I was curious about the original question and asked one of my Taiwan lawyer colleagues. In Taiwan, there is a squatter type provision under Civil Code Article 769, but that requires 20 years of open and continuous occupation of a property (10 years under the good-faith provision of Article 770) that is not registered with the local land offices and which of course is not government land. In other words, as opposed to the U.S. states which often regarding “adverse possession” where the land might clearly belong to another person, Taiwan’s laws are basically aimed at forgotten bits of property that aren’t clearly in the books as belonging to someone. Here are translations of a couple of provisions that my colleague has forwarded to me:
[quote]Article 769: A person, who has peacefully, publicly and continually possessed another’s real property which is not recorded for twenty years with the intent of being an owner, is entitled to claim to be recorded as the owner of the said real property.
Article 770: A person, who has peacefully, publicly and continually possessed another’s unrecorded real property with the intent of being an owner for ten years, and was acting in good faith and not negligently at the beginning of his possession, is entitled to claim to be recorded as the owner of the said real property.[/quote]
Some of the “abandoned” apartment complexes are cleared out for various reasons and likely have actual owners. Sometimes it’s for safety reasons (earthquake or typhoon damage, or perhaps unsafe construction materials used), but I’ve also seen large blocks of apartment buildings that have sat around for many years with constructions signs outside the metal fences stating that the properties are veteran housing that is “currently” under renovation. But if a property actually belongs to someone and it’s registered with the authorities, there’s not much to be gained from squatting other than the mere joy of having one’s own rent-free ruin!