What are the legal ramifications of squatting in VT

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What are the legal ramifications of squatting in VT

There is an abandoned property in our
neighborhood that is owned by the bank. They
havent paid taxes in the last year our town
doesnt do tax liens certificates and no one is
maintaining the property. My son is currently
considering cleaning it up, paying the back
taxes and squatting in it. What could legally
happen to him if the bank suddenly realizes
they have the property. Can he go to jail? Will
he be fined? Would he have any right to
reimbursement for fixing it up? Is there
anything we can do about the property without
the banks help?

Asked on July 12, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Vermont

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Squatting is illegal--period, and end of sentence. If the owner (e.g. the bank) realizes that someone is squatting the home, they can evict him (while keeping his improvements) and even press charges for trespassing. There is no right to reimbursement for repairs or renovations that you do without the other person's knowledge or consent--you can't simply unilaterally do something and demand that another pays you for this. Squatting will NOT give the right to property unless he successfully squats there for 15 years (the "adverse possession" time frame in your state). He can't get insurance to protect him or his belongings in a home he does not own. He can't use it as his legal address for any official purpose (e.g. if he has children, to enroll them in school). He can't even legally connect utilties, though it's possible the utiltiy won't trouble him for proof that he owns or leases the property Tell him not to do this--there are alot of downsides and no upside unless, as stated, the bank takes no action for 15 years and he's lucky enough to not need insurance during that entire time.


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