Are you dealing with unwanted guests at your rental property? What loss can squatters give to landlords, and what can they do to get rid of them? This article is going to give insight into how to deal with unlawful occupation of your property and how to take action without overstepping the boundaries.
What Is A Squatter?
A squatter is a person who occupies a property or land without the legal right to do so. Squatting typically involves living on a vacant or abandoned property or using land that is not owned by the squatter. Squatting is often done as a means of obtaining housing or land when other options are not available or affordable. Squatters may believe that they have a right to occupy the property or land, either because they have been living there for a long time or because they believe that the property or land should be used for a different purpose. However, squatting is generally illegal and can result in eviction, fines, or even criminal charges.
Why are Squatters a Problem for Landlords?
Loss of Income
Squatters occupying a property without paying rent can lead to a significant loss of income for the landlord, as they are not generating any revenue from the property.
Squatters may cause damage to the property due to unauthorized alterations, neglect, or other activities. This can result in higher repair costs for the landlord when the property is eventually vacated.
Landlords may face legal issues when dealing with squatters, as they must navigate the legal process of evicting tenants without violating their rights. In some cases, squatters may have more rights than landlords, making it difficult for landlords to evict them.
Squatters can lead to an increased workload for landlords, as they may need to deal with the aftermath of squatters, such as repairing damage or cleaning the property.
Impact on property value
Squatters can negatively impact the value of the property, as their presence may lower the property’s appeal to potential buyers or tenants.
How to Evict a Squatter?
Start the process with an eviction notice
The process begins with an eviction notice, which must be prepared according to local laws. The notice must clearly state that the squatter is trespassing and must vacate the property. If the squatter does not respond, legal proceedings may be initiated, such as filing a lawsuit or seeking an injunction.
File an eviction lawsuit
Prepare the necessary legal documents, which may include a complaint or petition for eviction, and file them with the appropriate court. Ensure that the documents comply with the specific requirements of your jurisdiction.
Have the squatter removed
The legal process involves the eviction of a squatter who has been ordered to vacate the premises. Following the process, law enforcement may work with the squatter to ensure compliance. Following the eviction, secure the property to prevent further unauthorized occupation.
Handle any belongings left
A squatter’s belongings should be carefully documented and stored in a secure location for easy retrieval. The squatter should be informed of the storage location and the deadline for retrieval, in line with local laws and regulations. If the squatter fails to retrieve their belongings, they may be disposed of in accordance with local laws.
What you can’t do
Don’t remove the squatters yourself
When evicting a squatter, it’s crucial to adhere to legal and ethical guidelines. One important point to remember is that you should not attempt to remove the squatters yourself. Doing so can lead to legal complications and potential liability. Instead, follow the appropriate legal procedures for eviction, which may involve obtaining a court order and working with law enforcement or a court-appointed officer to enforce the eviction.
Avoid self-help eviction
To evict a squatter, follow legal procedures and avoid illegal or unethical actions. Avoid “self-help” evictions like changing locks and cutting utilities. These are illegal in most jurisdictions. Instead, follow proper legal procedures, such as obtaining a court order and working with law enforcement.
Don’t threaten them
When evicting a squatter, it’s essential to conduct the process in a lawful and respectful manner. One crucial point to remember is that you should not threaten the squatter during the eviction process. Threats of violence, intimidation, or harassment are not only unethical but also illegal.
What Details Should a Squatter Notice Include?
- Your name and address
- Date of notice
- Description of the property
- Name of the squatter
- Legal basis for the notice
- Demand for possession
- Consequences of non-compliance
- Contact information
Evicting a squatter from your rental property can be a challenging and complex process, but it’s essential to follow the appropriate legal procedures to ensure a smooth and lawful eviction.
Throughout the eviction process, it’s important to handle any belongings left behind in a responsible and legal manner and avoid taking any actions that could be considered illegal or unethical, such as changing the locks or threatening the squatter. By following the correct legal process and maintaining a professional and respectful approach, you can ensure a smooth and lawful eviction while minimizing potential risks and legal issues.
For more information on how we can keep your Sacramento rental occupied, contact us at Eagle Property Management.