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The Basics on How to Evict a Squatter in California

The Basics on How to Evict a Squatter in California

Imagine checking out a rental property you own only to find someone illegally living there. While California is a beautiful state with a unique culture, it's no secret that it also has a homelessness issue.

As of 2022, approximately 30% of all homeless people in the US live in California. If you own a rental property, there may come a day when you need to know how to evict a squatter in California.

You'll need to understand the grounds for eviction and the legal eviction protection that's in place. Let's explore the key information you should know about eviction laws.

Beware of Adverse Possession

It's possible for squatters to file an adverse possession claim to gain legal ownership of a property. They do so by meeting specific requirements over a 5-year period. This often involves occupying the property without permission, excluding other people from the property, and residing on the property for a five-year duration.

If they meet these requirements, they can file a lawsuit and attempt to gain possession of your investment property. Unfortunately, judges sometimes side with the squatter.

How to Evict a Squatter in California

You'll need to provide a notice to vacate before evicting a squatter in California. You must also do so at least three days beforehand.

If the squatter doesn't leave after the notice is served, you can file a lawsuit. Doing so allows you to reclaim possession of your property and work with law enforcement to remove the individual(s).

Protecting Your Property From Squatters

You should have your property regularly inspected to ensure unauthorized parties aren't living there. It's also worth investing in home security measures like automated alarm systems, fences, and gates.

Posting "no trespassing" signs is a great deterrent. Consider hiring a property management company, as well. When looking for one to work with, explore their past reputation so you can gain insight into what to expect.

You should also ask about their pricing structure. Some property management companies take a portion of monthly income, for example. Others charge a flat fee.

Tenancy at Will

Sometimes, issues arise when someone is given tenancy at will by the landlord. This refers to a verbal agreement that allows them to live on the property without a formal lease.

If the landlord changes their mind in the future, the person living at the property can argue they're allowed to stay there based on the previous agreement. In this case, they aren't classified as squatters since residency was permitted by the owner. Keep this situation in mind so you avoid creating additional legal complications.

Take Action ASAP

The sooner you take action, the sooner you'll regain ownership of your rental property. Keep the answer to "how to evict a squatter in California" in mind so you can focus on renting your property to legitimate tenants.

Advantage Property Management Services has proudly served the industry since 2010. We manage all types of residential properties, ranging from large apartment buildings to small condos. You can learn more about the benefits we provide by getting in touch with us today.