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    How to remove a squatter

    Asked May 7, 2008, 12:51 PM 13 Answers
    I rented my townhouse out last Nov to so I can return to grad school. My tenant informed me she can no longer pay the rent and moved out. To avoid any legal action against them, she indicated she will not be returning to my townhouse and has vacated the premises. The problem, her boyfriend was living with her. His name is NOT on the lease. How do I get rid of a squatter legally, without an attorney. I have him 2 weeks as a courtesy, had a police officer escort me to my house to give her formal notice, He indicated he is not leaving as he has no where to go.

    I went to the police, township and County. They are unable to offer me any advice. They all say usually I will have to go through 'Landlord and Tenant' and file an eviction notice, however, he is not a tenant of mine so they are all unsure of this grey area. Their advice, get an attorney. This is not an option for me as the moment due to costs. Any Advice?

    Last edited by scjnat123; May 7, 2008 at 01:00 PM.
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    retsoksirhc's Avatar
    retsoksirhc Posts: 912, Reputation: 71
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    #2

    May 7, 2008, 12:55 PM
    As a landlord, I believe your only legal obligation would be to the tenants. If he was never on a lease or listed as a tenant, and she has vacated, then he is tresspassing. Did she give him permission to be there after she left, or does she even know about it? What state are you in?

    I'm not clear on the law here... but this is what seems like is the case to me. If you answer the above questions someone will probably be able to give a little bit better answer.
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    progunr's Avatar
    progunr Posts: 1,971, Reputation: 288
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    #3

    May 7, 2008, 12:55 PM
    You will need an attorney to take care of this properly.

    While I would handle it with a baseball bat, I would also end up in more trouble than the idiot in your town home.

    Ever see the movie Pacific Heights?

    If not, watch it sometime, then you will have a better understanding of some of the situations you could be put in by this creep.

    As is often the case, it is the wrong doers that have more rights, than the victims of their actions do.

    Good luck!
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    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,825, Reputation: 2035
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    #4

    May 7, 2008, 12:56 PM
    What state do you live in because you will have to do a notice to quit (eviction notice) but you have to know how many days you have to give them on the eviction notice. Notice to quit Free Form
    Missouri you don't have to give any notice but most states you have to give anywhere between 3 to 30 day notice depending on your state law. Then if they still refuse to move you have to file at district court.

    Many states say they are a tenant if they even get one piece of mail there.
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    scjnat123's Avatar
    scjnat123 Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    May 7, 2008, 01:13 PM
    Hello, you asked:
    [QUOTE=retsoksirhc]As a landlord, I believe your only legal obligation would be to the tenants. If he was never on a lease or listed as a tenant, and she has vacated, then he is tresspassing. Did she give him permission to be there after she left, or does she even know about it? What state are you in?


    Answer: It is in New Jersey. Yes, my tenant, who is the only name on the lease, moved her boyfriend in with her. They had some type of domestic dispute and she moved out 2 months ago. She informed me that she is having financial issues and can no longer pay the rent. She has vacated my townhouse and living elsewhere now. She also agreed that she will not be returning and informed her boyfriend to leave. The boyfriend said he can't leave as he is unemployed and has nowhere to go.
    So, the boyfriend, is still at my house, not paying me anything (nor do I want any money from them, just out of my house), name not on the e lease.
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    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,825, Reputation: 2035
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    #6

    May 7, 2008, 01:14 PM
    Okay New Jersey you have to do the notice of quit form for 30 day notice and then go to the district court to follow up if he hasn't left yet.

    LSNJLAW - Tenants' Rights in New Jersey Chapter Index
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    progunr's Avatar
    progunr Posts: 1,971, Reputation: 288
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    #7

    May 7, 2008, 01:18 PM
    Try to find and rent Pacific Heights and watch it tonight, yes, it is a fictional account but presents the reality of what can happen to someone in your position.

    Here is a link to a site that provides FREE advice specifically for Landlord Tenant Issues.

    Squatter's rights - Landlord Tenant @ Free Advice
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    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,825, Reputation: 2035
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    #8

    May 7, 2008, 01:24 PM
    He says he has no place to go... maybe hand him a list of homeless shelters with the eviction notice.
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    amricca's Avatar
    amricca Posts: 851, Reputation: 92
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    #9

    May 7, 2008, 01:28 PM
    Why can't he just change the locks when the guy isn't there? Just curious. If he broke in then he could be arrested for trespassing if there is evidence of a break-in.
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    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,825, Reputation: 2035
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    #10

    May 7, 2008, 01:31 PM
    Changing the locks could work but he could possibly take her to court and it would be more hassle than her going through an eviction procedure even with him losing.
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    amricca's Avatar
    amricca Posts: 851, Reputation: 92
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    #11

    May 7, 2008, 01:47 PM
    I'd turn off all the utilities and let them know you are the only one authorized to make changes to the accounts and change the locks. If the guy can't afford to pay rent he can't afford to sue for forcing him out. This has certain risks though and unfortunately the eviction procedure seems like the right way to go, legally anyway.
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    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,825, Reputation: 2035
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    #12

    May 7, 2008, 01:51 PM
    Good point. Who is paying the utilities? If they are in the OP's name then she can definitely get the gas and electric turned off and have a code or pin # put on the account so that nobody else can turn them back on. Legally she can not turn off the water.
    One small problem is some people are more concerned about the roof over their head than having the gas and electric or sleeping in the street.
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    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 80,480, Reputation: 7606
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    #13

    May 7, 2008, 03:22 PM


    Ok, first don't listen to anyone about turning off the electric, this will be an illegal eviction and the person can sue you for tons of cash for violating their rights ( yep and win) next don't change the locks, they can do the same thing and sue you then.

    By living there they developed a tenant relastionship, and you confirmed it by allowing them there for two weeks.
    So you will have to give them a formal eviction notice, and take them to housing court to evict them.
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    grejon's Avatar
    grejon Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #14

    May 10, 2008, 06:12 PM
    Comment on progunr's post
    Quote Originally Posted by progunr View Post
    You will need an attorney to take care of this properly.

    While I would handle it with a baseball bat, I would also end up in more trouble than the idiot in your town home.

    Ever see the movie Pacific Heights?

    If not, watch it sometime, then you will have a better understanding of some of the situations you could be put in by this creep.

    As is often the case, it is the wrong doers that have more rights, than the victims of their actions do.

    Good luck!
    I am agree with you,even more with the baseball bat because he abuse of is non authority
    Helpful

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