Expert tips on how to protect your property from squatters

John Gregory Image
Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Here's how to protect your property from squatters
More homes are being targeted by squatters across L.A. Here's what homeowners and short-term rental hosts need to know to protect their properties.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- More properties are being targeted by squatters across L.A., turning homes into complete chaos. Here's what experts recommend for homeowners and short-term rental hosts.

It's a homeowner's worst nightmare -- squatters moving in and wrecking the place. And some properties are especially vulnerable.

"Vacant properties, properties that look like they have not been in use for a while, like if the property is in a state of disrepair, or if landscaping looks like it hasn't been maintained, things like that. That's what they are looking for," said Arash Sadat, a real estate attorney.

Squatters can have expensive taste. A mansion in Beverly Hills was recently taken over by squatters who turned it into a party house. Police could not just kick them out. It took a legal fight to do it.

"The police need to be informed by the court that they have the authority to do that. Those are the protections we have in place for whether it be renters or whoever is occupying property. Police can't just kick someone out. They need a court to say 'Hey, this person has no right to be there' before they take the action," Sadat said.

Landlords are also at risk if you rent the home as an AirBnB. The company does have insurance that can protect you. Also, you should check the user profile of prospective guests. If there are no reviews, that can be a red flag.

If your home is vacant, here are tips to protect it against squatters. Secure all entrances in the home. Put up no trespassing signs. And most importantly, check the property regularly.

"This is really important too: If you have a property that's been sitting vacant, it's typically for more than 30 days, your homeowners insurance policy won't cover any damage to the property that squatters do," Sadat said.

Damage can add up fast if squatters move in. They have nothing to lose, while home owners face losing what could be their biggest investment.

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