What is thequickest way to get rid of squatters that are living in an uninhabitable house?

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What is thequickest way to get rid of squatters that are living in an uninhabitable house?

In late 2009, I inherited a home that is inhabitable (no plumbing, infestation, mold etc.). A family member needed a place to stay for a few nights last December so I agreed to let him sleep there for a weekend. Nine months later, he is still refusing to leave the house and his girlfriend is also staying with him. Since they are refusing to leave, do they have rights? Do I have to legally evict them even though they were never tenants? Is there any easier way to get them out since the house is clearly uninhabitable? Also, once I do get them out, can I sell the house as is? Or do I first have to make it inhabitable? Will a health inspector come out?

Asked on September 15, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) "Self-help" evictions--e.g. locking someone out--is never allowed. The only legal way to evict anyone is by the court eviction process. Fortunately, it is fairly inexpensive and fast, so you can do this yourself for possibly less than $100 in a few weeks, or for  maybe $300 - $400 with the help of a lawyer.

1a) If they've damaged the premises while there or used utilities, you could sue them for those damages.

2) Can you sell an uninhabitable place? Yes, as long as its disclosed that it's uninhabitable, the other side is buying as such; of course, this will undoubtedly impact the market price a great deal. Trying to sell it as habitable would be fraud and a violation of a number of codes.


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