Author: Larry @GlasgowInvests
When you hear the word “squatter” and you might begin to think about a stranger moving into a house uninvited and trying to live there for as long as they can. While that person is most certainly a squatter, it’s not the only version of a squatter out there. There are “professional squatters” who move from vacant home to vacant home, setting up the utilities in their names, and then attempt to prove they belong there. These types of squatters can be very difficult to evict with the process often taking anywhere from 60 to 90 days.
Do Your Best to Prevent Squatters
I can’t emphasize it enough the best way to deal with squatters is to prevent them from occupying your property. Take the time to board and secure your property if you know it will be vacant for some time. Secure windows and doors because that is how they will enter the property. If you can occasionally run checks to make sure the property is still vacant or ask neighbors to keep an eye out for you. If you can avoid dealing with squatters that would be ideal, if it is unavoidable or your already dealing with a situation where squatters occupy your property keep reading below for some tips on how to handle the situation.
How do I sell a house with squatters in Memphis?
How to sell a house with squatters in Memphis? Don’t worry, if you own a property with a squatter and you’re trying to sell it, there are some options you can take to move forward. Here are all the ways you can sell a house with squatters.
First: Know The Laws
Depending on your location, you can save yourself the headache of dealing with squatters by knowing the local laws regarding tenant requirements. For instance, in some states they have laws stating that an individual who lives in a property for more than 30 days technically becomes a tenant, even if that person was staying there as a short-term renter. (This is important to know if you are using a service such as Airbnb). It’s a sneaky tactic that some squatters use to their advantage. They take advantage of these legal loopholes and make it hard for landlords to get rid of them. In Tennessee, for instance, adverse possession protects a person’s right to stay on a piece of land on where they have lived without incident for years. Home and property owners here need to understand what that means when it comes to renters and potential evictions.
Second: Alert Local Authorities
If you find that your vacant property suddenly has squatters taking residence there, you may be able to have them removed from the home with the help of the local police. A squatter is technically someone who doesn’t belong in your property and is therefore trespassing. Let the local police know and when they arrive, present them with the proper documents proving you own the house. The squatter will then be asked to provide their own documents proving they are allowed to be there. Depending on what is presented, the police may or may not be able to remove them from the property at that time. Some of the other things that would possibly sway them, is how livable the property currently is, whether the home has furniture, or if the utilities are turned on.
Third: Consider Cash
“Professional squatters” will make it very difficult for you to evict them. They likely will create false documents that make it look like they have the right to be there. They might attempt to take advantage of your local or state tenancy laws. Or they may simply refuse to leave. That means that you’re either going to have to begin the eviction process, which can be expensive and time-consuming, or you could make them an offer to leave. I know it doesn’t feel good knowing that you are being taken advantage of and you do run the risk of them taking the money and staying put, but plenty of frustrated landlords have done it just to get rid of the squatters and have them out
Fourth: Begin the Eviction Process
If the police can’t remove the squatters and they refuse to budge despite your offer, the next step is likely going to be beginning the legal eviction process. Every state has a different process and laws but you’ll start by issuing an eviction notice. If you’re lucky, that will scare the squatters into leaving. If not, they will have a specific time period, depending on the state, in order to take action. That time period is often 30 days.
If they do not leave, you then file an unlawful detainer lawsuit in each person squatting in the property. The sheriff’s department or local authorities will serve the lawsuit personally and a hearing is likely scheduled within 21 days. At the hearing, the judge will rule, hopefully in your favor to evict the squatters, who then have a certain number of days to vacate the property before the sheriff changes the locks for good.
As you can see, while this process can be effective, it takes awhile and that presumes that it’s successful the first time and the judge rules accordingly. The eviction cases become more costly can the longer it takes and the more the squatter pushes back. Plus, if the squatter still refuses to leave after the ruling, you’ll have to hire a sheriff or police officer to physically remove them.
Fifth: Remove Leftovers & Clean Up
Once the squatters are out, you’re going to want to give the property a thorough cleaning. It is likely that they didn’t take care of the place and they may have even trashed it purposefully out of spite. You’ll want to check local laws to see if you are allowed to trash anything they’ve left behind or if you need to follow the procedure for salvaging it. As for your house, it’s going to need a solid cleaning and you’d be smart to go through the house to make sure nothing has been broken or damaged. If you plan to list the house on the market, you’ll need it to be in good condition. No one wants to move into a house that looks and smells like squatters were living in it.
Sell the House As-Is
Dealing with and getting rid of squatters can be an stressful and emotional situation, not to mention expensive if they won’t leave on their own. Regardless, it’s a hassle that takes up your time, money, and energy. And that’s before you get into cleaning and renovation costs. So rather than go through the entire process in order to sell the house, why not consider selling it as-is to a cash buyer or real estate investor like Glasgow Invests? They will buy homes in any condition, including with squatters, give you a fair price, put cash in your hands, and let you walk away while they deal with the property. You avoid all of the drama and hassle that comes with selling a house with squatters or problem tenants and get to start fresh.