Landlord Tip of the Day: How to Avoid Squatters

YNM Real Estate
18 December 2021

Ever considered the threat of squatters? Be sure to stay ahead and take every step necessary to keep them at bay. Squatters can destroy a property. The damages are substantial in most cases. Broken doors and windows, damaged walls and floors, stolen fixtures and graffiti can easily cost thousands of dollars to repair. Many landlords have had to spend more to make their properties worthwhile and liveable again.

A short span of a month or a few weeks can be sufficient time for squatters to take over your property. Not only would you have to spend a lot of money to restore the house but you will also incur a delay in renting it out as the repairs are carried out.

Here are some simple effective ways to avoid squatters.

• Go for more security. You should not only have a sturdy fence and good locks but you should have a security system in place. Begin with deadlocks on external doors, security screens and ensure you don’t have potential hideouts in the yards or around the property, which could be as natural as a bush. You should have door alarms and preferably video surveillance. You can also have motion sensors, wireless alarms and other state of the art security systems.

• Maintain contact with the local community. No one is the best informer here than your immediate neighbour. While you may not live in the property, you can always maintain cordial relations with people who live along the street. You should urge them to inform you if they observe some suspicious activity.

• Always visit your property whenever you can. You don’t need to walk in and inspect everything. Just a casual drive by, a halt for a few minutes, quick chitchats with neighbours and an observant glance at your property to know everything is alright will be sufficient. Better yet, hire a property manager to visit, you may have a gardener who would frequently visit the property and attend to the lawns, you may also hire a housekeeping service just to keep the property maintained through the vacancy phase and these measures would also keep squatters away.

• You should not have a house that is completely empty. Keep some furniture and make it look like someone is living there. You can have automated lights which will signal that there is someone so squatters would not be encouraged to break in.

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