Can a squatter stay in apartment after a tenanthas beenlawfully evicted?

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Can a squatter stay in apartment after a tenanthas beenlawfully evicted?

A tenant was evicted for non-payment rent. The tenanyts friend said he did not have to move because he has squatter rights even though tenant was evicted. Can landlord lock squatter out of an apartment?

Asked on September 28, 2010 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There are no such thing as squatter rights in the United States (though some European countries have them)--that's a myth promulgated by squatters. However, the landlord may not him or herself evict the squatter; what's called "self-help" evictions are barred. Instead, the landlord needs to go to court, to get an order directing the sheriff (or other relevant law enforcement) to lock the squatte out. If there is no lease and no rent being paid, it should be a straightforward case, fairly quick and inexpensive. In addition, if the squatter has any assets or income, the landlord may be able to sue him for "holdover" rent, too--for money for staying there--though that is done in a separate legal action typically from the actual eviction.


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