Not on My Property! A Property Manager’s Guide to Evicting Squatters

evicting squatters

Owning rental property can be a great source of extra revenue. Unfortunately, sometimes your renters outstay their welcome (and their rental agreement).

When this happens, you have squatters.

There are many reasons why someone refuses to leave when their time is up, but as the property owner, you must be sure to take the right steps in evicting squatters.

It can be a time-consuming process, but you need to do things correctly to protect your property.

Read on for how to get rid of squatters.

Squatters vs Trespassers

The first thing you need to determine is if your unwanted guests are squatting or trespassing. The laws vary from state to state, but generally, a squatter is someone who stops paying rent but continues to live on the property. This includes roommates or someone who is subletting.

Squatters usually have some type of bill or regular mail that is delivered to that address showing their name. The most common are utility and cable bills.

Trespassers are those who have occupied a vacant building and refuse to leave. Trespassing is a criminal matter and the police should be called right away.

Squatting is a civil matter and the process is a little more complicated.

Eviction Notice for Squatters

You will need to serve an official eviction notice to the squatters. You need to check the legal requirements in your area to make sure it is carried out properly.

If the eviction notice does not work, you must then follow up with a lawsuit. This will in essence charge them with illegal use of the property. Again, make sure the paperwork is filled out correctly and you will need to be at the eviction hearing.

How to Get Rid of Squatters

If you win the case, there is still the problem of having them removed if they refuse to comply. However, with the court’s decision in your favor, you can then call the local police and they can assist in getting them out. There may be a fee for this service.

Unfortunately, there are often items left by the squatters. The majority of it will probably be trash, but in the event there are personal items, do not immediately throw those things away. Be sure to check the local laws regarding their property so you do not get in any legal trouble yourself.

If you are interested in becoming a rental property manager, but need more information, here are some important facts to know.

Preventing the Problem

The best way to reduce squatters is a great screening process for tenants. Ask for, and then call, references from previous landlords. Verify their income and employment status, and definitely check their credit score. A background check is also a good idea.

There is even a national database that records eviction histories. Make sure your potential new tenant is not on that registry.

In the tragic event of a tenant’s death, here are the steps to follow.

Evicting Squatters: Patience Is Key

While the incidence of squatters is not high, it can be a lengthy process to overcome. As soon as you become aware of the situation, take action. Do not wait for them to do the right thing.

Evicting squatters may be one of the least favorite things about having a rental property, but knowing how to handle it will keep you one step ahead.

If you are looking for a real estate agent, we are your source.