Vacant rental homes bring a lot of difficulties. If you have a tenant that moves out with no one to move in right away, then those empty rooms begin to attract 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 occurrences where a former tenant becomes a squatter because of unwillingness to leave your property despite not paying rent after their lease has expired or been terminated.
These unlawful occupants mean disadvantages for you as it hinders your capability to lease your Branchburg rental property to new renters. The proven way to guard your property against squatters is to keep your property secure and, if you live far from your rental home, have a reputable property management company monitor on your place consistently.
As soon as you find out you have a squatter, you better act on it fast by signaling the police. If you let the situation linger for a long time, it would be difficult to evict them when you want to. The courts will also read your hesitancy to evict as a sign of consent. You wouldn’t want to find out that the squatter has the utilities at that address in their name, because if that happens, then that establishes residency, even though the squatter is looting your property. In that scenario, the police can’t do anything about it as it then becomes civil and no longer a criminal matter.
If the police won’t be of any help to you, your next best recourse is to serve the unlawful occupant with an eviction notice. Consider also giving notice will encourage the squatter to move on. It rarely happens, but it does work sometimes. If they don’t leave, however, you may need to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit, which will start formal eviction proceedings. This process could take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months depending on the speed of the court system in your area, 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 willingly or are forcibly removed, they may leave their belongings behind. Depending on where the rental home is located, you may be able to throw these items away. Be careful though because, in some places, you may need to place the items in a storage unit using your own money. If the squatter doesn’t pay the storage fees and claim their property, then you will be awarded rights to auction it off or dispose of it as the law in your area states.
Dealing with squatters can be a long, hard process, taking up your valuable time and resources. This is why proactive prevention is the best approach to unlawful occupants. At Real Property Management NJ Elite, 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 Branchburg property management services, communicate with us online or call us at 908-955-7487 today.
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