Laws vary from state to state, but across the United States it is quite difficult for someone to establish squatting rights on private property. To do so, they’d typically have to demonstrate that whatever they’ve been doing on the property has been going on for a long time (years) in plain sight of everyone, and the owner has done nothing to either allow or stop it.
In some states, the squatter also has to have paid property taxes over that period of time. If the squatter is not able to demonstrate these things, they’re simply a trespasser and subject to whatever civil and criminal trespass laws and penalties apply in that jurisdiction. There are separate laws that govern tenant and landlord rights, and hosts should be aware not to establish a tenancy.
If you’re concerned about this issue, we’d recommend you look into local laws in your state, county and town. Here are some additional suggestions:
- Book Hipcampers through Hipcamp’s website to establish that permission has been given to the Hipcamper for a specific period of time.
- Take immediate action if a Hipcamper overstays the booking period by reaching out to us, sending the Hipcamper a letter from a lawyer, or calling local law enforcement.
- Post signs along the property that read “No Trespassing. Right to pass by permission, and subject to control, by owner.” (See California Civil Code Section 1008 for an example of what language to use. Each state will have its own required language.)
- Don’t allow bookings of 30+ days, to avoid establishing a tenancy.