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It is indeed exciting when you sign on the dotted line and walk out of the title company with keys in hand to your first or next rental property!

However, it can become a significant headache if unauthorized and unwanted occupants, informally known as squatters, take up residence on your property.

A squatter is anyone who unlawfully occupies a property or land without title, right, or a rental agreement. 

It is imperative that you understand that squatters have rights (as crazy as that sounds) and that you must act within the law to have them removed from the property. 

There are professional squatters who look for vacant properties like yours and are ready to settle in for months to come. Not to worry - the best protection against squatters is to have a preventative plan in place.

It is indeed exciting when you sign on the dotted line and walk out of the title company with keys in hand to your first or next rental property!

However, it can become a significant headache if unauthorized and unwanted occupants, informally known as squatters, take up residence on your property.

A squatter is anyone who unlawfully occupies a property or land without title, right, or a rental agreement.

It is imperative that you understand that squatters have rights (as crazy as that sounds) and that you must act within the law to have them removed from the property. 

There are professional squatters who look for vacant properties like yours and are ready to settle in for months to come. Not to worry - the best protection against squatters is to have a preventative plan in place.

Deter squatters from moving into your vacant property.

Below are some tips to keep your newly purchased property safe from squatters.

🔑Change The Locks🔐

After you purchase the property, you want to ensure you change the locks. You don’t know who may have keys prior to your purchase.

When installing the new lock set, it is good practice to have all doors keyed with the same master key.

There are several master key systems that you can purchase. With a master key system, you have one key that works all doors.

Some owners also choose to use a battery-operated electronic keypad.

After you purchase the property, you want to ensure you change the locks. You don’t know who may have keys prior to your purchase.

When installing the new lock set, it is good practice to have all doors keyed with the same master key.

There are several master key systems that you can purchase. With a master key system, you have one key that works all doors.

Some owners also choose to use a battery-operated electronic keypad.

🪧No Trespassing Signs⛔

Install “No Trespassing,” placing them where they can reasonably be seen, warning against unauthorized entry.

📸Take a dated picture of the signs in the event that squatters move in; you can show the police the dated picture.

If you have posted No Trespassing and you tell the police that there are trespassers on your property, the police will have more authority to remove the unauthorized person.

Install “No Trespassing,” placing them where they can reasonably be seen, warning against unauthorized entry.

📸Take a dated picture of the signs in the event that squatters move in; you can show the police the dated picture.

If you have posted No Trespassing and you tell the police that there are trespassers on your property, the police will have more authority to remove the unauthorized person.

🪟Windows

Make sure all windows are secure and will lock when closed.

Sometimes a distorted frame will prevent the windows from closing all the way, which means the locking mechanism won’t line up. Often these windows can be repaired, or you may have to replace them.
 
The main point here is that the windows need to be locked at all times.

Make sure all windows are secure and will lock when closed.

Sometimes a distorted frame will prevent the windows from closing all the way, which means the locking mechanism won’t line up. Often these windows can be repaired, or you may have to replace them.
 
The main point here is that the windows need to be locked at all times.

💡Exterior Motion Lights🔦

When possible, it is always a good idea to install motion lights in the front and back of your property.

They can be an effective deterrent – no one likes to be in the spotlight.

When possible, it is always a good idea to install motion lights in the front and back of your property.

They can be an effective deterrent – no one likes to be in the spotlight.

🏠Know The Neighbors🙋🏻‍♀️

Introducing yourself to the neighbors and sharing your phone number is beneficial.

For the most part, neighbors are pleased that you are renovating a vacant building and can be your eyes when you are not there.

If they 👀see something, they can 📞call you.

Introducing yourself to the neighbors and sharing your phone number is beneficial.

For the most part, neighbors are pleased that you are renovating a vacant building and can be your eyes when you are not there.

If they 👀see something, they can 📞call you.

🔔Alarm System

Install a temporary alarm system.

SimpliSafe is a popular one that investors tend to use. It is portable, so you own it; you can install it while the building is vacant and take it with you when your tenant moves in.

Install a temporary alarm system.

SimpliSafe is a popular one that investors tend to use.


It is portable, so you own it; you can install it while the building is vacant and take it with you when your tenant moves in.

📹Fake Camera

If you don’t want to put out the expense for an alarm system, you can purchase fake cameras on Amazon for under $20.00. They look real and can aid in deterring unwanted visitors.

If you don’t want to put out the expense for an alarm system, you can purchase fake cameras on Amazon for under $20.00.

They look real and can aid in deterring unwanted visitors.

Blinds on Windows🪟

Making your home look lived in is essential.

Install mini blinds on your windows as soon as you purchase the property. 

Keep people from looking in and seeing that it is vacant.

Making your home look lived in is essential.

Install mini blinds on your windows as soon as you purchase the property. 

Keep people from looking in and seeing that it is vacant.

🛋️Small Lamp💡

It is a good idea to have a small lamp in the living room connected to a timer.

Having the light come on at night and staying on for a set number of hours will give the illusion that someone is there.


When you make your inspections, you can change the time frame on the timer people don’t see a set pattern.

It is a good idea to have a small lamp in the living room connected to a timer.

Having the light come on at night and staying on for a set number of hours will give the illusion that someone is there.


When you make your inspections, you can change the time frame on the timer so people don’t see a set pattern.

🏡Cut Grass / Shovel Snow❄️

Keep up with yard maintenance; this will give the house a lived-in appearance. 

High grass in spring and summer or snow on sidewalks in winter lets people know no one lives there. 

Neglecting the exterior can also lead to code enforcement citations.

Keep up with yard maintenance; this will give the house a lived-in appearance.

High grass in spring and summer or snow on sidewalks in winter lets people know no one lives there.


Neglecting the exterior can also lead to code enforcement citation.

🔑Lock Box🔐

Try to put the lock box somewhere that does not stand out, or consider putting the lockbox on the back door.

Try to put the lock box somewhere that does not stand out, or consider putting the lockbox on the back door.

Trash & Building Debris🧱

Do not pile trash and building debris in your backyard.

Trash and debris are a dead giveaway that renovation is happening on a vacant property.

You don’t want to advertise this to the neighborhood, and you don’t want to give code enforcement a reason to write a citation.

Do not pile trash and building debris in your backyard.

Trash and debris are a dead giveaway that renovation is happening on a vacant property.

You don’t want to advertise this to the neighborhood, and you don’t want to give code enforcement a reason to write a citation.

🙋🏻‍♀️Visit The Property🏡

If the property is vacant and your renovation crew is working on a different project, be sure to visit the property regularly.

Do not let a property sit too long without making inspections.

If the property is vacant and your renovation crew is working on a different project, be sure to visit the property regularly.

Do not let a property sit too long without making inspections.

Secure Your Property

If you know the property will sit vacant for a while before you can do the renovation, you may have to go as far as boarding up windows and doors.

Keep in mind that this is a tell-tale sign to code enforcement that this is a vacant property, and they may require that you apply for a new Use and Occupancy permit.

If you know the property will sit vacant for a while before you can do the renovation, you may have to go as far as boarding up windows and doors.

Keep in mind that this is a tell-tale sign to code enforcement that this is a vacant property, and they may require that you apply for a new Use and Occupancy permit.

In conclusion, to keep professional squatters from setting up shop in your home requires being one step ahead of these unwelcome tenants; be savvy, be prepared, and keep your home a no-squatting zone.
 
Remember, a well-secured property is like a fortress – it sends the message loud and clear that it's not an easy target for their antics. 

Happy protecting, and may your newly purchased property remain squatter-free, stress-free, and you sleep worry-free tonight!

Keep Moving Forward⏩
I Believe In You!💖

" At the end of the day, the goals are simple:
safety and security."

 -Jodi Rell

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Mary Jo Whelan is a leader in the field of residential property rentals. She owns and runs a property management and renovation company in Baltimore.

Mary Jo started with no money, college education, or job. From these humble beginnings, she has grown her company to manage over 100 rental properties and manage over 50 rental renovations a year.

She co-facilities a monthly landlording strategy meeting for a local REI group and is the past president of NAPRM, National Association of Residential Property Managers.

Mary Jo is also the founder of Lucrative Landlording for Women, an exclusive community for success-driven women landlords. Lucrative Landlording provides an elite coaching program, masterclasses, and networking events designed to help women landlords maximize their cash flow and keep high-quality renters.

Mary Jo is passionate about helping women landlords succeed in the field of landlording, secure their financial future, and create generational wealth.

In her spare time, she enjoys practicing techniques for furniture painting, gardening, and traveling. And yes, just for fun, she actually jumped out of a perfectly good plane.

Mary Jo Whelan is a leader in the field of residential property rentals. She owns and runs a property management and renovation company in Baltimore.

Mary Jo started with no money, college education, or job. From these humble beginnings, she has grown her company to manage over 100 rental properties and manage over 50 rental renovations a year.

She co-facilities a monthly landlording strategy meeting for a local REI group and is the past president of NAPRM, National Association of Residential Property Managers.

Mary Jo is also the founder of Lucrative Landlording for Women, an exclusive community for success-driven women landlords. Lucrative Landlording provides an elite coaching program, masterclasses, and networking events designed to help women landlords maximize their cash flow and keep high-quality renters.

Mary Jo is passionate about helping women landlords succeed in the field of landlording, secure their financial future, and create generational wealth.

In her spare time, she enjoys practicing techniques for furniture painting, gardening, and traveling. And yes, just for fun, she actually jumped out of a perfectly good plane.

Mary Jo Whelan is a leader in the field of residential property rentals. She owns and runs a property management and renovation company in Baltimore.

Mary Jo started with no money, college education, or job. From these humble beginnings, she has grown her company to manage over 100 rental properties and manage over 50 rental renovations a year.

She co-facilities a monthly landlording strategy meeting for a local REI group and is the past president of NAPRM, National Association of Residential Property Managers.

Mary Jo is also the founder of Lucrative Landlording for Women, an exclusive community for success-driven women landlords. Lucrative Landlording provides an elite coaching program, masterclasses, and networking events designed to help women landlords maximize their cash flow and keep high-quality renters.

Mary Jo is passionate about helping women landlords succeed in the field of landlording, secure their financial future, and create generational wealth.

In her spare time, she enjoys practicing techniques for furniture painting, gardening, and traveling. And yes, just for fun, she actually jumped out of a perfectly good plane.


The content presented in this blog is provided for entertainment and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. Lucrative Landlording provides information it believes to be accurate, however, Lucrative Landlording makes no representations or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained on this blog.


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