2023 Guide: Can You Turn Off Utilities On A Squatter?

Is It Legal to Shut Off Utilities on a Squatter ?

When dealing with squatter-occupied properties, property owners often wonder what their options are for removing the squatters and regaining control of their property.

One question that is frequently asked is whether it is legal to shut off utilities on a squatter-occupied property? While the laws pertaining to this issue can vary depending on the jurisdiction and laws per county or state, it is generally not legal or advised for property owners to shut off utilities without following the proper legal rights process. This could potentially expose the property owner to legal consequences and may even land you with a fine or some jail time. In summary this would not be a good idea!

Even if you are able to turn the utilities off on a squatter a lot of times these people will still stay in the house until you evict them. Squatters are not in the right mental mindset most of the time and will destroy your house regardless so even if you do turn the utilities off you need to legally evict them still or come to an agreement to get them out of the house and pay them some money. If you have a squatter in your house you would consider selling fill out our no obligation offer to see how much money you could sell your house for as-is.

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What is a Squatter?

A squatter is a person who occupies or resides in a property without permission or legal ownership. Squatters often take over vacant or unoccupied properties and typically are not from properties you have rented out, either residential or commercial, that are not actively being used by the rightful owners. These individuals may enter the property unlawfully and establish their living arrangements, sometimes for an extended time.

Squatters typically do not pay rent or utilities, and they may rely on their understanding of Squatter Rights to be able to stay in the property. However, it is important to note that squatters do not have the same legal rights as tenants and have the follow the adverse possession laws according to their state law, and their presence in a property is generally considered illegal but is usually handled as a civil matter or civil case instead of a criminal offense where criminal charges where criminal penalties could be enforced. Homeowners who discover squatters on their premises often need to go through a legal eviction process to regain rightful possession of their property.

Overview of the Legalities Involved

Squatter-occupied properties fall under specific laws and regulations that protect both the actual property owner and the occupants. Property owners must first prove or establish their legal ownership by providing proper documentation such as title deeds and tax records.

One time when I was evicting a squatter I did not have a Deed on me but I showed the Police who owned the property on the PVA and my I.D so they knew I was the owner.

– Jacob Michal, CEO Of Louisville Cash Real Estate.

If a property owner discovers someone occupying their property without permission, the first thing they should do is call the police to see if they can get a squatter removed and then follow specific eviction processes to remove the squatters legally. This typically involves serving an eviction notice and following a period of time before commencing legal eviction procedures. The exact timeline and process may vary depending on local laws.

Bathroom Destroyed After Squatters Lived In The House Unauthorized

In some cases, squatters may attempt to claim legal ownership through adverse possession, which allows them to gain ownership rights over unoccupied properties after a certain period of time. Property owners must be vigilant to prevent adverse possession claims by taking necessary legal steps to protect their property rights.

Laws Vary by State

Laws regarding the eviction of squatters can vary significantly from state to state. Different regulations and procedures are in place to handle squatter situations based on the state in which the property is located. Key factors that may differ from state to state include the timeframe required for eviction, the legal process involved, and the rights and protections afforded to squatters. For example in Indiana it takes a much quicker time than Washington D.C where it could take years for you to evict somebody.

Some states may have more lenient laws, requiring a longer period of time or a certain type of notice before a squatter can be evicted. Others may have stricter regulations, allowing for a faster eviction process or requiring the property owner to provide proof of legal ownership before proceeding with eviction.

It is important for property owners to familiarize themselves with the specific laws in their state to ensure they understand their rights and obligations when dealing with squatters. Consulting with a local real estate attorney or legal advisor in your area can provide further understanding over issues related to squatter-occupied properties.

Appropriate Reasons for Utility Shutoff

When dealing with a squatter-occupied property, it is important to understand the appropriate reasons for utility shutoff. Utility shutoff should only be done for legitimate reasons, such as non-payment of bills or safety concerns, and not as a means of forcing out squatters.

One valid reason for utility shutoff is non-payment of bills. If the squatter has not been paying the utility bills, the property owner may have the right to shut off the utilities or let them be turned off if they do not have the funds to . However, it is crucial to follow the proper legal procedure and provide any required notices before taking this action.

Illegal tampering with the utilities can also be a reason for shutting them off. If the squatter has tampered with the utility company connections without authorization, the property owner may need to shut off the utilities to prevent further damage or unsafe conditions, typically if it is an unauthorized use then you would want to call the utility company to report it and then have them shut the utilities off to keep yourself out of potential liability.

Potential Consequences of Unauthorized Utility Shutoff

Shutting off utilities on a squatter-occupied property without proper authorization can have serious consequences for property owners. Firstly, there can be legal repercussions that arise from this action. The squatter may have legal rights and protections under the law, and cutting off their utilities without following the proper legal process can lead to potential lawsuits. The property owner may be held liable for damages incurred by the squatter as a result of the unauthorized utility shutoff.

Financial liabilities are another potential consequence. The property owner may be responsible for any expenses or damages caused by the utility shutoff, including repairs, legal fees, and compensation to the squatter for any inconvenience or harm suffered.

In addition, shutting off utilities without proper authorization can prolong the legal battle with the squatter. They may retaliate by filing legal claims or seeking an adverse possession claim, prolonging the process of reclaiming the property and potentially leading to extensive legal fees and time-consuming small claims court proceedings through the local courts. Speak to a local attorney before turning the utilities off a squatter!

It is essential for property owners to understand the potential consequences of unauthorized utility shutoffs and to seek legal advice before taking any action. Open communication and understanding between all parties involved can help mitigate these negative outcomes and ensure a smoother resolution in difficult situations.

Squatters Mess When Leaving A Property They Were Evicted From

Signs Around Properties Warning Against Unauthorized Use of Utilities

Signs around properties warning against unauthorized use of utilities serve as a reminder of the potential consequences that can arise from unlawfully turning off utilities on a squatter-occupied property. Keeping a record and pictures of these signs is important because if a squatter does trespass and has awareness of trespassing they can potentially remove the signs and claim that they were never there.

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What Can Be Done to Remove Squatters?

Identifying the Squatter

In the realm of real estate, squatters are individuals who occupy a property without the permission of the rightful owner. Identifying a squatter correctly is crucial when it comes to taking further action in dealing with the situation. There are various scenarios in which someone may be considered a squatter, such as when they continue residing in a rental property even after their lease has expired, or when they occupy an unoccupied property without the owner’s knowledge or consent, knowing who this person is helps in the eviction process as well.

Understanding who the true owner of the property is and who the rightful occupants are is essential before proceeding with any legal or eviction process. This ensures that actions are taken against the correct individuals and that their legal rights are respected. Mistakenly targeting the wrong person or engaging in unlawful activities can lead to detrimental consequences and complicated legal disputes. If you are not sure who the squatter is you can file a eviction against all unauthorized occupants on your property.

Obtaining an Eviction Notice And Evicting The Squatter

Obtaining an eviction notice is a crucial step in removing squatters from a property. While the specific process may vary from state to state, it generally involves several steps.

  • The first step is to serve a notice to quit to the squatters. This notice informs them that they are occupying the property unlawfully and must vacate within a specific period of time. The length of this period often depends on local laws and can range anywhere from a few days to a month.
  • If the squatters fail to comply with the notice to quit, the next step is to file for eviction in a local court. This typically involves filling out the necessary forms and paying a filing fee. Once the eviction case is filed, a court date will be set.
  • After the court date is set if they decide to evict the squatter they will place a notice on the door and if the squatter is not out within that time frame you will then need to schedule an eviction sit out with the sheriff’s office to have them remove the squatter.
Squatters That Were Also Hoarders That Left A Mess Behind

It is important for property owners to familiarize themselves with the specific eviction process in their state and adhere to all legal requirements. Consulting with a real estate attorney can provide valuable guidance and ensure that the eviction process is carried out correctly and in accordance with the law.

One thing to remember is if you have to have the Sherriff evict the squatter from your house then you will usually need to bring 4-6 people to show up to the eviction and then place all of the squatters stuff on the side of the road for 3+ days to give them an opportunity to take it and then throw it away once that time frame is over. This is important to remember because you will most likely have to hire an eviction crew to get the squatters out of your home.

Alternatives To Removing A Squatter

When faced with the presence of a squatter on your property, there are alternatives to directly removing them. Instead of immediately resorting to legal action, consider these approaches to resolving the situation.

  • One alternative is to offer a cash for keys agreement. This involves providing the squatter with a sum of money in exchange for voluntarily vacating the property. This approach can be effective in situations where the squatter may be open to negotiation and looking for a way to secure housing elsewhere can sometimes be the best way to remove a squatter.
  • Another option is to seek a mutual understanding or agreement with the squatter. Engaging in open and honest dialogue can help clarify the situation and potentially reach a resolution that is mutually beneficial and offer to find them somewhere to live or pay for a motel for a week for them.
  • Alternatively, you can sell your house by selling to to a real estate investor and filling out the form below to get a no obligation offer just to see how much your house is worth as-is with squatters inside still or you can call or text us at 502-461-1450.

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How Can Landlords And Homeowners Avoid Squatter Situations?

Squatter situations can be a nightmare for property owners, causing financial strain and legal complications. To avoid finding themselves in this predicament, landlords must be proactive and take certain measures to protect their properties. By installing security cameras, no trespassing signs and also boarding up your windows and doors will prevent squatters from getting into your house in the future. Another option is to come to a financial agreement with the squatter to give them money for leaving the property. Tenants are different then squatters when evicting them

Damages To A House After Squatters

Additionally, promptly addressing any issues with any squatters or tenants, including late rent payments or illegal subletting, can help prevent the property from falling into the hands of squatters. By following these steps, landlords can ensure the security of their properties and minimize the potential consequences of having a squatter occupy their property without permission.


In conclusion, dealing with squatters involves navigating various legalities to protect the rightful owners’ interests. Property owners should begin by serving an eviction notice according to the laws in their jurisdiction, which initiates the legal process of removing the squatters. It is crucial to consult with a real estate attorney to understand the intricacies of the eviction process and the specific rights and protections afforded to the occupants via enacted statutes.

Additionally, property owners may face challenges when it comes to utility services in squatter-occupied properties. While it may be tempting to turn off utilities as a means to force the squatters out, doing so can have serious legal consequences. Utility companies typically require a court order before discontinuing services, and property owners should follow the proper legal channels. Also you should consider not turning off the water supply in the winter as it could freeze the pipes.

To navigate the situation effectively, property owners should prioritize understanding all the legal aspects involved, ranging from eviction processes to utility shutoffs. Seeking the guidance of a real estate attorney can provide invaluable support and ensure compliance with relevant laws.


  • Can Police Remove Squatters From My House?

Police officers and law enforcement can not remove squatters from your house but they can remove trespassers. To find out exactly how police can remove squatters and the process, read this recent article we wrote about that subject matter.

  • How Long Does It Take To Evict A Squatter?

It can take anywhere from 90 days to 3+ years to evict a squatter depending on the area you are in. If you are in California, New York or Washington DC it could take a long amount of time.

  • Where Can I Obtain An Eviction Notice For A Squatter?

We have a example 7-day Notice eviction letter and a 30-day notice eviction letter specifically for the state of Kentucky. Make sure you get one from your local attorney or have him edit our document to be state and county specific to your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions use 10-day notice.

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