How to Deal With a Squatter Occupying Your Property

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How to Deal With a Squatter Occupying Your Property

Published on: Feb 01, 2024

Squatters are people who occupy a place without legally owning or renting it. It can be very difficult to get them to leave. If you're dealing with a squatter and are unsure of your rights, know that you are not alone. Here's how you can deal with a squatter occupying your property.

Table of Contents:

  • How to Remove a Squatter From Your Property
  • How to Prevent Squatters From Your Property
  • Understanding Squatters' Rights in Florida
  • FAQs
  • The Final Word

How to Remove a Squatter From Your Property

If a squatter occupies your property, you want to take action as quickly as possible. Here's what you should do:

1. Contact Local Authorities

Call your local police and file an official complaint about the squatter on your land. Provide details about the situation and documents to prove you're the owner. In most cases, just the presence of cops is enough to convince the squatter to leave.

2. Serve an Eviction Notice

An eviction notice is a legal document to inform the squatter to vacate the property within the specified period. We recommend you use a process server to serve the notice.

3. File an Eviction Lawsuit

If the squatter doesn't leave by the deadline in the eviction notice, file an eviction lawsuit to remove them legally. Submit evidence that you're the owner of the property. If the evidence is valid, the court will issue a judgment in your favor and pass an order to local law enforcement to forcibly remove the squatter.

We recommend you hire a real estate attorney to file an eviction lawsuit.

4. Handle the Possessions Left Behind

If the squatter left behind their belongings, you can't just remove or sell them. Most states require you to stick a written notice outside the property so the people who left their possessions can find them.

How to Prevent Squatters From Your Property

Inspect your property regularly. Visit your property at least once a month to check for unauthorized access. Look out for things like lights being on, the presence of vehicles, debris around entrances, or any structural damage. The sooner you detect squatters, the easier it will be to remove them.

Use security systems. Install motion-activated lights, security cameras, and alarm systems. These deter squatters and alert you right away if there's a breach. Consider hiring a property manager to patrol the property, especially for commercial buildings.

Secure all access points. Ensure all doors, windows, attics, basements, and other ways into the building are securely locked and sealed. Board up any broken access points. Remove keys from the property and change all locks.

Post "No Trespassing" signs. Place signs around the perimeter of the property, especially near entrances. While signs alone won't prevent squatters, they warn them they can face legal consequences for occupying the property.

Check utility meters. Monitor utility meters for water, electricity, and gas usage. If possible, shut off all utilities when a property is vacant.

Seek help from your neighbors. Ask neighbors to watch out for any suspicious activity on the property and report it to you right away. Provide them with your contact information so they know how to reach you in case of an emergency.

Understanding Squatters' Rights in Florida

In Florida, squatters can gain legal rights to a property they don't own after occupying it for 7 years. For non-abandoned properties where the owner still pays property taxes, squatters must occupy the property for 20 years before they can gain legal rights. This period is called adverse possession.

If a squatter has occupied your Florida property, here's what you should do.

First, take action immediately. Send a written notice to the squatter asking to vacate your property within a specific period, typically 3 to 5 days. You may need to hire a process server to serve this notice properly.

If the squatter doesn't leave, file a lawsuit to evict them. This process may take several weeks and requires assistance from law enforcement. Remember, the key is to get rid of the squatter from your property before adverse possession laws work in their favor.


How long does it legally take to remove a squatter?

The duration varies significantly depending on how a squatter cooperates. However, removing a squatter can take at least a month.

Are there professional services to help with squatter eviction?

Yes. Professional eviction services and lawyers specializing in property disputes can help you with this.

How can I recover unpaid rent or damages caused by squatters?

Document all damages and consult a lawyer to explore how to recover costs. Legal action may be necessary to get compensated. 

The Final Word

So there you have it, the steps you should take to remove a squatter from your property. While it can be daunting, if you follow the proper legal process and stay determined, you can reclaim what is yours.

If you need help selling your home, get in touch with Golex Properties. We handle everything for you, so you don't have to deal with the hassle of listing and marketing your property. We also purchase your property as-is, so you don't have to worry about making repairs or property cleaning. We are one of the only home buyers who purchase properties occupied by squatters.

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