Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker! (Fathom Realty Washington LLC)

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Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

The laws are different in every state. Compound that with some liberal lower court judges, politically appointed, and you could have a $hit show not favorable to the owner. Look to the County officials for help and maybe the press for to provide notice to the public about government inaction. Politicians may not care about the issue but they care about perception and votes. Always follow the advice of the attorney.

Oct 02, 2023 03:32 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

I have not but, you surely did the right thing directing them to seek counsel, Paul. That is just CRAZY!

Oct 01, 2023 09:54 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I am sure this is different in every state. Here, the person claiming squatters rights has to have occupied the property for five years, and has to have done maintenance on it AND has to have paid the property taxes for the full five years.


I don't have any respect for people who try to steal someone else's property, whether that is a small item or a house or land.

Oct 02, 2023 05:29 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS - I heard some nice people in Dallas let a homeless person spend the night in their backyard. They were Christian people and didn't seem to mind until the homeless guy wouldn't leave. One day they left a door unlocked and he entered the home. He won't leave and there is nothing the police can do about it!

I would also refer the folks you mentioned to a real estate attorney. However, squatter rights may prevail! This is a serious matter and may become a growing problem.

Oct 02, 2023 03:01 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Hi Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS 

     In a different time, you would go to the local Biker Bar and hire some physically imposing men, who have good verbal skills and can persuade those squatters to move along.


But in today's legal and political environment, you should follow the advice of Wayne Martin .

Oct 02, 2023 06:47 AM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

RE attorney's the way to go here.

WA State probably is quite different than AZ . . .

Here, in order to obtain title via adverse possession the use must be open, notorious, hostile, exclusive and continuous for ten years!

A property owner (wayyy out of area - in Japan actually!) contacted me to list his property. I noticed that the home next door had built and were using a driveway over his land. Also that they had been doing so openly for ALMOST TEN YEARS!

After speaking with my attorney, I advised the owner to IMMEDIATELY have his attorney give the neighbor a REVOCABLE LICENSE to use the property, so the clock no longer was ticking. 

Never did list that property, my advice to the owner was to revoke the license and fence off the driveway . . . he did not want to do that. We offered that portion to sell to the neighbors but they didn't want to buy it LOL just use it for free. SMH

At least the property owner is protected.

Let us know what happens with your situation! 

Oct 02, 2023 05:30 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

If the county wants the homeless encampment cleaned up, it seems like the county should be the one to do it, haha.

Oct 02, 2023 04:08 AM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

If the county wants it cleaned up, I would clean it up. The way it's done around here, a dumpster and backhoe is delivered, and all the trash is put in it, including everything that belongs to homeless. If you have to, cut down all the shrubs and trash trees that hide the homeless camp. Hit it hard and fast. You can't play games with these people.

Oct 02, 2023 08:02 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

I couldn't have said it better than Wayne Martin. If I were in this situation I'd be fighting this tooth and nail. 

Oct 02, 2023 04:23 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

Never a homeless camp but a neighbor taking over 10' on a property line. Can't remember how that turned out but everybody better lawyer up.

Oct 02, 2023 06:12 AM
Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, SRES
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
REALTOR and Broker

I have not, and I presume it will fail to hold up in court.  I think the seller's right will be enhanced by the fact they paid taxes on the property.

Oct 02, 2023 08:15 AM
Jerry Lucas
ABC Legal Docs LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Notary Training, Consulting. Colorado Springs, CO

I would start by reading the state laws for trespassing and adverse possession.
Colorado is an open range state, so livestock is free to roam and graze at large. If you want to keep livestock off your land, you must put up a fence to keep them out.
To alert the public they are not invited onto the land, you need No Trespassing signs around the perimeter, at the spacing required by law,  every 440 yards (1,320 feet, 0.25 miles).

Oct 02, 2023 07:13 AM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
NC Real Estate Transition & Relocation 919-602-848

So sorry your client is dealing with this. Like previously mentioned, every state has different laws. Your client is going to need an attorney's advice and to start fighting right away.

I doesn't make sense that an entire homeless encampment (vs. an individual) can claim squatters rights. Otherwise, they could take over government land. Regardless, they're going to cost your client time, money and aggravation in the very least.

I think its time squatters laws are reviewed and in some states revised. It should be very difficult to impossible for someone to cause such havoc on a homeowner. Where are the homeowners rights? They shouldn't have to defend their property from someone showing up and refusing to leave.

Oct 02, 2023 06:40 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

The laws of this country can be manipulated not to be confused with arguing of rights. The very nature of trespass, adverse possession, & squatters rights stalls the law until it all can be brought into the light so to speak. The rule player or owner suffers meanwhile. Today, with liberals allowing for anything goes, squatters can gain time & sympathy until something is done about it. It's like fighting with the IRS. It is daunting, difficult & expensive. The underhanded prey on all this. Rare do squatters prevail but they do manage to draw the systems out & to the edge. Law enforcement is leery of being sued along with cities & individuals. So sad

Oct 02, 2023 06:32 AM
Peter Mohylsky, Beach Expert
PMI. Destin - Miramar Beach, FL
Call me at 850-517-7098

Fun, fun , fun.  It has been a regular soap opera reading all these tales.  

Oct 02, 2023 06:25 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

"In California, the legal concept of squatter's rights is defined by state law and varies from other states. Under California Civil Code section 1007, a squatter can establish legal possession of a property by occupying it openly and continuously for a period of five years without the owner's permission.''~ in reality is it much worth for the land owner or any property owner. I talked to a district attorney and a local real estate lawyer about recent spikes in housing scams~ things are no good, especially since pandemic started and wire frauds are on the rise. I would advise anyone who found about anything suspicious on their property act immediately on it to protect their assets(s). 

Oct 02, 2023 02:44 PM
Caroline Gerardo
Licensed in 20 states - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

WA is 7 to 10 years, depends on  layers of ins and outs.

They have to be there continuous which for homeless is going to be hard to show a mailing address to vacant land ten years.

They must show they paid the property taxes past seven years in a row. Again, will a homeless squatter have a bank statement or is this some crafty angle person? 

The possession has to be "open."

If the owner makes a legal declaration they can get law enforcement to remove them.  (look up July 2023 new law)


Adverse possession takes a professional, do they have legal representation?     

Dealt with this in CA, different laws.

If there is no porta potty/septic system the dirt is going to be contaminated. Dig up the top soil, remove, and add a good four feet of compost and gravel, cough~~~ cough,  gross. 

Is land shared with true owner in any way?

 Act swiftly.  Install chain link/barbed wire fence, get someone with a trailer to stay there with a Doberman when it is cleaned up.  Then sell and build moderate houses.


Oct 02, 2023 01:00 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

This is the result of political madness and the lawlessness that results when leaders fail to lead.  Defund. Dismantle. Destroy. 

Your state is much like mine.  This is a horrible mess. Lawyer Up for sure. 

At some point, WE the PEOPLE must stand up for our rights, god-given and constitutional rights that are unlawfully being taken away from us! 

If your client takes the wrong steps, in the eyes of the woke, they are the ones that will likely end up in jail for protecting their land. 


Oct 02, 2023 09:12 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Wayne Martin had a good answer. Get an attorney...document EVERYTHING. 

Oct 02, 2023 12:57 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

1. Advise client to hire an attorney to ensure the squatters have zero rights to the property.

2. Evict them -in the presence of law enforcement- quickly once getting that information.

3. Hire some help to gather all non burnable items and place in commercial dumpster(s).

4. Rent a skid steer and push everything else into a huge pile.

5. Get a burn permit.

6. Call the local fire departments for a training session.

7. Let it Burn Baby Burn!

8. Sell the property for them.


Oct 02, 2023 11:26 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Seeking legal advice seems like the right solution here. Let us know how things turn out, Paul.

Oct 02, 2023 11:17 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Not in my area Paul.  I've heard about it on the news from time to time and it's tough to get them out.

Oct 02, 2023 10:43 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Wow, I have not heard of Squatters in a long time but not sure of the time line.


Oct 02, 2023 09:44 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

Good luck with that!

Oct 02, 2023 09:31 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

I promise it would not work in the squatters favor here in ND Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS . You did the right thing to tell the owners to get the law involved. I would start with the police however before spending the money on lawyers.

Oct 02, 2023 08:18 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

A crime that the county is requiring the landowner to clean up something like this, the county sheriff should have prevented this issue.

Oct 03, 2023 09:39 AM
Tony Lewis
Summit Real Estate Group - Valencia, CA
Summit Real Estate Group Valencia & Aliso Viejo

I leave land to specialists and don't get involved with others legal issues.

Oct 02, 2023 10:15 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Homelessness is a problem for which no cure has been found. 

Oct 02, 2023 09:10 PM