2024: Can Police Remove Squatters From Your Home?

Police are not allowed to remove squatters from your home without an eviction order from the Sheriff, but if a person breaks into your home and you catch them in the act or within a very short period they are still technically trespassing, and then the police could potentially arrest them.

This varies state by state in sometimes even county by county but if you catch somebody trespassing in the act you can call the police to get them arrested, if you go to your house and you see them there and they have their stuff there and they are quote on quote living there then you will need to go through a regular eviction process which can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees and can take weeks and even months to remove the squatters. We go over in this article how to remove squatters if the police are not able to remove them and your other options

Table Of Contents

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Definition of Squatters

Squatters are individuals who occupy a property without permission or legal sense to do so. Sometimes referred to as unauthorized occupants or illegal occupants, squatters are not the legal owners or tenants of the property they inhabit. Squatter situations can occur in both residential and commercial buildings and can pose significant challenges for property owners and local law enforcement officers alike.

Squatters are different from trespassers, Trespassers are usually caught when the crime happens or shortly after allowing the police to legally be able to arrest this person before the person tries to claim “Squatter Rights” and has to go through the eviction process.

Police Officer Arrive At A House With Dangerous Squatter Who Broke In The House

In many cases, the presence of squatters can lead to property damage, financial losses, and legal trouble for the rightful owner. While squatting is generally considered a civil matter, it can also involve criminal activities such as trespassing or theft. As such, dealing with squatters often requires a careful understanding of property rights, legal procedures, and the eviction process.

Getting Squatters Out Of My Rental Property Cost Me over $15,000 in legal fees, repairs and holding cost. Squatters are not fun to deal with!
– Jacob Michal, CEO, Louisville Cash Real Estate


How Can Police Remove Somebody From Your Home?

Law enforcement can usually remove somebody from your home whenever they are considered trespassing versus being a squatter, typically whenever you catch somebody breaking into your home in the act of doing it or shortly after the active doing it police can remove them and take them to jail. If the person trespassing is there long enough to bring their stuff there to show that they have been living there for an extended period of time or if they get mail there then you will have to go through the legal process of evicting that person. Please check with your local attorney as this can vary from state to state and sometimes even County to County.

While squatting may not be considered a criminal offense in some jurisdictions, homeowners can still contact the Sheriff’s office to create a record of the encounter. This record can be used as evidence if the property owner decides to pursue legal action against the squatters.

However, property owners have alternative civil remedies to resolve squatting situations. They can pursue legal action through the eviction process in court, which involves filing an eviction lawsuit and presenting evidence of their ownership rights. If successful, the court can issue an order for the squatters to vacate the property.

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Legal Rights of Squatters

Squatters’ rights, also known as adverse possession laws are specific laws that vary by state and can grant legal ownership of a property to someone who occupies it without permission. Adverse possession is a legal process that allows squatters to obtain ownership rights if certain qualifications are met.

To qualify for adverse possession, squatters typically need to demonstrate continuous possession of the property for a specified period of time, which can vary from state to state. They must also prove their occupancy was open, notorious, and exclusive, meaning they openly and exclusively used the property without interference of the homeowner and were undisturbed.

Squatters have entitlements similar to tenants. They cannot be forcefully removed from the property without due process. Instead, property owners must go through the legal eviction process, which involves serving a written notice of eviction to the squatters. This notice provides them with a specified period to vacate the premises.

It’s important to note that squatting can be a civil matter, not a criminal offense, unless the squatters engage in criminal activities while occupying the property. If property owners fail to take legal action, squatters may be able to make legal claims to the property through adverse possession proceedings.

Managing squatter rights situations can be complex, and property owners often seek assistance from property management companies or law enforcement officers familiar with eviction laws to navigate the legal proceedings and protect their property rights and interests. By understanding the legal rights of squatters, property owners can take appropriate action to address unauthorized occupants and minimize potential property damage.

When dealing with a squatter situation, property owners must follow a specific legal process to remove them. Squatters, who occupy a property without permission, have certain rights that need to be respected. Initially, property owners should serve a formal eviction notice stating the squatters’ need to vacate the premises within a specified period of time. If the squatters fail to comply, property owners can file an eviction lawsuit and proceed with legal proceedings.

standoff between police and a squatter breaking into a house

It’s important to note that squatting is typically considered a civil matter unless the squatters engage in criminal activities. During the eviction court hearing, property owners must provide evidence of ownership and reasonable grounds for eviction. If successful, law enforcement officers can enforce the eviction order and remove the squatters from the property. It’s crucial for property owners to understand the legal process and seek professional advice to ensure a smooth and lawful resolution.

Notice Requirements For Removing Squatters

The notice requirements for removing squatters vary depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances. Generally, the process starts with the property owner serving a written notice to the squatters which should preferably be delivered using certified mail, informing them of their illegal occupation and demanding that they vacate the premises within a specified time. The notice may need to be delivered in person or posted on the property.

In some cases, the property owner may need to file a lawsuit and obtain a court order for eviction and if the property is in a LLC a lot of times the owner will have to hire an attorney to handle the case. The notice requirements are designed to ensure that the squatters are given a fair opportunity to respond and vacate the property before legal action is taken.

Eviction Court Hearings

Eviction court hearings play a crucial role in the legal process of removing squatters from a property. Once the property owner has followed the necessary steps to initiate the eviction process and issue an official eviction notice to the squatters, they may find themselves needing to take legal action through a formal eviction proceeding.

To begin the legal process, the property owner needs to file a lawsuit in the county court where the property is located. This lawsuit will detail the reason for the eviction, such as non-payment of rent or violation of rental agreement terms. The property owner will also provide evidence of their ownership rights and the failure of the squatters to vacate the premises.

Once the case is filed, it will be assigned to a judge who will review the evidence presented by both parties. The judge will consider factors such as the validity of the eviction notice and any defenses raised by the squatters. Both the property owner and the squatters may present their arguments and evidence during the eviction court hearing.

After carefully evaluating all the information, the judge will decide the eviction. If the judge rules in favor of the property owner, an order for the squatters to vacate the property will be issued. The judge’s decision is legally binding, and the squatters will be required to comply with the eviction order.

Alternatives To Removing Squatters With Police

When faced with the challenge of dealing with squatters on their property, property owners may be seeking alternatives to involving the police. While the police can be a resource in documenting the presence of squatters, property owners may prefer to pursue other options before resorting to legal action or eviction. Here are some alternatives to consider:

  • 1. Mediation and Negotiation: Instead of immediately resorting to legal measures, property owners can explore the possibility of mediating or negotiating with the squatters. This approach may involve offering financial incentives, providing alternative housing options, or finding a compromise that satisfies both parties, Once you agree with the squatter use this “Cash For Keys” Document which is also a release of Lease so that you document doing this with the squatter to protect yourself.
  • 2. Property Management Companies: Property owners who are unwilling to handle the situation themselves can enlist the services of a property management company. These companies specialize in managing rental properties and can assist in dealing with squatters. They have experience in navigating such situations and can handle negotiations, eviction proceedings, and any legal processes that may be necessary.
  • 3. Legal Notices: Property owners can issue formal notices to the squatters, alerting them to their illegal occupation and requesting them to vacate the premises within a specific period. These notices, such as “notice to quit” or “demand to vacate,” must comply with local laws and regulations. While not a guarantee, serving formal notices can sometimes prompt squatters to leave voluntarily to avoid potential legal trouble.

Below is a 7-day notice and a 30-day notice example specifically for the state of Kentucky as an example for you to view, Feel free to use after having a local attorney in your area editing the document for state-specific laws.

  • 4. Selling Your House: When dealing with squatters, Sometimes it can be a very stressful and expensive process and can be very tiring as well and selling can be in somebody’s best interest. If you are curious to see how much you can get for your house that has squatters and sell it as-is fill out the form below or give us a call or text at 502-461-1450 to receive a no-obligation cash offer.

In any scenario, it is essential to keep detailed records of all communication and interactions with the squatters. These records can be critical when pursuing legal action or working towards a resolution. Remember, every situation is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Property owners should carefully consider their options and seek professional advice to navigate the process effectively.

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Property Ownership and Adverse Possession Claims

Understanding property ownership rights is essential for property owners facing squatter situations. Adverse possession refers to a legal concept in which a person can gain ownership of a property without the permission of the rightful owner. This typically occurs when an individual has continuously possessed and occupied the property for a specified period, usually ranging from several years to over a decade.

Police Arriving To Remove A New Potential Squatter

Adverse possession laws vary between jurisdictions, and the specific requirements must be met for a successful claim. Property owners should be aware of these laws to navigate squatter situations effectively and protect their ownership rights. Seeking legal advice from a property law attorney is crucial to navigating the complex landscape of adverse possession claims and understanding the necessary legal procedures and potential pitfalls involved. Typically adverse possession laws are from 7-21 years of continous occupation of the property without any itnerference from the homeowner.

Adverse Possession Laws

Adverse possession laws are regulations that come into play when dealing with squatters and unauthorized occupants on a property. These laws provide legal authorization for individuals who have occupied a once unoccupied property without the permission of the owner for an extended period to claim legal ownership.

  • To successfully claim adverse possession, certain elements must be proven. Firstly, the individual must demonstrate continuous possession of the property for a specified period, which can vary depending on the jurisdiction, typically ranging from 7-25 years. This means that the occupant must have uninterrupted and exclusive control over the property.
  • Secondly, the possession must be open and notorious, meaning that it is obvious to other people that the occupant is using and occupying the property as if they were the rightful owner. The possession cannot be concealed or hidden.
  • Additionally, the individual must demonstrate that their possession of the property is hostile or adverse to the rights of the true owner. This means that the occupation must be without the permission or consent of the owner.
  • Some jurisdictions will also require the squatter to catch the property taxes on the property up or keep the property maintained but will vary.

Establishing Legal Title to Property To The Judge.

Establishing legal title to property is an important process that property owners must follow to establish their ownership rights and protect their investment. Several steps and requirements must be fulfilled to establish legal title.

The first step is to acquire the necessary documents, such as deeds and titles, which provide evidence of ownership. These documents should identify the owner and the property in question. Property surveys may also be required to accurately define the boundaries of the property.

Maintaining accurate records is crucial in establishing legal ownership. Property owners should ensure that all necessary documentation is properly recorded and registered with the relevant government authorities. This includes updating records to reflect any changes in ownership, such as through inheritance or the purchase of the additional property.

Additionally, property owners should stay informed about any changes or updates in property laws and regulations to ensure compliance and legal compliance. Regularly reviewing and updating property-related documents, such as surveys and titles, can help avoid potential disputes and complications in the future.

Establishing legal title to property provides property owners with a sense of security and peace of mind. By following the necessary steps and requirements, property owners can protect their investments and defend their ownership rights in case of any legal challenges or disputes.

Impact on Property Ownership and Existing Tenancies

Squatters can have a significant impact on property ownership and existing tenancies. When unauthorized occupants take up residence in a property, they can disrupt the rights and privileges of property owners and legal tenants.

One of the main consequences of having squatters is the potential devaluation of the property. The presence of squatters can deter potential buyers or renters, as many people may be hesitant to invest in or occupy a property with unknown legal complications. This can result in a longer time on the market and lower selling or rental prices.

In addition to affecting marketability, squatters can also infringe upon the legal rights of existing tenants. For tenants who have signed lease agreements, the sudden presence of squatters can be an inconvenience and disruption to their peaceful enjoyment of the property. It may even lead to conflicts and disputes between tenants and squatters over space and resources.

Dealing with squatters can pose numerous challenges for property owners and tenants alike. The process of removing squatters can be time-consuming, costly, and emotionally draining. Property owners may have to go through legal proceedings, eviction court hearings, and obtain formal eviction notices to regain possession of their properties. Existing tenants may find themselves caught in the middle, facing uncertain living conditions and potential disruption to their lease agreement.

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Vacant Properties and Unoccupied Land

Vacant properties and unoccupied land can become prime targets for squatters. These properties often attract attention due to their perceived lack of supervision or neglect. Squatters may see these spaces as an opportunity to secure shelter or even establish illegal activities. However, property owners and law enforcement have legal mechanisms in place to remove squatters from vacant properties and unoccupied land. If you own a piece of land that is vacant I would recommend fencing it off and take immediate action to prevent future squatting.

Understanding the rights of property owners and the legal processes involved can help protect the interests of rightful owners and prevent individuals from unlawfully occupying these spaces. From eviction notices to court proceedings, property owners have various avenues to reclaim their properties and address issues of squatting effectively.

Time Period for Non-Occupancy and Abandonment

When it comes to determining the non-occupancy and abandonment of a property, different periods of time can be considered. These time frames can vary depending on local laws, the court system for that county and regulations which vary for the different states, but they generally revolve around a property being left unoccupied without any signs of use or maintenance.

The duration of time that would be considered as non-occupancy or abandonment can range from a few months to several years. For example, in some areas, a property may be deemed abandoned if it remains unoccupied and neglected for six months or longer.

If these periods of time are met and a property is deemed non-occupied or abandoned, there can be potential consequences for property owners. One consequence could be the loss of certain property rights or legal claims. In some cases, adverse possession laws may come into play, allowing unauthorized individuals to make a claim of ownership on the property if they have occupied it continuously for a certain period without the owner’s permission or intervention.

Police Leaving A House That Has A Squatter They Couldn't Legally Remove

How To Prevent Squatters In Your House

Property owners can take various preventive measures to avoid squatting claims and protect their property rights. Regular property inspections are crucial in detecting any signs of unauthorized occupation early on. By conducting inspections periodically, owners can identify any suspicious activity or signs of squatters and take prompt action to address the situation.

  • Securing access points is another important step in preventing squatting. Property owners should ensure that all doors, windows, and other entry points are securely locked and reinforced, making it difficult for unauthorized individuals to gain access to the property. Installing security measures like motion sensor lights or security cameras can also act as deterrents.
  • Displaying visible signs indicating that the property is owned and not available for unauthorized occupancy can also be effective. These signs can include messages such as “Private Property” or “No Trespassing,” which clearly communicate that the property is off-limits and should deter criminal trespassers.
  • Informing neighbors about the property’s ownership and occupancy status can also help prevent squatting. Neighbors can keep an eye out for any suspicious activity and report it to the owner or local authorities if necessary.
  • Getting a property management company can help you keep squatters out by having them watch the home until you get a renter in there if that is your plan for the house.


In conclusion, property owners must be proactive in protecting their property rights and preventing squatting situations. Regular inspections, secure access points, and visible signs indicating ownership are essential preventive measures. Additionally, informing neighbors about the property’s occupancy status can help deter unauthorized occupation.

Property owners must serve a proper 30-day notice if they need to evict squatters. By doing so, they protect themselves against potential legal consequences and ensure that the eviction process follows the legal requirements.

An alternative option for property owners facing squatting issues is to find a cash buyer. This option can help expedite the process and eliminate the need to go through the formal eviction process. However, it is important to note that finding a cash buyer may come with its own challenges, such as expensive marketing and a longer time frame to complete the sale.

Ultimately, property owners must consider their specific circumstances and consult legal professionals to navigate through the legal procedures and protect their property rights effectively. By taking proactive measures and understanding the legal options available, property owners can minimize the risk of squatter situations and maintain their rightful ownership.


  • Can you Turn Off Utilities On A Squatter?

Typically you can not turn the utilities off on a squatter to force them out but can potentially have the utility company turn them off if they tamper with the electrical. This article goes over if and how you can turn the utilities off on a squatter. https://www.louisvillecashrealestate.com/blog/2023-guide-can-you-turn-off-utilities-on-a-squatter/

  • Can I personally and physically remove squatters myself?

No you are not allowed to physically remove squatter from your house this could result in charges and being arrested.

  • Can I remove the doors and windows from a house a squatter is squatting in?

This will vary state by state and you should consult an attorney but most of the time will not be a legal or reasonable thing to do.

  • How Much Does It Cost To Evict A Squatter

The legal process can cost anywhere from $500 – $10,000+ dollars depending on how long it takes and the jurisdiction. After the legal process you have to factor in repairs and time lost paying your mortgage, taxes, etc.

  • How Do I sell my home with squatter still inside?

You can sell your home with squatters still inside to a real estate investment company that buys houses for cash! Here at Louisville Cash Real Estate, we buy houses with squatters still inside the houses, fill out a form below to get your Cash Offer!

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