How to kick out a squatter from your home or condo in California. If police won’t remove them then you must evict.

I have written several blogs about the squatter phenomenon in America and around the world today.  There is a whole squatter movement that preaches that squatters have the right to occupy vacant homes.  As I wrote in a previous blog………..many groups are pushing the “housing as a human right” philosophy and encouraging people to take over homes that are unoccupied.  They seem to feel entitled to these homes because they believe the banks were responsible for the financial meltdown.  Whatever the justification the squatter movement is leading to a situation where vacant homes are being occupied.

It is common now that a bank will foreclose on and take back a home only to have it remain empty for a period.  During this period the squatter moves in.  A hapless individual buyer may then purchase the home in the foreclosure sale or from a middle man.  The homeowner would then be presented with the squatter problem.  He may not have been told by the bank and the bank may not have known themselves about the squatter’s existence.  Some squatters don’t make their occupation obvious.

Now the problem is that of the current owner.  These squatters can be angry, violent and have been known to attack owners or property managers inspecting property.  The people inspecting may have no idea that the squatter was there.  I reported on this in a previous blog: http://bit.ly/Iyo3g4 .

The squatters rights movement is made all the more possible and widespread by the foreclosure crisis in America which left this large number of homes vacant.  The reality is that someone does own these homes.  They are either owned by the bank or by some business or individual.  Eventually someone, either as owner or renter, will legally attempt to occupy it.  If there is a squatter in there then this could be a problem.  At that point it does not matter if the squatter is just a lone criminal or someone spurred on by a political movement.  He is now the homeowner’s problem.

Many squatters present phony, fraudulent rental agreements to anyone attempting to challenge their occupation of the premises.  This present a problem because there is an appearance of legitimacy created by the phony document.  This is enough to ward off the police who view this as a legal dispute which needs to be heard in court.  In California the police will therefore probably refuse to get involved when called and tell you to get an attorney and evict the squatter.

This is what I recommend too.  A client of mine just told me he has a squatter in his condo and I told him the same thing.  He needs to evict the squatter immediately.  The squatter should be given a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit (or a 3 day notice to vacate the premises because there is not rental agreement or agreed upon rent amount).  The notice must be delivered properly and done in the proper format in case the squatter gets a tenants rights lawyer.  In California tenants have many rights and as landlord you must be sure to do everything correctly.

Once the 3 day notice is created, signed and delivered personally or by what is called “post and mail” then the 3 days must elapse before you file and eviction.  Post and mail means you post a copy and mail a copy to the resident/squatter.  You may not know the squatter’s name so that creates another problem too.  Now you file the eviction and serve it with a process-server on the squatter.

The next step is defaulting the squatter if he does not answer but if he does then you have to set the case for trial.  If he does not show at trial then you get a default judgement and if he does then you must show that you own the property or you are an agent of the owner.  If you own the subject property then you can go in at that point and say to the judge that this is a squatter with no legal rights/lease/rental agreement.  Let the squatter show his phony lease to the judge.  It is unlikely to hold up in court.  If it does then you can object and at least demand rent be paid.  Be sure to be ready to testify to how long you believe the squatter has occupied the premises so you can demand rent for that whole period.

Chances are the whole thing will break down before this point and you will win.  I do recommend a good tenant’s attorney though because these are complicated procedures that need to be done correctly.  Remember that “self-help” is not allowed in California and this is the proper legal process if the police will not remove the squatter in the first place.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  Please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com for more info. about any of these topics.  Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015.  Call now for free credit report and analysis!

For a free e-book: “13 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE FOR YOUR BANKRUPTCY FILING” please send a request by e-mail to: farquharesq@yahoo.com.

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Will my landlord be notified of my bankruptcy and can he evict me if I file?

(See my blog with an update to landlord notification and bankruptcy here: http://bit.ly/IAaaQc .)

No!  Your landlord will probably not even know that you filed and if he did you are protected by law.  A landlord cannot legally evict a tenant for filing bankruptcy.  If you file bankruptcy and then try to move in a landlord can keep you out only if he has a policy that every prospective tenant has to follow where he will not rent to bankruptcy filers.  But if you are already in your rental unit and you then file bankruptcy then you are protected by law and the landlord cannot evict you for filing.

Probably though he will never even find out that you filed for bankruptcy.  It is only if you have a unexpired lease for any amount of time that he would be notified of your filing.  If you are month to month then your landlord won’t be notified.  But if the landlord somehow finds out about your bankruptcy or he is notified directly because of an ongoing lease he still cannot evict you.   If your landlord tries to evict you after a bankruptcy and because of the bankruptcy then you can fight the eviction in California.  I believe other states have similar defenses to unlawful evictions.

Remember that you have a federal legal right to file for bankruptcy.  No landlord can challenge that or take it away or discriminate against you for exercising your legal federal right to get a fresh start with our debts!  If the landlord is smart he will see that you can now pay rent more easily as you will have discharged your credit card, medical, deficiency balance, and other debts in the bankruptcy which will free up more income to pay for rent and your other necessities.  You may get a landlord that does not care or even is happy that you filed.

But either way don’t be intimidated by a landlord who threatens an eviction.  You can fight the eviction and win if the reason he is evicting you is because you filed for bankruptcy.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  For more information please visit my website at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com.  Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015.  Call now for free credit report and analysis!  If you are considering bankruptcy then get my Free e-book; “13 Things You Should D to Prepare For Filing Bankruptcy” by e-mailing me at farquharesq@yahoo.com.

Cash for keys! It’s still available after a foreclosure. My advice is get that cash!

(For the current state of the foreclosure crisis see this blog: http://bit.ly/JGU1dZ ).

How many times does someone hand you cash?  I’m sure it’s not often but it is the case that lenders are offering cash for keys after a foreclosure.  You may or may not be upset about the foreclosure and you may actually be relieved that the process is all over.  You may have tried a short sale that failed (or you may have never attempted one) and now the foreclosure sale has taken place and you are being contacted by the new owner of your property to find out from you what your plans are.

Remember that this new owner will have to evict you legally before he can get you out of this house that you formerly owned even though he is the new legal owner of the property.  He cannot throw you into the street.  There is no “self-help” allowed and the only way a new owner can get you out of your former home is through the eviction process.  You are no squatter.  You originally entered the property legally.   You are the former owner with the legal right to be there until a judge evicts you in court.

In California eviction means that the landlord has to give you a 3 day notice, followed by a filing of an unlawful detainer action, followed by a trial, followed by a sheriff who will actually remove you.  This all takes time and money.  To get you out will take around 4 to 6 weeks depending on how behind the courts and the sheriffs are.  In addition he has to hire attorneys, pay filing fees, and wait until the process finishes.

Or he can pay you money.  The going rate is about $3000 so don’t sell cheap.  Many of my clients have been offered and have received this money.  It will cost the landlord almost that much to proceed with and eviction plus there is the time involved.  The landlord may ask you to leave quickly (like in a week) but you can always try to negotiate for more time.  Just don’t scare him off so he doesn’t pay you.  Remember though that he will know the costs of legally removing you and that is your leverage.

You have a legal right to be in this home until he goes through the lengthy and costly legal process of removing you.  You can remind him of that if it helps the negotiations but always remember that you have legal rights.  If you don’t exercise them you will lose them.  You will be saving him time and money if you get out quickly with no hassles for $3000.

An extra $3000 can help a lot with bills and getting a new place.  If you can get more time then do so but if not then I suggest you take the money.

If you need a bankruptcy now to get rid of credit card or automobile deficiency or medical debt then call me and we will discuss how to free you up from the rest of your debt.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  Please visit my website for more information at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com.  Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015.  Call now for free credit report and analysis!  If you or someone you know may need to file a bankruptcy get my FREE E-BOOK: “13 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE FOR OUR BANKRUPTCY FILING” by e-mailing me at: farquharesq@yahoo.com.

Will I get kicked out of my house after I file bankruptcy?

No! Not necessarily.  You will not automatically get kicked out of your house after a bankruptcy so don’t worry.  Even is chapter 7 there is a stay that covers all of your property including your house and it is created when the bankruptcy case is filed.  A bankruptcy stay prevents any action being taken against you including evictions or foreclosures.  You will therefore not be kicked out of your house after filing bankruptcy.

The problem is that a stay in a chapter 7 only lasts for the three months of the bankruptcy.  After the three months is up the bank or landlord can proceed with a foreclosure or an eviction against you.

Once the house is sold in a foreclosure you will be contacted by the new owner who will want you to move out.  You can then ask for cash for keys.  Ask for $2000 to $3000 to move out because you will have moving expenses and new rent and deposits to pay.  Negotiate with the new owner and get what you can.  They can evict you if you do not move but they would usually rather negotiate.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to stay in your home if you have disposable income (income above and beyond your bills) and if you can afford the payments on the home.  A chapter 13 is a debt repayment plan where you pay back some of your creditors over a three to five-year period.  A chapter 13 will allow you to make up all of your unpaid back payments (arrearages) on your house but most people realistically can’t afford to make these payments.  Also most people prefer the speed and finality of a chapter 7.

A chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to discharge all of your unsecured medical, credit card, and personal loan debt in 90 days and then you are done with the bankruptcy and you can move on with your life debt free.  With a 13 you have to make payments for up to 5 years.  The chapter 7 will delay the sale of your home in a foreclosure for 2 months or possibly far longer as there is no way to currently predict how quickly a lender will proceed with a foreclosure.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  For further questions please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com.  Or call my office for a free consultation about a chapter 11 bankruptcy or for any other advice about bankruptcy or debt at (619) 702-5015.  Call now for free credit report and analysis!  For a free e-book on “13 things to do to prepare for your bankruptcy filing” please e-mail me at farquharesq@yahoo.com.