How to Get Squatters Out of Your House

December 2, 2021

So you've discovered that you have a squatting problem and are seeking a solution to the problem. If you want an answer to your question, How to Get Squatters Out of Your House then continue reading this article to get a better insight. 

What is the best way to get rid of a squatter? There's no need to look any further. In this blog post, we will explore the best way to get rid of a squatter using several approaches. But first and foremost, what exactly is a squatter?

A squatter is someone who lives on or occupies a piece of land on which they have no legal title, ownership, or lease. Through involuntary transfer, a squatter may achieve adverse possession of the property. A property owner who does not use or examine their property for a long period of time may lose the title to another person who makes a claim to the land, takes possession of it, and utilizes it.

Squatting vs. Trespassing

A person is a trespasser the moment they enter the property. A trespasser, on the other hand, becomes a squatter if he or she refuses to leave the property and falsely claims to be a resident. Removal from an American property needs a legal process when someone takes up residence there.

Squatters cannot force their way into your home—they might be jailed for inflicting criminal damage—but there are often technical challenges in determining how they entered, and it can be difficult to prove a lock was not already broken if they claim otherwise

What does "Adverse possession" entail?

Adverse possession is a legal concept that allows someone to assert a claim to a property right over someone else's land without their consent. The continuous use of a private road or driveway, as well as the agricultural development of an underutilized stretch of land, are examples of unfavorable occupancy that occur often.

If the possessor has real physical access to the property and exclusive possession of it, he or she has established adverse possession. A person's possession must be "publicly available and well-known." Moreover, possession must be in opposition to the legal owner and under a claim of right, and it must be "continuous" during the term of the possession. It is necessary that the unlawful occupation fulfill all of the following elements in order for adverse possession to take place.:

  • Be hostile, that is, without the owner's consent, even if the owner is ignorant of the squatter's presence;
  • Include your real physical job;
  • Be visible and open, so that everyone gazing at the house may see who is there;
  • Continue to be exclusive and uninterrupted for a length of time determined by state legislation.

A squatter must usually be issued with an eviction notice and must go through the eviction procedure. It might take months to execute an eviction. However, by claiming health, safety, and welfare issues, you may be able to reduce the amount of time necessary. 

The most frequent and effective methods of overcoming adverse possession include fencing that is not aligned with the title border, constructing across another's title boundary, sealing off ancient laneways and roadways, and intentionally enclosing or using another's property (especially in rural situations).

What are squatters' rights?

Squatters' rights (also known as adverse possession) enable squatters to continue using or occupying a property if the genuine owner or landlord fails to act within a particular time range.

It is the intent of squatters' rights legislation to discourage the practice of vigilante retribution. If landowners are authorized to evict squatters using violence or the threat of violence, the situation may swiftly deteriorate and become potentially dangerous for everyone involved. It would also create an environment of vigilante justice that may expand to other sectors of life, diminishing the degree of society's safety that people have come to expect from their homes

Squatters have legal rights, which makes it easier for the government to administer justice in the long term. It is critical that a renter's right to be safeguarded from an untrustworthy landlord be upheld. The regulations clearly define the rights of each party engaged in order to maintain the stability of the real estate markets and the (usually) amicable nature of dialogues.

Which states have squatting rights?

All states across America have different laws in regard to Squatters. For article, how to get squatters out of your house

All 50 states have squatter’s rights laws, often known as "adverse possession" statutes. However, how and when these rules are implemented varies significantly from state to state. It's important to understand squatter rights in the state you are in and this will heavily determine the process of how to get squatters out of your house!

Note that some of the states mentioned require squatters to have a deed or to have paid taxes while occupying the property, while others do not. In certain places, the number of years may be lowered if the squatter can present the proper proof.

Squatters' laws exist in the following states, and they require the person to have resided on the land for at least 20 years:

Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana (30 years), Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey (30 years), North Carolina, North Dakota (21 years), Ohio (21 years), Pennsylvania (21 years), and South Dakota (30 years).

Squatters' laws exist in the following states, requiring the person to have resided on the land for 19 years or less:

Alabama (10 years), Alaska (10 years), Arizona (10 years), Arkansas (7 years), California (5 years), Colorado (18 years), Connecticut (15 years), Florida (7 years), Indiana (10 years), Kansas (15 years), Kentucky (15 years), Michigan (15 years), Minnesota (15 years), Mississippi (10 years), Nevada (5 years), New Mexico (10 years), Oklahoma (15 years), Oregano (10 years), Rhode Island (10 years), South Carolina (10 years), Tennessee (7 years), Texas (10 years), Utah (7 years).

How Do Squatters Get Into Your House?

Theres a variety of ways a squatter might take up residence on your land, below we will explore a few of those methods of entry:

Property that is currently unoccupied.

Someone may discover that a residence has been unoccupied for a long time and decide to move there, thinking that an inattentive or absentee property owner would not notice them.

They may even switch on the utilities or use a forged lease agreement to fool the utility provider or authorities into thinking they are real tenants. When someone from out of state inherits a home and doesn't engage a property manager to take care of it, squatting in abandoned properties might happen.

Unauthorized Roommate

This is known as "squatting." When a roommate or subtenant who isn't on the rental agreement refuses to leave when the lease ends and the legitimate tenants move out. Because their name isn't on the lease, you have no clue who they are as a landlord, yet they have taken ownership of your property.

When the move-out inspection is completed, your tenant's roommates may temporarily move out, then immediately return and take possession when you believe your home is unoccupied.

Rental Swindle

Always be on guard and alert for rental scams

An unwitting victim of a rental scam may end up squatting without even realizing it. Con artists may sometimes rent out an empty home that they do not own.

They meet with the renter, take the first month's rent and deposit, and then hand over the keys and leave. The victim believes they have a valid lease until the real estate owner shows up at the front door, baffled as to why they are in the house.

Why Should a Landlord Evict a Squatter as Soon as Possible?

When a squatter squats on your land, the clock begins ticking toward the squatter's gaining legal ownership of your property. Squatters should be dealt with as soon as they are found by a landlord since the longer they stay, the more difficult it will be to get rid of them and for the landlord to establish his or her title of possession.

Evicting a squatter may take months and cost thousands of dollars, particularly if the squatter tries to claim legal ownership of your home or if the squatter is a professional who seeks to claim your property in court.

During the period a squatter occupies your property, you will lose rental revenue and risk serious property damage. If you wait too long, your property may become the legal property of the squatter.

How To Get Squatters Out of Your House 

The regulations governing squatting are fairly complicated. In some situations, it may be difficult to evict a squatter, especially if they have been on the land for a long time. It may be several months before a squatter-infested property can be rented out again. This can be due to the time it takes to file a court action to evict squatters or to the repairs that must be made once they have been evicted.

The American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA) has a great guide on how to evict an unauthorized tenant. According to the AAOA, the following are legal options for dealing with the eviction:

  • Inform the authorities.

When you find someone on your property without your permission, call the police immediately. If you have to evict someone, the official police record will show the court that you tried in good faith to work within the law to persuade them to go. Don't change the locks or turn off the utilities until the removal or eviction process is complete.

  • Submit a formal eviction notice to the tenant.

The first stage in the eviction procedure is an eviction notice (also known as an "unlawful detainer" action in certain jurisdictions). Although you could serve the notice yourself, you may choose to engage a real estate eviction attorney who will utilize a process server to deliver the notice.

  • Bring an eviction lawsuit against your landlord.

The next step is to file an eviction lawsuit if the illegal occupier refuses to leave after being presented with a formal eviction notice.

Real estate lawyers that specialize in home evictions for a set charge, excluding court expenses such as filing fees, are available in several locations.

In most circumstances, the courts require that any complaint be filed within a reasonable amount of time. If a problem is left unresolved for an extended period of time, the right to sue the wrongdoer may be lost. It is difficult to examine problems after many years have passed, according to the courts, and it is unjust for a victim to bring up long-forgotten hurts.

Once you have completed the eviction procedure and received a judgment from the court, law enforcement, such as the local sheriff, will be required to lawfully remove the individual from your home.

  • Take away the squatter's belongings.

Once the lawsuit is completed, you can pack up the Squatters' possessions

Most jurisdictions require the landlord to provide written notice before removing any personal belongings from the property that the squatter left behind. If the unlawful resident has left your property and is difficult to locate, the court may authorize you to publish or post the notice on the premises.

Squatting Prevention Tips

It's a lot easier to prevent squatting than having to understand the process of how to get a squatter out of your house. Rather than spending a lot of time, effort, and money to evict an illegal occupant.

If your property is empty, ask your property manager to do regular inside and exterior checks to ensure the property is secure and no one has moved in.

You may also do the following to avoid squatting:

  • Make friends with your neighbors and ask them to notify you if they observe anything suspicious on the property.
  • Maintain a sturdy lock on all doors and windows at all times.
  • Place "No Trespassing" signs on the front and back doors, as well as the yard gates.
  • Check the property for indications of entry or occupation on a regular basis.
  • I order criminal and background investigations on potential renters, as well as confirm their rental history to see whether they have ever been evicted.
  • When you sign a lease with a new renter, make sure they understand your roommate policies so they may be vetted before being added to the lease.

Choosing the appropriate renters is the greatest approach to keep squatters out of your abandoned home. Great renters will not only look after the rental but will also pay their rent on time and treat the property with respect. In other words, they're less likely to become squatters or holdover tenants.

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