How fair are laws regarding adverse possession or squatters?

vandana7 By vandana7, 22nd May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Law

Do laws for adverse possession or squatters as they stand today make sense to you? They don't to me. They seem to come from times when invaders drove away people from the land they conquered.

Do you know what adverse possession / squatting laws are?

Basically, these laws allow homeless people to take away properties that are abandoned. But the operative words are "homeless people", and "abandoned". Does the law bother to verify whether the person was homeless? In India, adults stay with parents. Or parents stay with adult children. Neither can be termed as homeless because it is customary. And there should be laws regarding abandoned properties as well. Such as no property tax has been received by the government for the last 10 years. In fact, I see it as a great opportunity for government to collect more taxes on nearly abandoned properties, and people who invoke squatting laws should not be getting it free. It should come with some liability since the property then belongs to government, right?

Indian situation

In India, people often take homes for rent. Thereafter, they stop paying rent, claiming adverse possession. It is not only homes, even lands leased out can face the same fate. This surely is a serious issue, because the savings of the person who built or bought that property are invested in it. He or she was essentially looking for supplementing income at retirement. Is it then fair on the part of law to give the property to unscrupulous renters? This is what is now under consideration by judiciary because previous generations did not have access to many investment opportunities that current generations have. The legal process is long drawn out here. Getting verdict can take as much as 30 odd years in many cases. Therefore, it is laws that need to be amended.

Squatting in the US

There was a case of a couple that left for vacation, only to return to a home taken away by squatter. Surely, authorities need to inspect the home and see whether it does look abandoned or not. Any evidence of documents in the house or other fixtures, fittings, repairs, etc., within the last 10 odd years should prove that the house was not abandoned, right? Law should be made with fairness, and not for unscrupulous people to get away with not working hard.

A case from the US

I was watching one of those murder mysteries about somebody getting a home repaired using the services of homeless people, and eventually the homeless people decided they wanted it so they killed the owner. Home repairs can take some time, and even painting homes is not possible with kids and stuff around. Home owners will have to move out if they are giving contract for roof repair, or floor repair. Does their property not become vulnerable target for squatters?


I am smart enough to know that laws are not something that drop from the skies above. They are made by humans to ensure fairness in all dealings. Without them, we would be fighting amongst ourselves frequently. Therefore, I question unfairness of this law as it stands today. I am for time frame, and substantially higher property tax collection on abandoned properties. Hope Indian judiciary is able to impress government to pass relevant laws as it would bring down some cases reaching its doorstep. It is particularly hurting when landlord and tenant share cordial relationship till tenant shrewdly decides to take over the property.


Adverse Possession, Fairness, Landlord, Laws, Retirement Income, Squatters

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Hi...I suddenly remember ABBA ..I am nothing special...hope you like what I write, and I like what you write.

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author avatar Ptrikha
22nd May 2015 (#)

So far I only thought that in India laws are biased against tenants. For e.g- Tenants are asked for Rent receipts which many Landlords refuse. Tenants are also asked for PAN number of the Landlord, which again is refused by the Landlord at times. Then, landlords can increase rent by 10% each year, though in case of good relations, at times, the actual increase is lesser.
But may be some tenants are so bad that they try to occupy the rented accommodation, and create a legal face-off.

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author avatar snerfu
24th May 2015 (#)

Homeless people killing the owner for the house may be a reality we are forced to live with.
Law sounds nice but often falls flat in India.I think.

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author avatar vandana7
24th May 2015 (#)

It may not always be homeless people who do that. Even greedy relatives or friends may resort to that.

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