Do You Know Squat?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate

Home Sweet HomeWe've got squatters!  Lately, there seems to be an increasing number of squatters found living in homes throughout various Dallas area suburbs.  Plus, apparently a few of them have developed exquisite taste in real estate too.  It appears that some of these unwelcomed 'tenants without permission' have chosen pretty swanky digs to call "Home."  And, not only do some of the squatters have excellent taste, they are also asserting -- with a great deal of conviction -- ownership of these properties using the 'adverse possession' defense.  Huh?!?

We all remember the definition of 'adverse possession' from our Principles of Real Estate books.  I will venture to guess that in most states, a 'claimant' must satisfy -- and be able to prove -- the complete satisfaction of all of the required elements of adverse possession.  And in the state of Texas, these requirements must be met for a period of 3 to 30 years, depending on the circumstances.  Consequently, I don't think many squatters are finding themselves triumphant, however, I have to give them props for the 2 C's -- Creativity and Chutzpah!

Are you having any issues with squatters in your area?  If so, how are those situations being handled?  More importantly, how are they occurring in the first place? Are these vacant properties listed for sale?  Vacant REOs?  Vacant seasonal homes?  Abandoned homes?  I find it fascinating how a group of people can move in to a property, set up shop, make themselves at home -- then function and thrive completely under the radar.  At least for awhile.  So, please enlighten me -- because I would really love to know squat!

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carie shapiro

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Elite Home Sales Team
Elite Home Sales Team OC - Corona del Mar, CA
A Tenacious and Skilled Real Estate Team

We have not had the problem in our area.  Thank God. 

Feb 29, 2012 12:51 AM #1
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

Carie~~Two years ago i had buyers. Buyers that told me they were living with friends while looking to purchase. They were prequalified and ready to purchase.. a dream. UNTIL.. we got to the closing table and they were three thousand dollars offf.. and walked. I find out after that the lender knew they were squatters!! WHAT? yes, they were living in a house that was in foreclosure. The friends moved out and they stayed.. This went on for two years... free rent! They walked from my closing. and lost their down payment. NO return calls.. and i have no idea where they are. You just can't make this stuff up!

Feb 29, 2012 01:18 AM #2
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Long Beach Ca, does a great job not allowing squatting to be prevalent, they have implemented a tough stance on people unlawfully taking advantage of others.

Feb 29, 2012 01:23 AM #3
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Carie -  So far thank goodness I haven't had to deal with squatters.  Unless you count renters that refuse to let the home be shown.  I have ran into more than my fair share of those.  Ugh....

Feb 29, 2012 01:30 AM #4
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Hmmm...this is an interesting outcome to difficulties.

Feb 29, 2012 01:39 AM #5
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Elite:  That's good to hear!

Janis:  OMG ... that is one crazy story!  Sorry you went through that and you're right ... you can't make that stuff up :)

Jon:  Sounds like Long Beach is doing it's best to keep it under control.

John:  Glad to hear you haven't experienced any squatting problems.  And, I agree ... renters that make showings difficult or impossible ... ugh is right!

Li:  Yes, it is interesting ... that's for sure.


Feb 29, 2012 01:51 AM #6
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

I'm not aware of problems in my area, thank goodness. Sounds like your squatters need to look up the requirements for Adverse Possession. In California, they would have had to have been paying property taxes for a minimum of 5 years.

Feb 29, 2012 02:12 AM #7
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Cynthia:  Glad to hear you're not experiencing any problems in your area.  And, yes ... that's why I give the squatters an "A" for creativity :)

Feb 29, 2012 04:32 AM #8
Kristin Moran
Owner - RE/MAX Access - - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397

If we are having that issue in San Antonio I definitely haven't heard about it! That is some scary stuff!

Feb 29, 2012 04:53 AM #9
Janell Kittleson
Rentec Direct - Grants Pass, OR
Rentec Direct

Squatters in rental properties have always been a problem, not a huge one, but one nonetheless.  At least in Oregon, if you acknowledge that someone is living in a property you manage/own (by failing to demand they leave, by accepting a rent check from them for the actual tenant, by writing a letter with their name on it...) you have basically granted tenancy.  When Uncle Jimmy comes to visit, just make sure he leaves!

Feb 29, 2012 08:06 AM #10
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Kristin:  Sounds like San Antonio is in the clear :)  You're right ... it is scary stuff!

Janell:  I'll remember that when Uncle Jimmy comes for a visit :)

Feb 29, 2012 10:10 AM #11
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