Vacant rental homes attract a lot of predicaments. If you have a tenant that moves out with no one to move in right away, then those empty rooms begin to draw attention to trespassers and squatters. By definition, a squatter is a person who unlawfully occupies an uninhabited building or unused land. In simple terms for homeowners, you have a squatter when you have someone who is residing in your property without getting your confirmed permission. There are also cases where a previous tenant becomes a squatter because of refusal to leave your property despite not paying rent after their lease has expired or been terminated.
These unlawful occupants produce risks to you and your Little Elm rental property, it then becomes difficult for you to lease your property to new renters. The effective way to keep squatters away is to keep your property secure and, if you happen to live far from your rental property then have a property management company consistently monitor the place.
If you find out you have a squatter, it is urgent that you quickly act on it by summoning the authorities. The longer you allow a squatter to stay on your property, the more difficult it becomes to evict them because the courts could see your uncertainty to evict as a sign of consent. One other likely difficulty arises if the squatter has turned on utilities at that address in their name. In some places, such a deed establishes residency, although the squatter is really stealing your property. In case that happens, the police will then consider the situation a civil and not a criminal matter.
If for some reason the police can’t help you, your next best solution is to serve the unlawful occupant with an eviction notice. Sometimes, simply giving notice will encourage the squatter to move on. If they still refuse to vacate your property, however, you may need to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit, which will start formal eviction proceedings. Depending on the speed of the court system in your area, this could take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. But once you have a judgment in your favor from the court, you can hire the local sheriff or police officer to remove the squatter for you.
Once you have successfully evicted your squatters, you may need to address their personal property. Whether they leave freely or are forcibly evacuated, they may leave their belongings behind. Dependent on where the rental home is situated, you may be able to toss these objects away simply. Nevertheless, in some places, you may need to put the items in a storage unit at your own cost. If the squatter doesn’t reimburse the storage fees and reclaim their property, then you have the right to auction it off or throw it as the law in your area states.
Dealing with squatters can be a long and expensive process, stealing your time away from other important things that you can do. This is why proactive prevention is the best approach to unlawful occupants. At Real Property Management Preston Trails, 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. If you want to know more about our Little Elm property management services, contact us online or call us at 214-477-6518 today.