Squatters Rights in California and How to Evict Them

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Squatters are a landlord’s worst nightmare. Navigating squatters’ rights in California and determining how to evict them is a challenge. Many squatters, and bad tenants, know how to work the system and take advantage of landlords. You may be stuck dealing with a squatter in your rental property for months without receiving rent. Cashflow gets drained fast when someone is squatting in your home. You can try to deal with this person or evict them. A third option to consider is trying to sell your California house with squatters in it.

This ultimate guide is here to provide landlords with much-needed clarity on squatters’ rights in California and how to evict them.

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What Is a California Squatter

Squatters are people that are occupying a property without having the right to be there. A California squatter is most commonly found in residential homes that were either left vacant or taken over by bad tenants.

Did you have a rental property located someone in California, like San Diego, that was empty for multiple straight months? Depending on the neighborhood and the safety of the area, people can break into abandoned buildings and start squatting there. That’s why it’s important to tenant-proof your rental properties that are vulnerable to squatter break-ins. Landlords never know when squatter situations can occur.

California squatters live in a residence without lawful permission, which is what makes it illegal. Someone is squatting in your property when they do not legally rent or own the unit. According to California Law, and Federal Law, this is not considered trespassing in the eyes of the courts. Trespassing occurs when a person currently lives inside a property and someone ELSE breaks into the place. When a person walks onto private land without permission, that is also considered trespassing.

For these instances, you won’t need to refer to squatter’s rights in California. Instead, you can call the police in your area to get that person out of (or off) your property.

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At-Will Tenants (Holdover Tenants)

At-will tenants, also known as holdover tenants, are tenants that occupy a house once their lease ends. There should be an agreement between the tenants and the landlord for this arrangement. Depending on the landlord’s requests, the tenant should continue paying rent and other housing expenses.

Where do squatters come into play? A previous tenant is considered a squatter when they continue occupying your rental property without paying the rent. Review California squatters’ rights and determine the next best move to make. You can provide them with a Notice to Quit. This document indicates to squatters in California that they have a certain amount of days to fully move out of the property. If they don’t move out, including their belongings, you will need to take legal action.

Squatters’ Rights in San Diego CA

SD House Guys is a homebuyer and landlord based in San Diego, CA. We purchase homes with occupants still in units when needed. If you need to sell a house with squatters in San Diego, contact us today to receive an offer. Our company will purchase your property as-is, even with code violations tied to it. Selling your house with squatters in San Diego, CA becomes easier when you work with the right company.

It’s vital to stay informed about squatters’ rights in San Diego. The same landlord-tenant laws apply throughout most of California. Protect your rental properties as a landlord when dealing with squatters. Learn what you’re able to do legally and how you can evict them.

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What is Adverse Possession in California

Surprisingly, squatters in California can claim certain rights to a house through Adverse Possession. California squatters must live in and maintain a property for at least 5 continuous years to successfully claim this. When Adverse Possession is completed successfully, a California squatter can take ownership of your property. Yikes! Avoid this at all costs by staying up to date with squatters’ rights in CA.

5 Legal Requirements to Claim Adverse Possession

  1. Exclusive Possession: squatter must live in and maintain a house entirely by themselves. No one else can be occupying the property with them.
  2. Hostile Claim: squatter must be aware that they are squatting and “do it in good faith”.
  3. Actual: squatter must exercise full control of the property.
  4. Continuous Use: squatter must occupy the home continuously for 5 years. They must also continue to pay property taxes during the 5 years.
  5. Open & Notorious: squatter can’t hide the fact that they are occupying and living in a property.

How To Evict a Squatter in San Diego, California

Figuring out how to evict a squatter in San Diego, California can feel like an uphill legal battle. Landlords oftentimes give up during the eviction process and get rid of their property. If you have thought that I need to sell my house with squatters in San Diego, contact our team today to receive a cash offer. Being a landlord in California is TOUGH! Fortunately, the local cities do their best to support property owners and landlords during difficult rental times. Here are several options on how to evict a squatter in San Diego, CA.

Cash for Access

This is similar to ‘cash for keys’ when dealing with bad tenants. However, at this point, they are no longer tenants – they are squatting inside your property. You can offer them cash for keys to your home. Ideally, you can start with a small amount of cash. Try offering $100 and see if they will stop squatting.

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Unfortunately, not all squatters are cooperative. They may not accept cash to leave the property unless it’s a huge chunk of change. Have in mind how much you’re willing to spend on evicting the squatter. Pull out the big guns when needed and shell out the maximum amount of money you’d pay to get rid of them. These people know their rights as California squatters. They work the system and get as much out of it as this can. Ideally, they are open to your suggestions and not violent in any way. Always tread with caution when trying to evict a squatter in San Diego.

Rent to Them

If the situation wasn’t that bad to start, you can consider renting to them. Perhaps they started off as a good, paying tenant and then fell off the bandwagon temporarily. Life happens! As landlords, we need to empathize with tenants as much as possible. For squatters in California that have only been squatting for a short period of time, you can start renting the property to them.

This eviction strategy can only work if you can trust and have a good feeling about this person. Landlords can easily get completely taken advantage of. The benefit of renting to them is that you don’t have to fix or clean up the place (most likely) since that same person will simply continue occupying your property. There is no long vacancy period between evicting a squatter and finding a new tenant. They can continue living there and you can start collecting rent.

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Evict a Squatter in CA

Landlords must start by providing an eviction notice to the squatter to get them out of the property without paying them or renting from them. This eviction process can take months depending on how the squatter works the system. Review the squatters’ rights in California before starting this process. You want to begin the squatter eviction process with all the ammunition available.

Here are several timelines to follow when serving an eviction notice to a squatter in California:

  • Illegal Activity – If you can prove illegal activity took place in your property, you are legally allowed to serve a 3-day Notice to Quit.
  • Nonpayment of Rent – If you can prove that the squatter is not paying rent, you can provide them with a 3-day Notice to Quit.
  • No Lease (or end of lease) – For tenancy periods that are less than 1 year, you can serve a 30-day Notice to Quit. For tenancy periods that were set to be a year or longer, you can serve a 60-day Notice to Quit.

Creative Ways to Prevent Squatters in California

Depending on how close you live to your property, this can either be a fairly easy job or a tough one. To start, determine the time periods that your property will be completely vacant and unoccupied. When a property is empty, vulnerability is at its highest for squatters to break into your home. Come up with a game plan for how you will prevent squatters by securing your property adequately.

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Secure Your Property

Add (or update) a home security system with window alarms, door sensors, motion sensors, and cameras. It’s not ‘crazy’ to add cameras to both the inside and outside of your property for times that you won’t be home. Home security systems allow users to watch live-feed videos through the cameras. This way you can monitor the home throughout the day and immediately check on it if the alarm goes off. You can also add mobile control to your lights. If you plan to be away from the property for a long time, you can turn the lights on and off from your phone to make it appear like people occupy the property.

Is your property on the ground level? Depending on how rough the neighborhood is, consider adding a 2nd metal door with a separate deadbolt lock to your front door entrance. The more doors and locks that a squatter has to breakthrough, the less likely they are to break in. Additionally, you can add metal bars to all windows on the ground level that people could access from the street or back alleys. Make your property like Fort Knox if you have to! Utilize these practical tips for preventing squatters in California.

Sell My House with Squatters in San Diego

Fighting against squatters is stressful and expensive. There are multiple options on how to evict a squatter in California, but none of them are ideal. Most options involve you spending time or money trying to get back a property that you already own. The city of San Diego can only help so much when it comes to ejecting a squatter. Usually, the police can only come and assist during a trespassing scenario. If you are dealing with a squatter, there are certain rights, rules, and steps you must follow. Is there a better way to deal with this nightmare?

Instead, sell your house with squatters in San Diego to a homebuyer that will handle the issue for you. We purchase properties with squatters in them and deal with them after closing. Our team removes the headache and hassle that you’d have to work through. Selling a property with squatters in CA is possible when working with the right buyer. SD House Guys is a cash home buyer that buys homes as-is. You don’t have to fix, repair, or clean anything before selling your property with squatters to us.

Many landlords that get stuck with squatters end up falling behind on mortgage payments. SD House Guys can help! You can sell your house with squatters and avoid foreclosure simultaneously. Get rid of your problem property and dodge getting foreclosed on. Expense mortgages are tough to keep up with. There is a way out – and that’s through selling your home.

You Can Sell a Property with Squatters

We purchase houses occupied by both tenants and squatters. Regardless of the tenancy status, our team will make you an offer to buy your squatter-occupied property. It doesn’t matter how late on rent they are or what they’ve done to your home. Sadly, many squatters damage the homes they occupy and leave the landlords to deal with it. They aren’t worried about their credit or reputation. Squatters have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Call us for more information on how you can sell a San Diego house fast to avoid dealing with squatters.

SD House Guys purchases houses with squatters throughout San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Bakersfield, Chula Vista, Escondido, El Cajon, and Carlsbad. If you have a home in San Diego County that you need to sell with squatters, contact our team today. Our company will help you get rid of squatters by purchasing your property outright from you. Say goodbye to the extreme stress that squatters and bad tenants cause. If you have thought that I need to sell my house with squatters in San Diego, contact our team today. We understand the entirety of squatters’ rights in California. For those that want to get rid of squatters and keep their property, our team can refer you to a credible real estate attorney that can help.

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