Amid an increase in reports of squatters taking over people’s homes across the country, one expert warned that the phenomenon is on the rise and noted that removing a squatter could take months.
Real estate lawyer Jim Burling told Fox News on Tuesday that any home that is not occupied for a period of time could be targeted by squatters. If the owner tries to call the police, officers may not be able to do much, and at the same time, using the courts could turn into a lengthy and expensive process, he warned.
“I think it’s a fairly big problem and I think it’s pretty hard to avoid,” Burling, who is vice president of litigation for Pacific Legal Foundation, said. In cases where a property owner is attempting to evict a squatter, generally the court system has to get involved to determine whose paperwork is legitimate, he noted.
He added that it’s not the “job” of the police to do that. “That’s not their bailiwick. If you have that kind of dispute it has to go to court,” he said.
Properties that are most susceptible to attracting squatters are people who have left them vacant due to a family death or foreclosure. Owners have to remain vigilant and keep their properties locked up and secured, Burling remarked.
“If I were a homeowner, I would be really careful about letting my property be vacant for any period of time,” Burling remarked. “I would be very careful about renting it out.”
“The courts are backed up, the civil process takes forever, the squatters won’t show up to court and so it just drags on and in the meantime somebody’s living rent-free for a significant period of time.”
In some places, it could take months to remove a squatter or an evicted tenant, lawyers have said.
Another landlord-tenant lawyer, Michael Zink, told CBS Chicago in a recent interview that “evictions in Chicago—whether it’s about squatters or anything else—are taking approximately six to eight months.”
Squatter cases, he added, have been on the rise in recent years because people know they can live for months rent-free with virtually no consequences. Zink noted that when the police get involved, they have little power.
“The problem that police have is when they show up to a scene like that, they don’t know who is telling the truth,” Zink told the CBS affiliate.
In many areas and states, too, landlords cannot forcibly remove anyone from a property. Only a sheriff or court-sanctioned bailiff can do so after the landlord prevails in court. If a person is proven to have trespassed, police and other law enforcement officers can intervene, however.
There have been reports that landlords and property owners have used so-called “squatter removal services” in some cities, like Detroit, to encourage squatters to leave. In one instance in January, a property owner used such a service to post official-looking notices on the property warning the squatters to leave within 24 hours or else their possessions would be forcefully taken away.
A Chicago-area family told local media that they’re currently embroiled in a legal fight to evict a man who was described as a “professional squatter” who is now commandeering their deceased mother’s home. After Darthula Young’s mother, who owned a duplex in Chicago’s South Side for decades, died last year, the property was transferred to her family members, they told CBS Chicago.
“On Sept. 23, I got a call from the neighbors to say there’s been a shooting in the building—and when I went to the building and put my key in, it didn’t work,” Young told the channel.
“The person who had been shot in the apartment, this guy named Takito Murray, came back from the hospital and informed us and the police that he now lived there—that he had rights,” she said, adding that Murray “was a professional squatter.”
In another recent instance, squatters allegedly took over a home in Portland, Oregon, and have terrorized residents. Locals last week made a plea in front of the Portland City Council to intervene, KATU reported.
“We feel victimized by the irrefutable safety issues which happen so often,” Elizabeth Adams, who lives next door, said at the meeting. “We have a deep compassion for our homeless, but that doesn’t mean that we should have to live in fear for our safety each and every day.
Rule number one for successful evictions, never let them know when you are coming, well armed with lots of muscle, and never let the court system or police get involved. It worked wonders for me who got the deadbeats out on the run in about 10 minutes, never to be seen in the town again. A man’s home is his castle and he has every right to defend it from interlopers and invaders. If you cannot accomplish this on your own there are plenty of Dog the Bounty Hunter types who can accomplish this for you at much less a cost to do it through the courts. Possession is 9 tenths of the law. Once back in possession make sure you take legal security steps to retain it. No court of law will convict a man of having to take another life defending the invasion of his own home. If you are in it you are in possession. If you shoot them coming in through the window, make sure the body lands inside to satiate the cops who investigate. If he falls on the porch, drag him inside. Better he be the victim than you who know not what drugs they are on at any given moment and can kill you over a pair of Rebocks.
I don’t have any property for anyone to try squatting on. But if I did they wouldn’t have to worry about the cops. Cops would be their friend trust me. Because in a case like that I follow the three S’s. Shoot, shovel, and shut up.
What get’s me is they KEEP SAYING “Cops can’t do much, neither can courts” etc..
SO WHY DO FOLKS KEEP paying property/city/state taxes FOR THESE organizations who are essentially USELESS???
Sounds like this is mainly vacant homes. There’s also a title insurance ad that is constantly on some TV networks. Supposedly, that’s how a crook can steal it while you’re still living in it.
I know.. I’ve thought about signing UP for that title lock program.. ALL because i’ve known two folks who FELL victim to it.
AND what annoys the hell out of me, is they flat out ACKNOWLEDGE that neither the cops/courts OR THE County clerks, can do JACK TO STOP IT..
ALL BECAUSE the bloody LAWS are wrote as to NOT ALLOW THEM..
SO where are the politicians, mayors, governors etc, IN GETTING THOSE BLOODY LAWS Changed!??!?!?!
The politicians won’t do anything until that happens to one of them and you can bet your bottom dolllar the laws will be changed faster than a frog catching its meal.
True. They rarely care, TILL THEY SUFFER from it.
Squatter cases, he added, have been on the rise in recent years because people know they can live for months rent-free with virtually no consequences
Hey! All you members of State Governments get this problem fixed now. Eliminate all the B S and get it done.
I recall a friend suggesting to me that we could form a security company to keep vacation homes in northern Idaho squatter free. We would make periodic visits keep the homes free or encourage squatters to leave with their lives intact. We of course would be armed and prepared.
I’d LOVE TO SEE the state governments in these problem areas, GET THEIR heads out of each other’s sphincters long enough to DO SOMETHING.. Problem is, MOST OF THOSE governments are the ones who MADE THESE sqatters laws, the way they are, PROTECTING THE SQUATTERS over the home owners..
It has risen because nobody these days gets arrested when they illegally cross the border into home America, which makes them think they can enter Home individual citizen with no fear of legal consequences, especially since the Biden Family who now owns the government, doesn’t give a squat what it takes to steal your rights and steal elections, and think they can squat all over the free speech rights of WE THE PEOPLE. He who is an illegal squatter in the Whitehouse won’t help anyone other than his birds of the same fickle’d feather, especially many who got their offices illegally and now squat in the House and the Senate, not to mention the latest Supreme Court nominee.
True, they are being ENCOURAGED to be law breakers, by the TOP law breaker in the white house and all his libtard soros funded DA’s.
I’m guessing this is not as much of a problem in Florida or Texas. Illinois and Oregon, you get what you vote for – soft on crime + soft on “homelessness” = squatters.