According to an old report by The Business Insider, the USA has over 4.4 million squatters who have illegally occupied territories. On that note, if you have been keeping a tab on the news – a Californian handyman tried removing the settlers from his deserted home by posing as a squatter himself – but now he seems to have landed in a soup! Clearly, they are as humans as us, and you need creative ways to get rid of squatters without directly indulging with them.
This how-to-do guide will also give an insight into their rights (that you must not pervade) and ways to prevent them in the future. So, here’s what measures you must take and certain acts you must steer clear of. Let’s get started –
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List of creative ways to get rid of squatters
It is important to note that squatters, as bothersome as they may be, are humans. Hence, you cannot stoop to inhuman levels to deal with them. Therefore, you must be a little creative (within legal limits). So, let’s figure out ways that you may try –
1. Engage in a formal conversation with them
As they say, talks can solve most issues if done correctly. Similarly, when you have a squatter problem, try to have a dialogue with them. Ask them to vacate, offer them other alternatives (multiple government-free housing schemes), and understand their perspective. You need patience and a lookout into their points of view. If you can catch that and play along with their needs, then chances are that you will emerge a winner in this situation.
2. How about trying to get them into a formal rent agreement?
If you cannot vacate them, then why not capitalize on the situation? If you are figuring out creative ways to get rid of squatters, then you can try to get into a formal rent agreement with them. You need to understand something – the squatters have their own rights (discussed later in this article), and it takes work to remove them. Therefore, you can negotiate a deal with them in the sense that – they pay you rent (even if not at a market value) for occupying your property.
In return, you can ask them to take care of the house and sign an agreement that duty-bounds them to protect your home for a specified period. In this way, if you do not evacuate, you can temporarily protect your home. Also, since it is a time-bound deal, after some time, they will have to evacuate as per the contract.
3. Cash incentives mostly work
One of the most tried and tested, albeit – the most opted ways to get rid of squatters is to give them certain cash incentives. As cliched as it may sound, if you can manage to negotiate with the squatter on an amount that is feasible for both of you, you will be on the winning side. In more than a single scenario, hefty cash incentives work well when you plan to vacate squatters.
4. You could connect them up in a job
One of the key reasons why a ‘squatter’ is encroaching on your territory, albeit illegally, is due to lack of a proper income. It may so happen that the person is qualified but is not getting a job due to unavoidable circumstances. What if you connect him up for a job at a different place?
You can talk to him, give him this option, ask for his resume, and forward it to the correct set of people. With this leverage, you can negotiate with him. As in – if he gets a job via your reference, then he will vacate your property as soon as possible. In this way, you will not only be able to achieve your goal but also guide a talent in the correct direction.
5. Using public pressure helps
The last of the creative ways to get rid of squatters is by seeking public help. Say you have a squatter at your home who is just not ready to vacate under any circumstance. Adding to that, they are destroying your property. How do we deal with that? Ask your neighborhood public help club or your community head for help. They could videotape these squatters destroying your property or using untoward means to claim their right over what is rightfully yours.
Also, they could casually walk over, try to converse with these squatters and make them accept their fault (all in good humor). Then you could present those pieces of evidence in a court of law, and if found authentic – your house will be freed of them, legally. A smart and careful move – minus any unwanted drama.
In more than a single case, it has been found that these tactics genuinely work well in removing illegal settlers. Also, these repercussions are minimal, so you don’t have to deal with too much.
To save you from future issues, here are some factors to note.
What rights do squatters have?
For those who are unaware, squatters have certain rights. Though you are on the apparently ‘correct’ side of the law, you must be aware of these and work out ideas accordingly.
Officially referred to as – adverse possession, when a squatter occupies a domestic space uncontested for a specific period of time, the court rules in their favor. Since the owner is unaware of this invasion, and that too for a long period, it automatically gives credibility to the squatter to inhabit the property.
You must file a civil lawsuit to take back your property.
Now that you are better aware of their rights and advantages over you, make sure you utilize some quirky and creative ways to get rid of squatters that negate their benefits (but without raising a storm).
How to not treat them?
Without a doubt, the squatters are not in the right. Rather, they seem to hold certain undue advantages over you (the rightful owner). Yet, you must remember that they are only human and have their set of problems. Therefore, you must treat them with a certain level of dignity.
- Do not shut down the necessities to drive them over. Cutting off the electricity, gas, and other utilities is illegal, and do not indulge in them.
- Under no circumstances must you remove their items or belongings. Specific state laws require a formal application before removing the same. Follow the procedure.
- Never intimidate or threaten them. That – for starters, is illegal and could get you sued! As tiresome as it may be, always use a formal and sensitive dialogue to deal with this situation.
- Lastly, do not try to remove the squatters by force. They have their rights, and you could be on the wrong side of the law. Rather than that, it is better to actualize creative ways to get rid of squatters and find solutions to prevent this issue in the long run.
How to prevent this problem in the future?
It is a well-known adage that – it is better to prevent the problem than to search for the cure. The same is the case with this squatter problem. Here are a couple of quick fixes you may try to prevent this issue from cropping up in the future –
- If you have a rental vacancy, secure it exceptionally well. From fencing it well to securing it with locks – leave no stone unturned to ensure safety. For the unversed, the chain link system, combination lock, and physical barriers across your property’s perimeter are a must! Also, concentrate on installing bright lights in and around your property to deter them from illegal occupation.
- Kickstart a community watch program. Seek help from your neighbors and create a friendly vigilance club to keep a watch over the vacant property. It could be a simple social coordination and would help protect your property in the long run.
- You can always seek the services of paid security forces to guard your home.
- Always screen a tenant before signing a rent agreement lease with them. Thanks to certain states ‘squatter-friendly laws, your tenant could also become a squatter if not checked well.
Lastly, keep visiting your property, and try to fill up the vacancy as soon as possible.
Protecting one’s property when not in town is in itself a difficult affair. You have to be highly vigilant, which, if not, could result in your house being occupied by squatters. Assuming you have read this article well, you now know a handful of creative ways to get rid of squatters. You may apply whichever suits you the most. If you have some other quirky thoughts, you may share them with us in the comments section. If you liked this article and wish to know more about these how-to-do guides, you can always visit this website.
1. Can police remove squatters?
It does not fall within the police’s job to remove them from that area (it is a civil matter). However, if you have filed a lawsuit and it was successful, then the police are duty-bound to evict the squatters from your home.
2. What is the difference between squatters and trespassers?
For the confused souls, trespassing is a crime. This offense on reporting is handled by the local police or the sheriff’s department. On the other hand, squatting is a civil affair that requires a civil suit. It is not always within the police’s powers to deal with this on being reported.
3. Do different states have different laws for squatters?
It is surprising to note, but different US states have different sets of laws for squatters, and some of them are quite friendly to them. This, therefore, renders the ‘affected’ party almost powerless.
Monalisa Mukherjee is a content writer and copywriter with close to 3 years of experience. She has written for websites like Biography Talk, Contour Cafe, He And She Fitness and Fiction Pad. She is currently associated with a noted Digital Marketing Agency and specialises in writing articles for travel, entertainment, cooking, celeb, lifestyle, tech, health, fashion and film news.