Tips on Selling a House with Squatters in Maryland
What are Squatters?
In the real estate ecosystem, there are particular types of occupants that can quickly turn a homeowner’s dream into a lingering nightmare. Squatters hold prime position in this category. Essentially, squatters are individuals or groups who inhabit and use a property without the legal permission of the homeowner. This unlawful occupation can occur in abandoned, foreclosed, unoccupied, or even occupied properties.
There are various reasons why squatters choose to live illegally in a property. Some are victims of circumstance, grappling with homelessness and dire socio-economic situations. For others, their intrusion is strategic, driven by a legal principle known as ‘adverse possession.’ This principle, when leveraged, may allow squatters to claim legal rights to a property after living there uninterrupted for a specific period.
Furthermore, squatters do more than merely occupy a space. They establish residency by performing regular activities associated with home living, like receiving mail, changing locks, or maintaining the property. This establishment of pseudo tenancy complicates matters for property owners, as the legal process of eviction becomes more nuanced and harder to enforce.
As a homeowner in Maryland, you could wake up to the unpleasant surprise of squatters on your property at any time. Their presence not only disturbs your peace of mind but also complicates the process if you plan on selling the house. The challenge presents a pertinent question – how does one sell a house with squatters?
Different Types of Squatters
Navigating the murky waters of squatter situations becomes more manageable when you understand the different types of squatters you could potentially face:
- Wrongful Detainer: This kind refers to a person who initially entered the property lawfully, like a guest, but overstays their welcome without the owner’s consent.
- Holdover Tenants: They are tenants who decide not to leave after their lease has run its course or been terminated.
- Adverse Possessors: These squatters use the principle of ‘adverse possession‘ to gain legal rights to a property after living there for a while without any legal interference.
Understanding these squatter categories will help you formulate a suitable plan of action.
Trespassing vs Squatting
Let’s draw a clear line in the sand by explaining the distinction between two often-confused terms – Trespassing and Squatting:
Generally, trespassing involves an illegal intrusion onto a property but doesn’t involve any claim of ownership or tenancy. It’s typically a criminal act and often easier to handle legally.
Squatting, on the other hand, is more complicated due to the factors of residency and possible adverse possession over time. It’s not always a straight criminal issue and often requires civil litigation for resolution.
Do Squatters Have Rights in Maryland?
Maryland is unique when it comes to squatter rights and laws. It’s not as straightforward as “finders keepers” once a squatter lays claim to a property. Squatters in Maryland have to meet specific criteria before they can assert rights under the adverse possession law.
One such criterion is that the squatter must have continuous, exclusive, and notorious occupation of the property for a minimum of 20 years. Additionally, they would need to pay property taxes for at least seven years out of the twenty. While Maryland law in terms protects homeowners’ rights more vehemently than squatters, it’s better to seek immediate action upon discovering squatters.
Options For Selling a House With Squatters in Maryland
Navigating the sale of a house with squatters in Maryland can be a tricky proposition. Here are some strategies you may consider:
- Cash for Keys: Negotiate with the squatters by offering them money to vacate. It’s a quick solution but might involve spending extra money.
- Legal Assistance: Engage the services of an attorney who specializes in property law to handle your squatter situation. Although it’s a more time-consuming and potentially costly option, it can provide a comprehensive long-term solution.
- Sell As-Is to a Cash Buyer: Opt for property buyers who are willing to purchase your home as-is, squatters included.
“We’ll Buy Your House in Maryland Even if It Has Squatters”
Selling a property occupied by squatters can strain your mental faculties and financial resources. But don’t despair; that’s where we at Yes I Pay Cash come into the scene. We understand your predicament and have solutions to offer.
We are a reliable house buying company known for our hassle-free approach. Irrespective of your situation, whether your home is distressed, foreclosed, or occupied by squatters, we are ready to buy. We believe in offering all homeowners a fair opportunity to sell their properties without undergoing the usual difficulties.
The benefits of selling to us at Yes I Pay Cash are numerous. You won’t need to bother about evicting squatters, making repairs, or even cleaning up the property. We also take care of all the paperwork to make the process seamless for you. And the best part? You get paid in cash!
SELLING A HOUSE WITH SQUATTERS MARYLAND - RELATED QUESTIONS
Can a squatter eventually own my property in Maryland?
If a squatter continues to occupy your property undisturbed for a period of 20 years and is able to pay property taxes for a minimum of 7 of those years, they may potentially claim rights to the property under the adverse possession law in Maryland.
Does home insurance cover squatter damage?
Coverage depends on the specifics of your home insurance policy. Some policies may cover damage caused by squatters under the vandalism or malicious mischief sections of the policy. It’s best to consult your insurer for precise information.
Can I forcefully remove squatters from my property?
No, forcefully removing squatters is against the law. It’s advisable to follow legal eviction procedures or involve law enforcement if necessary.
What documents can squatters use to claim they live in the property?
Squatters might use utility bills, mail, or any other document mailed to them at that address as proof of residence, which complicates the eviction process.
What makes selling a house with squatters difficult?
Potential buyers may be deterred by the legal complications and potential monetary costs of evicting squatters. This makes it harder for homeowners to sell their homes and often leads to lower sales prices.
Key Takeaways: Selling a House with Squatters in Maryland
Selling a Maryland home with squatters lodged in may be dreaded by sellers. However, it’s not an impossible task. Whether it’s taking legal action, offering cash for keys, or selling to a house buying company like Yes I Pay Cash, you’ve got plenty of options. Remember, prompt action and strategic decision-making are crucial in such a situation.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or financial advice. Please consult with professionals for advice specific to your situation.
Sell A House With Squatters in MD
Tariq Thomas, has been a full-time real estate investor since 2002 and has personally flipped hundreds of properties. He is the founder and owner of Yes I Pay Cash - We Buy Houses. Tariq's goal is to help home sellers find the best solution for their real estate needs, whether that's selling their home quickly, getting top dollar, or avoiding the hassle of a traditional home sale.
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