Since the financial crises, squatters taking over vacant homes became a more frequent practice. So much so, California legislators have been working for years to enact stricter laws regarding the practice that is legally known as "adverse possession". Unfortunately, loop holes in existing laws allow certain rights to those who move into a vacant home without permission and refuse to leave.
California law dictates that if a squatter lives in a property long enough without the owner taking action to evict them, the squatter could eventually claim ownership. Namely, the squatter would only have to make property tax payments for five consecutive years.
Owners are often forced to spend thousands on legal fees and evictions. Squatters often vandalize homes and illegally tap public utilities. Some lawmakers are looking to make the practice a felony and hold offenders liable for the associated expenses.
Meanwhile, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4 percent while 15-year rates are near 3.25 percent.
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