Charlotte, NC asked in Real Estate Law for North Carolina

Q: How do we claim a house that is abandoned

The house just sit there the taxes are kept up but the house is abandoned

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1 Lawyer Answer
Rachel Lea Hunter
Rachel Lea Hunter
  • Cary, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: You do not "claim" a house that is abandoned. Someone has to be the record owner of a house. Who is it? Have you checked the real estate records? Does a bank own it (as in the case of a foreclosure) or a person? If a person, is the person still alive? If they are dead, has an estate been probated for that person?

If this is a foreclosure and the bank now owns, you can make an offer to buy the property from the bank. The bank will probably be relieved to sell it and be rid of it. If it is owned by a person who is deceased, you can see if there is an estate and if so, see if the home can be acquired from the personal representative/beneficiaries. If there is no estate probated, then you could apply to become administrator and "buy" the home from the estate and distribute the money to heirs if they are in agreement.

If the property truly is abandoned, there is no right to claim it by adverse possession unless you have occupied the property and used it for 20 years or more.

Who is paying taxes on the property if its abandoned? Someone has to be paying the taxes. If not, you could acquire the property at a tax sale. If the property is in foreclosure but has not been sold you also could bid at the foreclosure sale if you have sufficient funds.

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