Are There Squatters Rights In Virginia?

Are you looking to purchase a home in the state of Virginia? If so, you may consider exploring the possibility of squatting. However, it’s essential to understand your rights before moving. This article will cover squatters’ rights in Virginia, the history of this concept, the rights you may have as a settler, and other potential options if laws don’t protect you. A real estate lawyer may help, but it is highly recommended to look for a more reliable and quicker solution; for example, purchasing a residence with cash. Do not let the risks overpower the potential rewards of squatting.

What are Squatter’s Rights?

Squatting is a centuries-old tradition of uninvited occupation of another’s property. In its simplest terms, squatting involves a person taking up residence on abandoned or foreclosed land without explicit permission from the owner. Squatters may eventually gain certain civil rights to remain on the parcel when their actions closely adhere to applicable laws. A settler may become a cash buyer with a faster, more cost-effective way of claiming property through successful compliance. Nonetheless, the range of rights a squatter may receive is contingent on the jurisdiction and must be closely followed to remain in good standing.

VERIFY: Do squatters have rights in Virginia?

Definition of Squatters Rights

The ancient legal concept of Squatter’s Rights allows individuals to occupy or inhabit abandoned or unoccupied property without the rightful owner’s permission. Deeply rooted in English feudal law, these tenants can pay their dues, homestead the land, and protect it from deterioration while maintaining any structures onsite. Although there are no specific laws in Virginia on squatter’s rights, foreclosure or bankruptcy laws may be implemented. In addition, homestead rights can be established if the settler can demonstrate the intent to improve the land. However, it is still highly recommended to purchase the property without realtor fees through a cash buyer that can accomplish a quick and secure closure.

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Historical Roots

Rooting back to feudal times, squatters’ rights were often asserted by individuals living and completing duties on an estate—like farming, fencing, and herding livestock—for a certain number of years. In Medieval England, a series of laws known as ‘copyhold’ further confirmed peasants’ rights while in the U.S., settlers on their journey west used ‘squatting’ to grow crops on public land and lay claim to it. Later in the mid-19th century to early 20th century, many people, especially those in the South, received homesteads and land grants to encourage settlement. Virginia, however, has no explicit statutes regarding squatters, though some people might get temporary occupancy in the event of foreclosure or bankruptcy. To ensure one’s legal rights in this situation, it is advised to be counseled by a real estate attorney or, preferably, save up to become a cash buyer and skip the lengthy and costly process of dealing with a realtor.

Duties and Obligations of Squatters

Squatting is all the buzz in Virginia, where legal protection of the practice provides an opportunity for those without property to gain a home. Foreclosure, bankruptcy, and homestead rights can confer squatters’ rights, allowing them to take possession, keep the property secure and habitable, and stave off eviction, often without much financial cost. In most cases, cash buyers find it quicker and more economical to purchase an abandoned property than a squatter without the expensive fees associated with real estate agents.

Are There Squatters Rights In Virginia?

With its long history in the American real estate industry, squatting is illegal in Virginia; no laws grant squatters any legal right to take possession of the property. It may seem like a convenient solution, but squatting is incredibly risky. The consequences can be severe and costly, and seeking approval from the rightful owner is much safer than attempting to squat. So, if you’re in a swoon of Virginia real estate, keep away from squatting and opt for a cash sale instead. Cash buyers are often the best way to buy since they enable a purchase that doesn’t require fees or slowdowns, thus assuring a smoother transaction.

Foreclosure/ bankruptcy laws

Virginia foreclosure and bankruptcy laws mandate that squatting on someone else’s land is a tenure fraught with legal issues, fines, and possibly eviction. Even if done secretly for many years, the land is lawfully owned by someone, so occupying it without their knowledge violates the law. For those interested in vacant, unowned land, a cash offer to purchase the property is the best course of action. Realtors can help make finding this land straightforward, though their services come at a cost. Those looking to buy can make a cost-effective entrance by offering a cash deal to the owner for an unowned property.

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Homestead rights

Homestead rights in Virginia offer invaluable financial protection to families who own their homes. These laws guard the homeowner’s family against the financial risk of injury, death, foreclosure, or bankruptcy up to $25,000 for the owner and spouse, and $5,000 for each child. As determined by state law, it is generally necessary for house occupants to live there for a particular time before these protections kick in. This legal safety net promotes financial stability and helps to shield families from debt caused by various misfortunes. If you need to sell your home quickly and without fees, you may be well served by seeking a cash buyer.

No specific laws for Squatters

Squatting in Virginia is risky, as the state has no established legal rights to protect those looking to occupy a home or piece of land. Without specific regulations for squatters, eviction, and legal proceedings can be initiated without warning. Moreover, changes in foreclosure or bankruptcy laws may force settlers to exit any given property, making it challenging to remain in one place. Although homestead rights allow the occupation of a home or land after sustained occupancy, settlers cannot take advantage of these rights without the owner’s consent. Thus, seeking a cash buyer is the best option to avoid a traditional real-estate sale’s lengthy process and expensive costs.


In summary, Squatter’s Rights are not an approved route in Virginia, although foreclosure and bankruptcy laws provide some securement for those with established homesteads. Although these options may offer temporary alleviation, they certainly don’t represent a permanent solution. Therefore, you should consider a cash buyer if you are looking for a quick sale; typically a cash purchase requires no additional financial investment such as realtor fees and can be finalized much faster.

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Call Now (818) 651-8166

Why Sell Your Home to ASAP Cash Offer?

  1. You Pay Zero Fees 
  2. Close quickly 7-28 days.
  3. Guaranteed Offer, no waiting.
  4. No repairs required, sell “AS IS”
  5. No appraisals or delays.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you evict a squatter in Virginia?

Evicting a squatter from your home in Virginia is possible, but it can be complex. First of all you will need to obtain an Unlawful Detainer Order or Writ of Possession from the court where jurisdiction lies over the property in question. To get this order, you must file the paperwork with the clerk’s office and have those papers served to any occupants on site. Once that has been done, there are certain timelines for tenants to respond or go through with their eviction proceedings back in court if necessary. If they fail to do so within that time frame then authorities may opt for forcible removal services at the expense and request of said homeowner looking into evicting someone illegally occupying their space against their wishes

How do I claim squatters rights in VA?

Squatters rights in Virginia are derived from the longstanding principle of adverse possession. This allows individuals to gain legal title to land that has been abandoned and neglected by its rightful owner for at least 20 years, provided they meet certain conditions established by Common Law or State Statute. In order to assert a claim of squatters’ rights within VA, you must fulfill all statutory requirements including: proving actual use/occupation of the property for more than twenty continuous years without interruption; paying real estate taxes on it over that period; notifying everyone with an interest in the property (such as other tenants or mortgage holders) about your intent to take possession; and building any improvements necessary for reasonable use while living there—including having access roads clearly marked off. If these criteria have been met satisfactorily, then squatter’s possessory action is likely permitted under Virginia law.

What is the adverse possession law in Virginia?

Virginia’s adverse possession law allows a party to take title of land that has been abandoned or neglected by its rightful owner for at least 20 years. To qualify, the claimant must occupy the property in an open and notorious manner—that means tending it as if they truly own it—and continuously doing so without interruption from the former legal owner. Furthermore, this occupancy must be documented with tax records showcasing payment being made on said land over multiple years. If all these criteria are met, then ownership is deemed transferred after two decades have passed since occupation began under Virginia’s state law governing squatters’ rights.

What state has the shortest adverse possession?

Adverse possession regulations vary by state, and some states such as Massachusetts have the shortest period of 20 years. On the other hand, many states require a 30-year duration to gain title via adverse possession; California is known for having an impressive 5-year timeframe for certain kinds of real estate. It’s important to research each state’s laws specific to claiming title through a legal right and determine whether they are applicable in your situation prior to initiating any action on potentially disputed property lines or with neighboring landowners.
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