Vacant rental homes are a likely menace to property owners. As soon as your tenant moves out, and you have no one to take their place shortly after, then those empty rooms will start to entice trespassers and squatters. By definition, a squatter is a person who unlawfully occupies an uninhabited building or unused land. To put it in simpler terms for homeowners, you have a squatter when you have someone who is living in on your property without your consent. In some situations, squatters may even be a former tenant who opts to stay on the property without paying for rent after their lease has expired or been terminated.
These unlawful occupants are not suitable for your Merrifield rental property as it prevents your opportunity to lease it to new renters. The best way to avoid squatters is to keep your property secure and, if you don’t live nearby your rental home, have a property management company monitor on the place on a steady basis.
If you notice that you have a squatter, it is a necessity that you act on it promptly. Call the police and have them take care of your squatter dilemma. Because if you don’t, it would be difficult for you to evict them because the courts will regard your hesitation to evict as a sign of consent. One other likely impediment appears if the squatter has turned on utilities at that address in their name. In some places, doing so establishes residency, even though the squatter is stealing your property. If that occurs, the police will then recognize the situation a civil and not a criminal matter.
If the police are not able to remedy your squatter problem, your next best solution is to serve the unlawful occupant with an eviction notice. Seldom, just by giving notice will get the squatter to leave your property. If they don’t go, there will be a need for you to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit, which will prompt formal eviction proceedings. Depending on the pace of the court system in your area, this could take anywhere from a few weeks to many months. But once you have a judgment in your favor from the court, you can let the local sheriff or police officer to remove the squatter for you.
Once you have happily evicted your squatters, you will need to approach the problem relating to their personal property. Be cautious because if they left freely or not, they may leave their belongings behind. Depending on where the rental home is located, you may be able just to throw these items away. However, in some places, you may need to place the items in a storage unit at your expense. If the squatter doesn’t pay the storage fees and claim their property, then you have the right to auction it off or dispose of it as the law in your area states.
Dealing with squatters can be a long, hard process, taking up your valuable time and resources. This is why proactive prevention is the best approach to unlawful occupants. At Real Property Management Deluxe, we skillfully manage the move-out process when tenants leave and fill vacancies quickly. After all, an occupied rental house is a profitable, squatter-free rental house. For more information about our Merrifield property management services, contact us online or call us at 218-454-7962 today.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.