Removing Squatters in Alabama

6 Replies

Hey there y'all, I'm considering putting in an offer on a property that I know has squatters in it. Ideally, I'm planning on using the cash for keys strategy to get them out quickly and painlessly. However, if that doesn't work, I'm trying to figure out what the process would look like to have them removed. 

I know they have not been there long enough to gain "adverse possession" or squatter's rights, but all the research I've done hasn't led me to a consensus on whether or not this would require an eviction process as if there was a landlord/tenant relationship, or if I can just call the sheriff to have them removed. Anyone dealt with squatters in Alabama before? Thanks in advance.

@Shelby Pracht , we dealt with this and were able to prove breaking and entering, and as we were the owners the police told us we could press criminal charges.  The police put their few items on the street, we secured the house and were asked to testify against the people later in court as they were serial offenders.  This was in Huntsville, AL.  The police reports were a good safety for us I think.

State Law will determine what you need to do.  If they are related to the former property owners, that could be a problem.  In Alabama, we do what is called an ejectment.  It is not as lengthy as an eviction.  But, you will need to hire an attorney if they won't leave for cash.

If you haven't written the offer yet then you can write it contingent upon it being proven vacant with a buyer walkthrough the day before closing. Put the burden on the current owner to get it done for you while having it in contract. The contract might motivate them more to clear the issue for you.

I've also written offers with a contingency of being able to clear the squatters within X number of days. Then you can go talk to them, offer cash for keys, figure out a price that works, and if the price negatively affects the deal you can renegotiate based on the contingency. 

Both are effective if you don't want to go through the courts and think that if the people actually leave that they will stay gone. In my experiences squatters tend to leave you alone if you're reasonable with them, and fight back if you're not.

Originally posted by @Jared Garfield :

@Shelby Pracht, we dealt with this and were able to prove breaking and entering, and as we were the owners the police told us we could press criminal charges.  The police put their few items on the street, we secured the house and were asked to testify against the people later in court as they were serial offenders.  This was in Huntsville, AL.  The police reports were a good safety for us I think.

 How did you prove breaking and entering? Did you already own the property when the squatters moved in, and called the police right away? 

Thanks so much for the info.

As a investor starting out unless the property is practically free and worth the risk of having to walk away from you make your offer conditional on the property being vacant at time of sale.

With a little muscle you could physically run them off yourself (friends) before you take ownership with little risk to you.  Probably not in your personal wheelhouse but that is my first choice.  

@Shelby Pracht You should also find out if they've been doing any damage. You really want to make sure that they haven't been stripping the copper wire out of the walls. It happens a lot more than you can imagine. Sometimes it's not the expense of getting them out that kills you, it's the damage they leave behind and what they leave behind.

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