Squatter- will you please help?

14 Replies

Hi guys, 

Ive never had this happen to me before so I am kind of lost...

So I just closed on a 4plex in PA and I guess I have a squatter . Before closing the seller said that the apartment was empty but my handyman went in today and said there is a squatter there, who my handyman thinks might be an old tenant. 

Have you guys had any experience with squatters before? 

Originally posted by @Watson Hilaire :

@Mary Jay never had the experience. Did you not inspect the property during due diligence period? If no one was there then and the person doesn’t have a lease with seller I would call the police for trespassing.

 I did do the inspect and during the inspection a tenant was living there.

@Mary Jay

Mary, in 2 posts, 1 hour apart you wrote...

“The seller said nobody was living in the apartment.”

And

“During the inspection a tenant was living there...”

Did you walk the property the day of closing? Was it empty then? What a bad way to start, I guess have the police trespass him with the sellers documents saying the apartment is empty. If it was empty then I assume it’s not full of furniture like a regular person is living there? Are utilities on? Try to find a way to get the police there while you change locks? But then you pry face future damage.

Let us know what works please. GL. 

Originally posted by @Bill Brandt :

@Mary Jay

Mary, in 2 posts, 1 hour apart you wrote...

“The seller said nobody was living in the apartment.”

And

“During the inspection a tenant was living there...”

Did you walk the property the day of closing? Was it empty then? What a bad way to start, I guess have the police trespass him with the sellers documents saying the apartment is empty. If it was empty then I assume it’s not full of furniture like a regular person is living there? Are utilities on? Try to find a way to get the police there while you change locks? But then you pry face future damage.

Let us know what works please. GL. 

 During the inspection a tenant was living there. Then before the closing the seller said apartment was empty because the tenant moved out. 

Sorry if I was not clear earlier

It would be really interesting to hear of someone actually did have an experience with squatters..

Anybody? Please share your experience?

if the person is a tenant who didn't leave 

1. you should have the written lease from the former owner.

2.  Your inspection should have been immediately before closing, and if there was any problem, you should not have closed.

3. If the perosn is a tenant and you have written documentation of end of their lease then you can file with district Justice office and evict that person.  I you don't attend in person you can have an attorney represent you, but nobody except the owner and the attorney can represent you.

Originally posted by @Mary Jay :

Hi guys, 

Ive never had this happen to me before so I am kind of lost...

So I just closed on a 4plex in PA and I guess I have a squatter . Before closing the seller said that the apartment was empty but my handyman went in today and said there is a squatter there, who my handyman thinks might be an old tenant. 

Have you guys had any experience with squatters before? 

 You will need to evict them using the same eviction process as you would with any other legitimate tenant. Only difference is you don't know their name so you'll be filing against a John Doe.

@Mary Jay the problem you have is that you don't know if you have a squatter or a tenant.  You're asking for advice which may not apply because you would need to prove you have a squatter who moved in to the unit and has not yet established tenancy.  However, your only proof seems to be "I was told it was empty".  You saw the place with a tenant, and we told it was empty but apparently didn't do a walk-through before closing?  

All the occupant has to do at this point is say "I've lived here for months" and how can you prove otherwise?  You can't even say for certainty that the place was empty when you bought it.  I'd start with the seller, get something in writing that the place was indeed vacant.  I'd talk to the occupant and see what their story is.  Then after you have facts, come back for some advice.

Originally posted by @PJ M. :

@Mary Jay the problem you have is that you don't know if you have a squatter or a tenant.  You're asking for advice which may not apply because you would need to prove you have a squatter who moved in to the unit and has not yet established tenancy.  However, your only proof seems to be "I was told it was empty".  You saw the place with a tenant, and we told it was empty but apparently didn't do a walk-through before closing?  

All the occupant has to do at this point is say "I've lived here for months" and how can you prove otherwise?  You can't even say for certainty that the place was empty when you bought it.  I'd start with the seller, get something in writing that the place was indeed vacant.  I'd talk to the occupant and see what their story is.  Then after you have facts, come back for some advice.

Most jurisdicitons these days will simply punt.. they will say you need to evict..  its a civil matter etc.. Squatters know the rules that's why they squat

@Mary Jay

You could try to do a cash for keys with them.

Something like "If you vacate in 2 days, I'll give you $1000 after you're out and sign a statement saying you no longer occupy the premises."

Sounds expensive but it's probably a lot cheaper than an eviction. Sucks to be extorted but this is the world we live in.

Some other BP members might have even better cash for keys scenarios and ideas. Maybe search the forum for some other ideas.

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