Squatters Are Now Wreaking Havoc in Upscale Neighborhoods

As unbelievable as it may be, strangers may have the legal right to live in your home under some circumstances. Find out how to protect yourself against these nefarious scams.

Ben Carson’s Thoughts on Squatting

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Former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson recently spoke out about squatter’s rights, a controversial topic that plagues homeowners across the country.

What is a Squatter?

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A squatter is a person who resides in a home or building without any legal agreement – no lease or mortgage, no verbal contract, and no permission from the homeowner.

Squatters do not pay rent but occupy part or all of a residence indefinitely, refusing to leave.

Laws Vary By State

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Depending on the state, squatters have legal protections that prevent them from being forcibly removed from the premises.

In some cases, squatters who meet certain conditions are legally considered tenants, and any attempts to remove them must be made via the courts in an eviction process.

Carson Shocked By Squatters’ Rights

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Like many, Dr Ben Carson met this knowledge with disbelief, saying the idea that someone could reside in a home without the homeowner’s permission was nonsensical.

“They Have No Right to Be In Your House”

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“Squatters don’t have any rights,” he said. “They have no right to be in your house.”

Squatters Have Rights in Some Cases

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But legally speaking, that’s not true – in New York, for example, a person is given legal tenant status after residing in a property for 30 days or more.

After that point, if a homeowner wants them to leave, they have to pursue a legal eviction process.

What if a Squatter Enters a Property Illegally?

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This is the case even though, in many situations, squatters enter these properties under false pretenses or illegally.

While some people become squatters by simply staying put in a home after their lease has expired, others enter a property that they have never had ties to and set up camp, intending to stay as long as possible.

When the Worst Happens 

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These affairs quickly turn into nightmares for homeowners, and sometimes, the stories are so outrageous that they make international news.

A Case Study in the News

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That was the case for the Landa family, whose dream turned into a nightmare when they found an unexpected surprise in the new home they had just purchased: there was a squatter living inside the walls.

Squatter Refuses to Leave NY Home

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Brett Flores, a former caregiver for the man who owned the home before the Landas, chose to stay in the home after his employer died.

Flores believed that his former boss’s permission was enough for him to stay in the house.

Homeowners Unable to Move In

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The Landas purchased the home last fall, excited to own a house next door to a family who could help care for their disabled son.

But despite how excited they were to close on their new home, they haven’t been able to move in yet.

New York’s Squatter Protections

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Because of New York’s squatters’ rights laws, which state that it is “unlawful for any person to evict or attempt to evict an occupant of a dwelling unit who has lawfully occupied the dwelling unit for thirty consecutive days or longer,” the Landas’ hands are tied.

Homeowner’s Paying Squatter’s Bills

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To add insult to injury, the homeowners are responsible for all expenses related to the home, including the bills for utilities that the squatter is using.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

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While the Landas face every homeowner’s worst nightmare, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim of squatters. 

Methods for Avoiding Squatters

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Experts suggest that enhancing your home security, familiarizing yourself with state and local laws, and staying vigilant about who you let into your home can help.

Home Security

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Property cameras, secure locks on doors and windows, and an alarm system can help alert you when someone is in your home without permission.

Knowing if someone is trying to break in can help you catch the issue before it starts.

When the Law Isn’t In Your Favor

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Squatters’ rights are unsettling for many homeowners who wonder how laws can protect someone living in a property they have no legal claim to, while homeowners like the Lamdas have to spend thousands of dollars and jump through hoops to claim what is legally theirs. 

Some States Do Not Recognize Squatter’s Rights

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Laws protecting squatters vary by state, so it’s a good idea to do your research before buying a home.

Some states don’t recognize squatters’ rights at all and will allow the swift removal of an unauthorized person from private property.

A Harsh Reality

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Others, like New York, have detailed protections for people who occupy property that does not belong to them. Advocates for change are pushing for new laws that protect homeowners from squatters.

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The post Squatters Are Now Wreaking Havoc in Upscale Neighborhoods first appeared on Thrift My Life.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.