Remove a squatter before purchase in Massachusetts

5 Replies

I've got a possible lead on a property that the owner has abandoned and let fall into foreclosure because of squatters.  I haven't heard the whole story yet as I'm getting in touch with the owner.  I'd like to find a way to get the squatters out of there BEFORE talking to the owner and possible purchasing.  

They've been there for a while and the previous owner couldn't get them out.  Are there a different set of rights I'd have as a new owner? 

Most forums on here are about getting squatters out after purchasing.  I'd like to get squatters out BEFORE PURCHASE.  Any advice?

@David Briley

I don't have much more advice than "don't close with that headache."

Unfortunately if you close, you inherit the headache as is.  The former owner needs to go through an eviction process to get them out.  In reality they will go out the back door 30 seconds before the sheriff shows up at the front of the house.  

Like most angry tenants, expect the place to be in even worse shape than you expect.  While it may have been a gut job to start, now expect it to be a feces covered gut job.

Lock the deal up but do not close until you have proof that they are out and you've secured the place with heavy duty locks.  Get your crews in there as fast as possible.  Removing floors is a good way to keep people out of everything except the basement.

@Aaron Montauge Remove the floors soon as you get the place to prevent rehabitation?  I like it.  

Any idea why the previous owner couldn't get them out?

Yes, definitely make the deal subject to the tenants being evicted and property secured. I have made several incredible deals by telling the seller I will do the legwork, but that if tenant won't leave or deal is too big of a hassle we will not close.... Most of the time it has worked out well for me, but I live in a state that favors landlords over tenants.

You can probably call the eviction courts and ask them what your options are.. Tell them "I am buying a house, and it has squatters.. I need to get them out, what is the procedures, and timeframes?"

I recently made the mistake of purchasing a property with a squatter and can tell you my new rule is never again. You open yourself up to a lot of liability as you are responsible (at least in Maryland) for maintaining existing utilities and are then responsible for their payment. As a new owner you unfortunately have no new "set of rights".

My suggestion is to have the current conduct a "cash for keys". They can offer the squatters some lump sum of cash ($500-$1500 or whatever you find appropriate) to have their items out of the home "by Monday at 10 am". If they agree the owner can then return at that time, verify that all items are out, and then provide the cash given that the squatter signs a sheet of paper stating that they are moved out of the house (this will be helpful when having utilities turned off or put back in his name). At that time it is highly advisable to change all of the locks, post no trespassing signs on all doors and windows, and setup a cellular security system like Simplisafe. None of these transactions should be performed alone as squatters can be exceedingly dangerous.

Given this signed document you can feel safe in purchasing the property but be aware that it is likely that the squatters will attempt to return to the property if not secured properly.

Dave,  did you have any luck getting the squatter out ?  I have the same thing going on now.  Talked to the squatter, he has no intention of leaving until he's thrown out. 

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