In What Circumstance Does the Government Grant Free Land?


Quick Answer

The United States government does not give free land under any circumstances. Individual towns may give people free land and usually require them to build a house on it within a certain amount of time, among other conditions.

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Full Answer

The federal government used to give out free land through the Homestead Act, which was originally passed in 1862 to encourage western expansion. People could claim 160 acres by registering, paying a small fee and then living on the land for five continuous years. However, the Homestead Act was abolished in 1976 and all unoccupied public lands were claimed by the government. Sometimes, the government does decide to sell off certain parcels, but they are not free.

Most places that offer free land are small, rural towns that are experiencing population loss. These towns are trying to bring in new residents with the land. Since the requirements are set by the town, the exact conditions vary. Most require that the house be a certain size or value to qualify. Some require the person to live there for a certain amount of time before getting full ownership of the land. These offers are often only available for a limited time. They also may have small fees or other costs associated with them, but it is still much less than full market value.

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