Squatters on your property can be very difficult to get rid of without experiencing any trouble. If you want to avoid all the headaches they bring, it is better to take prevention rather than dealing with them later. It is a good investment since these measures can save you money in the long run. Here are some potential measures to take.
Have Someone On Site
The simplest solution to preventing squatters is to have people on your property. Whether it is a caretaker or a security guard, squatters will not enter your property when someone is there regularly. For a place like a warehouse and other commercial properties, a security service should be enough. They come in every day to guard it and whatever is inside. Rental properties that have furnishings and other valuables need constant maintenance. This is where having a caretaker live is important. It can be a good move since such properties are at their best with someone on the premises. Prospective tenants will like it better, and you’ll have fewer worries.
Install Basic Security Features
Squatters take over a property if it is too easy to break into. If they can walk in, it is more likely they’ll take over. If you want your place to be secure, you should plan to install some security features. The outermost layer of defense can be a fence or a barrier. For example, services that offer concrete blocks and bollards can give you the perfect barricades against vehicles and the like. Fencing would also be great against individuals who wander onto your property. You should also be adding locks and more complex security features like cameras.
When you own property, you should make a habit of visiting it. Many property owners only visit a property when they are close to selling it or developing it. But it is a smarter approach to check on your properties once a month. At the very least, you should hire someone to do it for you. Property managers can do the visits and do various other responsibilities like maintenance and upgrades. Regular checks ensure that if a squatter does set up somehow, you will be able to catch them early and evict them before they can get rights to the property. Remember that if a squatter lives for ten years on the property, they get full rights.
Keep Things Looking Great
A dilapidated and seemingly abandoned place will attract squatters. They will think the property is abandoned and move in. Avoid that by simple maintenance. For example, you can have a lawn care service come in and maintain the lawn outside. That ensures that everything is presentable to passersby. You can also call in a cleaning service to clean off the grime and dirt from the exterior. Clean windows and a fresh coat of paint will discourage a lot of potential trespassers.
Completely Cut Off All Utilities If Possible
Many squatters move into a property because it has access to the three essential utilities. These are water, electricity, and gas. If no one is using it, it is better for you to cut it all off. A letter to the local utility companies should be enough to stop the service. If you need the utilities again, notify them about it, and they should have it activated within the week. This can also be a good move to prevent accidents that could damage the property, leaking pipes or a gas leak can result in some very costly repairs.
Be Firm With Your Tenants
One reason for problematic squatters is your previous tenants. They may have invited them to live in the house, or even have, for example, they bring in friends and neglect to tell you. Even when they moved away, those friends stayed and became squatters. Many of the locals assume that they are the new renters and leave them alone. It is important to be clear with your tenants that they can’t bring anyone to live on the property without notifying you and getting permission. Be strict about implementing this and ensure that you check on your tenants regularly about it.
Squatter prevention needs to be a priority if you want to use your property in the future. Squatters have been known to take over a property, and that would mean money down the drain for you. Prevention is always better than the cure, so you should implement these measures as soon as possible to fully protect your property.