Anytime the subject of squatters is brought up, people usually think of the horror stories of California and the squatters that take a year or more to evict from a property. Thankfully, while squatters are present in Shreveport / Bossier City, they're not a common sight.
So how do you deal with squatters and how do you prevent them? I'll discuss both briefly in this blog.
First, preventing squatters means ensuring any investment home or rental home is secured. Make sure the doors and windows are locked and someone is occasionally keeping an eye on the home. My secret to doing this was finding a neighbor on the street to watch the home for me. This is typically someone who is a homeowner and has an investment in keeping the street on the up and up. There have been plenty of times a neighbor called me about suspicious circumstances at the home. Most of the time, it was a lawn person or possible tenant looking at it, but a few times that call prevented a burglary or a squatter. Making sure someone is watching the home and it is secure is a great prevention step.
Lets say someone does get in. It can go one of two ways. First, if certain conditions are met and they aren't considered legal squatters yet, they will be arrested. This happened in 2017 in a house I was managing in Shreveport. A man moved his stuff in and claimed to be living there. I didn't know who he was or where he came from. I soon after called Shreveport Police and explained the situation, as well as why he was not a squatter but was in fact breaking and entering. A supervisor was called and I again explained my point of view, reminded him of the law, and why he should be arrested. After hearing both sides of the argument, and the facts, the police agreed and he was arrested.
The second time it happened, I was less fortunate. I had just taken over management of a house after the prior management company wouldn't communicate with the owner. I found squatters in the house and had to go through the eviction process. A 10 day notice period followed by court. By the time the court date came around, they were gone.
So while I wouldn't call squatters common, they aren't non-existent and something a good manager should be seeking to prevent. If you have more questions on this subject, squatters in Shreveport or Bossier City, or property management in Shreveport / Bossier, don't hesitate to reach out to me.