California Handyman Out-Squats Some Squatters

Source: YouTube / United Handyman Association Handyman Answers

Owning property means dealing with the encumbrances on that property. A California Handyman, Flash Shelton, had a squatter situation on his hands that he wanted to deal with. While his approach was unorthodox and potentially dangerous), he managed to get them out. Let’s explore what he did to out-squat the squatters on his property.

A Troubling Situation Comes to Light

Shelton’s mom’s home was vacated for a while, and he decided to check up on the property. Imagine his surprise when he showed up to the house, which was already occupied by people he didn’t even know were living there!

Source: YouTube / United Handyman Association Handyman Answers

It turns out that his mom’s house was now the host to several squatters. They had moved their furniture and belongings into the vacated house, leaving Shelton in a predicament.

Law Enforcement Was No Help

As most of us would, Shelton turned to law enforcement to evict these squatters from his mom’s house. They showed up, but the news they had for the landowner wasn’t precisely what he wanted to hear.

Source: Flickr/Mark Heitman

Once they saw the furniture, they told Shelton it was a squatter situation. According to what they knew they could do, squatter settlement issues were outside of their jurisdiction. He was all on his own in dealing with this situation.

Doing Some Legal Research

Shelton spent the following weekend reading everything he could find about squatter settlement and the rights people have when they squat on a property. He realized that squatter rights were far-reaching and covered a lot of scenarios.

Source: Flickr/ Waikay Lau

He also noted that squatters couldn’t assume those rights until there was a civil action. When he came across this clause, he realized that this was how he could regain his property from the new settlers. If he could out-squat them, those squatter rights would become his.

Laying a Cunning Plan

The first step in his plan was to get a lease from his mom. His mother was the beneficiary owner, and he quickly contacted her to draw up a lease for the property. Armed with this documentation, he moved on to stage two of his plan.

Source: YouTube / United Handyman Association Handyman Answers

He waited until the squatters had vacated the property. He let himself in and spent the rest of the time putting up cameras and making himself at home. Because he was now the current occupier of the property, he now had the rights.

A Rude Awakening

The squatters came back a few hours later, and Shelton was making himself at home in his new home. He laid it out for them and let them know that he had the documentation for the lease and that he now had the right to stay on the property.

Source: YouTube / United Handyman Association Handyman Answers

He also rubbed some salt into their wounds, telling them that they would have to come back by the next day to get their furniture or else he’d take that too. If they tried breaking in, he’d have it on camera and wouldn’t hesitate to prosecute.

A Risky Move That Could Have Backfired

Legally, Shelton was in the right. He took action and got his property back, but his methodology could have opened the door to problems. In this case, the squatters left him alone, but that’s not always what happens.

Source: Flickr/Sean Davis

In many situations, squatters may demand to occupy the house or property they are already squatting on. They may be armed, but even if there were CCTV footage of the incident, they wouldn’t care. In these situations, things could go badly very quickly.

The Rights of Squatters

Squatters are individuals who occupy a property illegally. They have no lease or ownership documents and aren’t paying anyone rent to live on the property. So, how can these people have any right to live there?

Source: Flickr/ Glamhag

Most states have rights that protect squatters. However, those laws hinge on the fact that the owners of those parcels or properties don’t take action against the occupiers. However, the laws only kick in if the person has been occupying the space for a certain period.

The Idea of Adverse Possession

The legal term for this occupation is called “adverse possession.” When a squatter moves onto a piece of land in California, the burden of proof is on the owner to provide evidence that they own that piece of land.

Source: Flickr/ Dru Bloomfield

In California, there is also a set of guidelines for someone attempting to claim squatters’ rights on a piece of land. The most important is paying property taxes on the occupied parcel. These guidelines are one of the reasons law enforcement doesn’t like to get involved.

Are Squatters Trespassers?

Both squatters and trespassers have a presence on a piece of land without permission from the landowner. However, there’s a distinct difference in the definitions of trespassers and squatters. The American Apartment Owners’ Association (AAOA) defines both.

Source: Flickr/Vasile Cotovanu

A trespasser breaks into a property without the owner’s knowledge or permission. They don’t have furniture, utilities, or a prior lease for their presence. Under local trespassing laws, trespassers can be removed by law enforcement, but the laws governing squatters are much more complicated.

A Symptom Of An Inflated Housing Market

The increase in squatters could be put down to many factors. However, the one that stands out the most is the hard housing market. It’s becoming more difficult for people to afford houses. Even those who have bought houses can’t keep up with payments.

Source: Flickr/ MichaelEClarke

With a lot of vacant property in many places in the US, becoming a squatter seems like an easy solution for many people. If they can manage to remain undetected for enough time, they can claim that property as their own under adverse possession laws.

Be Careful When Dealing with Squatters

Shelton was lucky because the squatters in his mom’s house didn’t have the capability to stop him from throwing them out. However, that’s not always the case, and dealing with squatters can be a lot more dangerous than his experience.

Source: Flickr/ Jos van Zetten

If you had to deal with a situation like this, how would you handle it? Would you try to do what Shelton did or wait for the courts to decide instead? Relying on the law might be safer than risking your life and health for your property.

What do you think?

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Charlotte Clad

Written by Charlotte Clad

Charlotte Clad is a brilliant writer who possesses the remarkable ability to craft content that goes viral and leaves an indelible mark on readers. With an innate passion for storytelling and an unwavering commitment to her craft, Charlotte has consistently pushed the boundaries of creativity to captivate audiences worldwide.

As a prolific writer, Charlotte has the rare gift of turning ordinary subjects into viral phenomena. Her articles and narratives resonate deeply with readers, igniting discussions and spreading rapidly across the digital landscape. Charlotte's work has not only garnered millions of views but has also sparked enduring conversations, establishing her as a respected and influential figure in the realm of viral content.

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