Vacant rental homes can quickly become a magnet for trouble. If your tenant departs and no one fills the space quickly, those empty rooms can be awfully enticing to trespassers and squatters. By definition, a squatter is a person who unlawfully occupies an uninhabited building or unused land. In layman’s terms for homeowners, a squatter is somebody crashing on your property without your permission. Sometimes, this may even be a former tenant who continues on the property without paying rent after their lease has expired or been terminated.
These unlawful occupants present serious risks for your Marysville rental property and your capacity to lease it to new renters. The greatest strategy for avoiding squatters is to keep your property secure and, if you don’t live near your rental home, have a property management company monitor the location frequently.
If you discover a squatter, you should promptly call your local law enforcement agency. The longer the squatter resides on your property, the more arduous it is to evict them because the courts might see your hesitancy to evict as a sign of consent. Another roadblock that may present itself by your hesitance to act immediately is the potential squatter turning on utilities at that address in their name. In some regions, doing so establishes residency, even though the squatter is theoretically robbing your property. If that particular issue arises, the police will then deem the case a civil and not a criminal matter.
If the law enforcers are not able to help you, the next step is to serve the unlawful occupant with an eviction notice. At times, giving notice will prompt the squatter to leave of their own free will. But, if they don’t give up, you may want to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit, which will commence formal eviction proceedings. Depending on the court system in your region, this could take anywhere from a couple week to quite a few months. But once you have a judgment in your favor from the court, you can appoint the local sheriff or police officer to remove the squatter for you.
As soon as you have successfully evicted your squatters, you may want to focus on their personal property. Whether they disappear voluntarily or are evicted by force, they may leave some of their belongings behind. You may be able to simply throw these objects away. In some regions, however, you may need to place the pieces in a storing unit at your expense. If the squatter doesn’t pay the stowing dues and claim their property, you will be able to auction it off or dispose of it as the regulation in your area governs.
Negotiating with squatters can be an extensive, complicated procedure, occupying your treasured time and resources. This is why proactive prevention is the greatest approach to unlawful occupants. At Real Property Management North Puget Sound, we expertly navigate the move-out method when tenants move-out and fill vacancies quickly. After all, an occupied rental house is a profitable, squatter-free rental house. For more information about our Marysville property management services, contact us online or call us at 425-903-8500 today.