Breaking Free from Squatters and Why You Should Do it Quickly

Evicting Squatters is a tedious task that sometimes requires judicial assistance. In this article, you’ll understand what squatters are and the procedure to make the right moves to evict them. Squatter is a general title given to people who live in someone’s property for a long time illegally, and without permission from the rightful owner.

It sounds unbelievable, but it does happen. So, if you find squatters lingering about your property, what should be the first step that you take? They are people who take over a property without the owner’s permission or adhering to any rent agreement. Though this sounds illegal and immoral, some states in the U.S. give certain rights to squatters.

Why is it Illegal To Evict Squatters?

Such settlers are even entitled to a legal title after living at the property for some time. They can become legal owners even though they entered the property unlawfully. Therefore, as soon as you uncover that squatters have taken over your property, you must do everything you can to remove them. The longer they stay, the more problems you will face in getting them to leave the premises.

evicting squatters

The process of evicting squatters isn’t easy as there isn’t any legal or binding contract between the squatter and the landowner. You might think that the process will be easy since the squatter is illegal occupying your property. However, that is not the case when squatters have resided in the property for quite some time.

Distinguishing Between Squatting and Trespassing

The process of evicting squatters is already hard to cope with, and then you are presented with the problem of trespassing too. Therefore, before you can commence the removal procedures, you must comprehensively understand the difference between trespassing and squatting.

Both trespassers and squatters take over a property illegally. The main difference lies in their intention during occupying and the amount of time they intend to live on the property. To put things into perspective, a trespasser may break into your house to steal something from it or vandalize the premises.

After a squatter has lived on the property for a certain period, and you discover their presence, your next step is to have them evicted. To start the process, you must register for a police report and then contact authorities to help you with the eviction process.

How Do You Legally Remove Squatters?

You must be aware that squatters are entitled to rights after living on the property for some time. Generally, four requirements have to be fulfilled by squatters to claim the land they do not own.

Hostility refers to the notion that the occupation by the squatter in the property is hostile. That means that the squatter entered the property in opposition to the original owner’s rights. However, if the owner agrees to the occupation and gives consent, the occupation is not regarded as hostile.

Possession implies that the squatter is physically present at the property and living on the premise as his own. If a person only leaves behind personal belongings on the property’s premises, that is not considered possession.

Some squatters may even introduce themselves in the neighborhood rather than hide their existence. They are labeled as open and notorious and are not secretive about their presence on the premises.

Continuous occupation is when the person living on the property continues to reside there without interruption. They cannot leave the property and then return afterwards, and they also cannot act as the owner and lease the proper to someone else. There is no specific time for what is considered a continuous squatter, as it varies in every state. Mostly, this time frame varies from seven years and can go up to twenty years.

Laws for Protecting Squatters

Though it may seem strange that someone who has unfair control over your property can also have legal rights, they do exist. Therefore, understanding what these right are is crucial. These rights exist to create a balance between the interests of the public and the private property holders.

However, if a person living as a squatter demonstrates hostile behavior or is open and notorious. In that case, you can immediately start the eviction process to have them removed from the property.


How Do You Remove Squatters From Your Property?

Squatting occurs on premises where the property has been left empty for a long time. These properties include homes owned by people, property from an investor out of state, or property inherited by someone who has no interest in occupying it.

Once you categorize the type of occupation on your property by the squatters, you can proceed with Evicting Squatters. Although eviction laws vary in each state, the general steps owners should follow are listed below.

Understand the Landlord & Tenant Relationship

Make sure to understand every term of your landlord-tenant form. It can vary from state to state and are often very complicated. Most of the time, landlords take assistance from estate attorneys who specialize in the field. They can help them through the legal procedures to evict the squatters.

Negotiate with the Squatter to Leave

Evictions can take up a lot of time, finances, and energy. Depending on which state your property is in, the eviction process can differ. Hence, offering a cash incentive to the occupation can encourage them to leave the property immediately and save you from expensive legal procedures.

Send a Notice of Eviction

Landowners can approach a third-party to send out a notice of eviction to the illegal occupants. Landlord-tenant laws protect these rights by allowing the occupant a few days to vacate the premises. However, if they fail to leave the premises, you can take the next step and continue the eviction process in court.

Notice of Eviction

You have to fulfill a few prerequisites and file all the necessary documentation. Pay the court fee and the filing fee and provide substantial proof that you own the property. After that, you will receive the dates for your court hearings and instructions for subsequent actions.

Sue the Squatter for Damages

The next step is to sue the squatter. On the final hearing day, you will be asked to present evidence proving that the occupant has unlawful possession of your property. You must provide all the necessary information, including the timeline of when you first discovered the illegal occupants, when you sent the eviction notice, and other documentation.

Evicting Squatters and Restoring Control

If the occupant hasn’t been staying long enough to gain a title, the court should give the decision in your favor. After that, you have the legal right to remove the illegal squatter and evict them. Instructions are also sent to the local police or county sheriff to accompany you during the eviction process if that is deemed necessary.

If, even after eviction, the squatter accidentally leaves behind any belongings, you will have to send another notice. After regaining your property, you can proceed to restore any damages made and even put the property up for sale.


It’s important to take measures to avoid illegal squatters at your residence or property, as that will save you from many headaches and worries in the long run. Make sure that your vacant property is secure and well protected. However, if any squatter finds their way into your property, you can take the necessary steps for evicting squatters.