How to Get a Squatter Out of Your Home
Most people have lease agreements before they move into a property. Squatters move in — sometimes even turning on utilities — without a legal agreement. Legally, a squatter is a person without a tenancy agreement or property title living in your inhabited, uninhabited or abandoned property. Squatters can be strangers, roommates or family who have no tenancy agreement and won’t vacate your property when asked. Do not take action against a squatter without a court order, police or attorney. Squatters have rights in many states and violating them can make evicting the squatter difficult when you get to court.
Speak with a licensed real estate attorney before taking any action. Many states give rights to the squatter who may not be removed from your property. This can occur if you don’t address the situation properly. An attorney will know the correct, complicated procedures to legally evict a squatter. This can vary depending on where you live. At-will states require serving the squatter with a 30-day notice-to-terminate tenancy. States such as Florida and Maryland require noncompliance notices.
Fill out a notice-to-quit form. It explains that the tenant has a certain amount of time to leave the property. It varies by state, up to 30 days.
Mail the notice-to-quit to the tenant. Ask for delivery confirmation at the post office. There are several ways to accomplish this. The correct method varies by state. One accepted way to send the papers to the squatter is by certified mail. Ask for a return receipt so you have proof the squatter has received the paperwork. Request one that includes a signature, date, time and location where the documents were received.
Visit the courthouse where the property is located and ask the clerk of court for the correct forms. The name of the form varies by location. Explain that you wish to evict a squatter and the clerk will direct you to the right form. The forms are named differently in different areas and the procedure for obtaining them varies from state to state. In some places, the forms are online. In others, you must pick them up in person. Bring a copy of the notice-to-quit and the property deed when you ask for the paperwork. Pay the fee. Take the paperwork and court date from the filer.
If you aren’t in the state or county the property is located, ask your attorney or property management to file papers and represent you in court. The name of the person representing you will be included in the court documents.
Send the notice of the hearing, along with all your court documents, to the squatter. Get proof of delivery with confirmation.
Attend your court hearing. Prove you own the property and no lease exists. Bring the notice of eviction from the judge to the police station or sheriff’s office to evict the squatter.