I was just hoping for feedback with advice or success stories from people that have pulled something similar off in an area with a pretty dense population.
I wish I could drop the daily grind like he did.
If the squatting land is that beautiful, what makes you think there isn't someone there already?? I don't know how you could pull that off and still hold a job--hygeine is a challenge in that scenario.
Thanks for the feedback R Scott, I envy your friend too, maybe someday I'll be to that point.
I know a bit about squatting houses that are already there, not sure what the case is with building your own house that doesn't have an address or anything.
I can message you some potentially useful links if you'd like, though.
I looked into homesteading when I was young, healthy, adventurous and single. Though the law was still on the books, the Dept. of Interior had interpreted it in such a way as to make it impossible to apply for successfully.
I live near the Dell on the Jordan River. Being set aside as a riparian preserve, naturally, it has become a major homeless camp. I met a man a couple of years back who had moved here from Texas and settled into the Dell seven years previous. He said that he didn't have a choice at first, but then he got used to it and he liked saving money he would have spent on rent. The flooding the past couple of years had "flushed" the homeless out, but I have seen smoke from campfires this year, so I guess they moved right back in after it dried out.
Those with jobs buy passes to the Gym at the Community College or the County Rec Center to take care of their hygiene needs and a County Health Clinic is also close by.
The biggest downside is the drug dealing and using, prostitution and violent crime, and never knowing when the police are going to sweep the area, which they do at random intervals at random times. As a homeowner living nearby, I appreciate the effort by the authorities, but I do feel for the folks that for some reason feel that they must live as vagrants.
There were three instances that I can remember here in Utah of people living in tents to save rent. Two lived legitimately in campgrounds, one a student at USU in Logan and another a BYU student in Provo. The third was a bit of a character who escaped a divorce and subsequent lost job by living in a reinforced tent in the hills up North Canyon above North Salt Lake (that was 30 years ago, there is a subdivision of luxury homes there now). After the location of his camp was publicized, he was evicted.
I am afraid that, even if you find some property out in the sticks, you may still be restricted by code. Many rural counties in Utah have found a bit of a goldmine in recreational property owners, so do your homework before committing.
If you are in Salt Lake County, there are a lot of foreclosed properties at bargain basement prices, many of them in very nice neighborhoods -- most, not so nice. I really don't see how you could get away with squatting in the metropolitan area for more than a few months. Lots of nosy neighbors -- me included.
The foothills area is probably still an option, if you are stealthy. Be careful not to be mistaken for a kidnapping child molester, or a pot grower, or stumble onto a pot grower's field. Could be dangerous. There are also more mountain lions and bears in the area now. Oh yeah, and don't plan on living there during the hunting season. If they don't shoot you, hunters are very good at stumbling onto lost and hidden things.
I don't know how viable it is anymore, but 30 or 40 years ago, there were quite a few mining claim holders who lived on their claims. There was a group of retro hippies up in the Raft River Mtns that were using that scam(approach) to base their commune on. That may also be a good way to get around code restrictions, at least if you are single. My brother once moved some stuff for a man who lived in a camouflaged compound in the Anza Borrega Desert on a claim that he was "mining." Who knows? You might strike it rich.
On the other hand there are thousands of acres of public lands ,especially in the western US, were you could stay as long as you like ,as far as I am concerned. Look up the desert land act. If you are into permiculture you could file for ownership on a piece of BLM land for a few bucks an acre. But it would require some work to jump through the hoops of turning it from desert into a farm.
Just my opinion but adverse possession is theft.
Most squatters in the US make no claim of ownership, they are just trying to hang out without paying rent or a mortgage and move on when found out. Unfortunately, squatters are often associated with criminal activities, and rightly so, it being a criminal activity as well.
There is a form of squatting that does have some legal protection, which I am in no way endorsing. Renters facing eviction can often remain on the property for many months before the authorities step in and physically evict them. Renters with rent-to-own options have been able to drag out the legal process for years. There is a rental in my neighborhood that had bad luck three tenants in a row. The landlord only collected rent for 6 months out of 36. He was in the hole over $20,000 with taxes and repairs. I don't pity him, as he is not a good landlord or a good neighbor unless forced to by the city, but he is a good object lesson about the risks of owning rental property.
The Desert Land Act, as currently administered, is a farce. Don't even bother with the paperwork. The BLM will never allow an application under the the Act to proceed, at least that is what I was told by the BLM 30 years ago when I attempted to start the process, and things have gotten much tighter since then.
Unfortunately, the days of cheap desert property ended with the proposed MX Missile project, also about 30 years ago. Desert property jumped up 5 to 10 times previous value and never went back down, even after the MX project was scrapped. Those prices made it nearly impossible, economically, to develop marginal land for sustainable agriculture.
An option in Utah is the lease or purchase of School Trust Lands.
I in no way advocate illegal activity and hope that I have given you some viable, and legally acceptable, options.
In researching "adverse possession" in Utah, the relevant statute can be found here: http://www.le.utah.gov/UtahCode/section.jsp?code=78B-2
You will need to fully understand the law as well as its implementation in the county you will be attempting to live in, i.e., what the judge is likely to decide. Remember that the owner has a lot of time to reclaim the property, 4 or 7 years, so you take a fairly significant risk if you settle in too much. My cousin did all his homework, even spending quite a bit of time and money searching for a missing heir. He thought he had it pretty well locked in, only to have it all taken away when the missing heir finally appeared, just before the deadline.
Some other gray area options are (all right, they are all illegal, strictly speaking): renting business or industrial property and living in it; living in a van or commercial vehicle; living in a camper or trailer on someone's property, with or without permission; renting a storage unit, shed or garage and living in it.
If you choose to live outside the law, you need to be ready to suffer the consequences. Illegal trespass can result in anything from a slap on the wrist to serious jail time. Building without proper permits can result in removal of the structure plus fines. If you are OK living with those risks then at least be careful.
If all else fails, there is always your parent's basement (no longer an option for some of us, never was an option for a few).
When you get around to looking for your out-of-town getaway, give me a heads-up. I would be happy to brainstorm with you about it.
Little Bit Farm
Andrew Parker wrote:I agree, adverse possession is theft. Purchasing a property at a tax sale is perfectly legitimate. Title is withheld for a period of years, varying from state to state, to give the owner a chance to reclaim the property before permanent transfer of the title. That is the only legal squatting that I am aware of. In some cases the local sheriff is used to evict the tax delinquent owner from the property. Most property sold at tax sales are abandoned..
Keep in mind that the payments for my own 5 acres, whith a $20,000 mortgage, are about $175 a month.
Every blessed time I find a possible parcel to look at, my computer freezes and I have to re-start it! For some reason, my computer cannot handle the land for sale sites for Utah! I have not had that problem in other states!
This is how I find inexpensive land in a computer search.
I search utah + land for sale
I choose a land company, not a realty company. Realty companies simply prefer to handle city houses..
I ask the land company search utah county or I choose a neighboring county that might not be a bad commute.
And, I ask for a search on ascending price.
OTHER buzz words that have done well for me over the years have been "hunting land" and "recreational land". Hunting land is what they call land that is rough and more difficult to build on.
A great many communities allow you to live in a trailer while you build your own home. That means you can get a used, inexpensive pop-up trailer or whatever, move out, and start digging/building/gardening.
It can be a challenge to find a bank that will finance bare land but they are out there. When we bought out land th realtor was able to tell us which bank would give us financing. The big banks mostly do not: the ones that will are usually the smaller local banks.
Lastly, start at your job and tke the next major road to go outside of town. Drive a reasonable commute. *THAT* is a good place to start looking for your "hunting land" or whatever. Heck, I heard of one man who had a cheap apartment in town and a country home on land outside o town: he got off work and would ddrive from his work to his country home, where he gardened and drank coffe while the sun came up! Then on Sunday he would return to the city, so that he could report for work on Monday..
My health tanked before we could move to our property. However, I have established daffodils, asparagus, and Amrican Plum. The plum trees I got from my state forestry department for 50 cents each. I am also babying an apricot tree: I think that it will need no help from me after it is established but I planted it just before the drought hit. So it did need some care this year.
Another good thing to establish would be winter wheat, as it ripens before summer gets hot and dry, but I haven't done anything with that because I do not want to eat the wheat berries at this time.
Still in the future is a row of daffodils along side the road to make it pretty, another row of daylilies behind the daffodils, some Jeruselum artichokes, possibly persimmons, and probably a row of peonys. Owning land is a hoot!
Ahh, Provo. A very crowded rental and job market (that means high rent and low wages) with around 40,000 students between BYU and UVU, probably that many more just hanging around for the ambiance (student wards, for those in the know), and double that number of those unwilling to leave the womb after graduation. Rent would be cheaper closer to your job, but you will be outside the student lifestyle ambiance. I rented sleeping rooms to save money when I lived in Provo, 27 years ago. I paid around $60-$80/month. I don't know what a decent sleeping room goes for now, but I assume it would be more than $200/month.
As far as property, you don't really get much breathing room going South, unless you go a long way. East is problematic when it comes to winter commuting. North, well, I live North and it is pretty crowded here, but worth looking around for some hidden gems. West is your best bet, within easy commuting distance. Pioneer Crossing gets you out to Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain pretty fast and Cedar Fort is not much further. Rush Valley is just over the ridge beyond Camp Floyd with some small communities like Vernon, Rush Valley Town and Ophir. There may be some properties available in Rush Valley, now that they are shutting down the chemical weapons incinerator at TAD South Area. If you don't mind going a bit further, there is a small community called, Terra, just over Johnson Pass in Skull Valley. There was a guy many years ago that would dress up in skins and a spear and jump out and scare people driving the twisting turns of the pass on their way to and from Dugway.
I am familiar with the Fruitland properties posted by Terri. I believe the previous owners of my house had weekend property in that area. When I was in my early 20s, I almost bought 20 acres of bottom land on Red Creek along Strawberry River Road about a mile south of US 40. Gorgeous scenery, but just too far away. Still, I should have done it, if only for the investment. Now, with the new highway between Park City and Heber, it is much more doable, but still just outside of commuting range, especially in winter. More recently (only 17 years ago), I looked at Tabiona and Hanna as possibilities for telecommuting (only needing to go to the Salt Lake area or Dugway two or three times a month). Good thing I didn't move there because the company lost the contract three years later and the work went to Maryland -- too far away, even for telecommuting.
Or take a chance on these. Credit union taking offers. ( The maps give the wrong location)
That search took 15 minutes. I am sure that there are other properties within 45 minutes drive that a working person could invest in.
Make sure that the property you settle for has no restrictions on it and has water rights or access to water rights.
Herriman was a good place to try some of the things discussed at Permies, but no more. It has gentrified. Lots there are having $300,000+ homes put on them. Either of those properties could be a good investment, with the Mountain View Corridor going in, if they can resolve the sewer issue. Though Salt Lake County is filling in rapidly, there are still many large lots (0.5+ acres) that can be found at good prices, but it takes some looking, and you might have to live in West Valley City or Magna (not so bad if you are in a good neighborhood, and you get used to the water after a few years. ). A problem with urban or suburban property is zoning and livestock. Some cities are not livestock friendly and only allow livestock on agricultural property, no matter how large the lot, Others are more friendly and have established formulas based on lot size).
Nephi is not quite a bedroom community, but it is getting close (that 40 minutes from Provo is without traffic). Who would have thought, 30 years ago, that Santaquin would be considered a reasonable commute, or for that matter, Cedar Valley (Eagle Mountain), Tooele, Grantsville, or Heber City? Well, my father commuted from Bountiful to Dugway for over 20 years (90 miles one-way. It would be 105 miles now, with most offices moved to Ditto Area), so I guess if you are properly motivated, it is doable. I am familiar with property in Tooele County because my father was always looking for property that would cut the commute. Finally, after all 8 kids were out of the house, he rented housing on base (a very picturesque setting) and lived there with my mother during the 4 day work week, returning to their home in Bountiful for the weekends. He appeared to have gained back several years of life, after the move.
A national model code has been available since 2000 (see the Wikipedia article on "international building code"). Counties and municipalities usually adopt the model code verbatim, first, because of legal reasons (they don't want to be sued when a structure they authorized, contrary to the International Code, fails), and second, because they are sometimes lazy, spineless and/or unimaginative (there is a lot in the International Code that has no relevance to safety, they are simply filling in the blanks for the lazy, spineless and/or unimaginative).
A cautionary note about property in the Great Basin Desert. Ground water (usually the only water available) often contains high levels of heavy metals and radon. If you or someone in the household is at risk for cancer, invest in a reverse osmosis unit or a distiller, or take bottled water (from a pure source or store bought).
Now I'm looking at a 40 acre field for $700 of which there will be less than $100/ moth in property taxes.