Vacant rental homes are prone to trouble. Believe it or not, trespassers and squatters can probably occupy your property quickly. They tend to watch out when your tenant moves out, and no one moves in right away, and they will immediately live on those empty. By definition, a squatter is a person who unlawfully occupies an uninhabited building or unused land. In simple terms for homeowners, a squatter is someone who is illegally living on your property without consent from you. There are even multiple cases wherein the former tenant will remain on the property without paying rent even after their lease has expired or been terminated.
Because these unlawful occupants bring about risks to you and your Valle Vista rental property, it then becomes harder for you to lease your property to new renters. The proven way to avoid squatters is to keep your property secure and, if in case you do not live near to your rental home, have a property management company consistently monitor the place.
If you find out you have a squatter, it is imperative that you immediately act on it by calling the authorities. The longer you permit a squatter to stay on your property, the more complicated it becomes to evict them because the courts could view your indecision to evict as a sign of consent. One other potential complication arises if the squatter has turned on utilities at that address in their name. In some places, such a deed establishes residency, even though the squatter is technically stealing your property. In case that happens, the police will then consider the situation a civil and not a criminal matter.
And if for some reason the police won’t be of any help, then you best serve the unlawful occupant with an eviction notice. From time to time, merely giving notice will encourage the squatter to move on. If they don’t leave, 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 let 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 willingly or are forcibly removed, they may leave their belongings behind. Depending on where the rental home is located, you may be able to simply 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 dictates.
Dealing with squatters can be a long, difficult process, taking up your precious time and resources. This is why proactive prevention is the best approach to unlawful occupants. At Real Property Management Northern Arizona, 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 Valle Vista property management services, contact us online or call us at 928-757-7368 today.