complex and frustrating problem for property owners. With recent changes in legislation, like the one signed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, aimed at protecting homeowners from squatters, it’s important for property owners in North Carolina to understand their rights and the legal landscape. Although North Carolina’s laws may currently seem to favor squatters in some cases, knowing your rights and how to handle such situations can protect your property. That’s why our expert property management team comprehensive guide for property owners in North Carolina.

What are Squatters’ Rights?

Squatters’ rights, also known as adverse possession, refer to the legal allowance for a person to use or inhabit another’s property without permission. If a squatter occupies a property long enough under certain conditions, they can actually gain legal ownership. In North Carolina, the period for adverse possession must be continuous for 20 years. Squatters must also demonstrate that their occupation is exclusive, open, and notorious, meaning it is obvious to anyone, including the owner.

Property Rights of Landlords

Landlords and property owners have rights designed to protect their ownership and control over their property. These include the right to evict a tenant who is in violation of a lease agreement, the right to rent or sell their property, and the right to take legal action against unauthorized occupants. Understanding and exercising these rights within the framework of local laws is crucial for maintaining ownership and control.

Actions Property Owners Can Take Against Squatters

Dealing with squatters swiftly and legally is vital in protecting your property rights. Here are some actions you can take:

  1. Call the Police: If you suspect someone is squatting on your property, the first step should be to contact the police. However, this can sometimes be challenging if the squatter claims to have a right to be there.
  2. Serve a Notice: Legally notify the squatter of your intent to reclaim your property. This can sometimes encourage them to leave voluntarily.
  3. File for Eviction: Even though squatters don’t have a lease, an eviction process can still be necessary to remove them legally.
  4. Obtain a Court Order: If squatters refuse to leave after being served, obtaining a court order can be the next step. This legal document will enforce the removal of the squatter.
  5. Stay Vigilant: Regularly inspect your property, especially if it’s vacant, to ensure no one has moved in without permission.

Preventing Squatters from Taking Residence

Prevention is always better than cure, especially with property management. Here are some tips to help prevent squatters from living on

your property:

  1. Secure the Property: Ensure all entrances to the property are locked and secure. Install quality locks on doors and windows, and consider security systems or motion sensors.
  2. Regular Inspections: Regularly inspect the property, especially if it’s vacant. This not only helps in detecting any unauthorized entry early but also in addressing any maintenance issues that could be exploited by squatters.
  3. Clear Signage: Posting signs that indicate the property is private and trespassing is prohibited can deter squatters. It’s also helpful to display contact information for the owner or property manager so that neighbors can report suspicious activity.
  4. Proper Fencing: Building a sturdy fence around the property can act as a physical barrier to unauthorized entry.
  5. Engage the Community: Build relationships with neighbors and encourage them to report any unusual activity. A community that looks out for each other can be a strong deterrent to squatters.
  6. Legal Documentation Ready: Have all your property documents up to date and easily accessible. This documentation will be crucial in proving ownership and the right to the property in any legal confrontations with squatters.

By understanding squatters’ rights, knowing your own rights as a property owner, and taking proactive steps, you can better manage and protect your real estate assets in North Carolina. Our team at Oak City Properties can assist property owners with advice and management services to deal with or prevent issues effectively.

Oak City Properties is Here to Help

At Oak City Properties, we provide custom solutions and competitive quotes that tailor our services to what you really need. Our full property management service will work with you each step of the way when renting and maintaining your property. We believe hiring a property management company should be a transparent process built on trust and doing our absolute best to take care of your investment.

Want to learn more about our commitment to effective real estate investing and property management? Contact us today via the form below or call (919) 232-9222.

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