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Squatters' Rights & Cooperative Ownership in the Lower East Side

Getting Started


The Squatters' rights and Cooperative Ownership in the LES Libguide is an overview of the political, public history of squatters' collective struggle in reclaiming New York City-owned abandoned buildings in the 1990s through 2000s, in the form of a bibliographic resource guide to the movement's primary and secondary sources. This guide is meant as a starting point for deeper archival research and study. Welcome!

What is squatting to begin with?

"You are homeless, living with friends, unable to afford your rent and live satisfactorily. Whatever the reason, need or desire, you decide to squat. In other words, you decide that you are going to make a place to live in an abandoned building. You are going to renovate a vacant space in order to secure the kind of life you desire. Squatting is about self-determination, taking control of your life, your resources and doing for yourself with the skills and energy you possess." -- F. Morales, ABC's of Squatting

Here's what New York State Law, Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law Article 5 says about squatters, or the legal term "adverse possessors:" 

§ 501. Adverse possession; defined. For the purposes of this article:
    1.  Adverse possessor. A person or entity is an "adverse possessor" of
  real property when the  person  or  entity  occupies  real  property  of
  another  person  or  entity  with  or  without  knowledge of the other's
  superior ownership rights, in a manner that would give the owner a cause
  of action for ejectment.