What Are Squatters Rights in New York City?

In the state of New York, a squatter may gain adverse possession of a property if he occupies the land for a period of 10 years in a manner that is “actual, open and notorious, exclusive and continuous,” according to the Touro Law Review.

While nearly all states have laws around squatters rights, or adverse possession, New York added a unique requirement to its adverse possession claims in 2008, stating that in order to have a claim, the squatter must hold “a reasonable belief that he has title to the disputed property,” according to the Touro Law Review. This prohibits a squatter from benefiting by intentionally trespassing on someone else’s property.

Further, New York’s laws require that a squatter must make improvements to the property in the form of structural encroachments, says the Touro Law Review. This means that a squatter does not meet the requirements for adverse possession if he is simply mowing the lawn or building a fence.

A title owner can protect himself from losing property to adverse possession simply by surveying the land at least once every 10 years and “giving permission to those engaging in activities on his property,” according to the Touro Law Review.