I am in the process of purchasing a foreclosure. The bank says it is still occupied, however it appears to be vacant. Once I completed the purchase can I enter the property if I think it is vacant or do I have to go through the formal eviction process? I am leaning toward going in and seeing if there any signs of an occupant, but to also start the official eviction process. Any advice? If it is vacant do I as the new owner have the right to start a rehab or do I have to legally ensure occupant is evicted before I can enter the property? The property is in Texas.
If there is electricity I would consider eviction on "unknown tenants in possession". If the electricity is shut off, more than likely they are gone. Be careful whatever you do. There are always people looking for something for nothing!
This is an answer for Texas. Texas law allows you as the owner to declare the property abandoned and take possession. The law does not clearly define abandoned but some of the criteria I use is:
-Are most of the valuable items removed
-Utilities have been disconnected
-Neighbors have not witness the occupants in more than 72 hours
-A change of address notice in the mail box or tons of mail
I would not attempt to enter without notice but it is not illegal to do so at reasonable times. I just prefer not to be staring down the barrel of a gun! I would leave 24 hours notice and come with a drill
There is no need to evict in this situation. In fact it is not possible without the name of the occupant. In an eviction suit the defendant has to be served(or at least attempted)
Thank you both. It seems like electricity is a good sign of occupied or not. I drove by today and did not see any lights so hopefully they are gone. I think I will proceed with a 24 notice once I close, then enter the property. I think filing an eviction will be good to be on the safe side, if I can find out who lived there! Thank again.
Can also try sticking a blank mailing label on the door and door frame, so it will be broken if the door is opened.
However the banks are always declaring obviously vacant houses near me "occupied" and the telltale sign the bank knows its vacant is the shiny new no-name gold-colored locksets that will be keyed to one of several common "REO" keys
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