Evicting a "squater"

Somewhat a complex situation here but perhaps someone can give advice.

I must also mention that I know each individual in the case and have very good knowledge of what has happened.

I’m a trustee and unit owner of a condo association which has had to pay assessments the past few months to cover costs associated with a non paying condo owner.

The owner of a certain condo in our building is in foreclosure. He however has not lived in the unit for a couple of years. He had the unit rented out to a roomate. The roomate later rented out a room to a third person. 8 months ago the owner stopped paying condo fees and left his roomate in the unit. I spoke with his roomate and asked him to pay condo association fees so that we could avoid legal procedures.

Its important to mention that the owners roomate did not have a lease with the owner and that without any knowledge to the owner began renting a room to a third person. Apparently the third person never paid for his share of the utilities cost and was always late paying rent to the owners original roomate, as a result the owners original roomate moved out and left this third person in the unit. I tried calling the unit owner several times to ask for his help in getting this third person out of the unit, but with no luck. The owner could care less what goes on in the unit as he no longer wants anything to do with the condo and does not communicate with the bank or the association.

In December the bank auctioned off the condo and a friend of mine was the high bidder. A few weeks later the bank was ready to close and emailed him the documents which identify him as the high bidder and new owner of the unit. The bank was not able to close due to a cloud in the title. For nearly two months now he has been waiting to close but the bank has not yet cured the title.

I’m a trustee of the association, and have started the eviction process on the holdout roomate/ “squater”. I was told by someone at the court house that the association would have to be represented by an attorney. Well the association is broke and we cannot afford an attorney.

My question is; does the high bidder have the power to begin the eviction process?
Because the third person does not have a lease with the owner and has no legal right to the premise, can the association consider this trespassing and have law enforcement remove him from the property?

Yes, the new owner will have to pay all outstanding condo fees in order to close on the unit, but our concern is having the unit empty at closing.


It seems to me that a Federal Law was passed in the last year or two that prohibits the removal of a tenant immediately and allows 3 months to 6 months to reorginize and move from the property, but for the life of me I can not remember the specifics.

If this guy was paying rent and legally there before the foreclosure he falls under this “Renters of Foreclosures Law”.

In Arizona and Nevada where I primarily invest an HOA can not collect association fees from a tenant, so there is no legal recourse in court as the owner of title is solely responsible.

You need to check this new Foreclosure Tenant law but I believe it was passed by Congress, right now there is no legal owner for this guy to pay his percentage of rent to and until title is vested your friend does not own the property. You as a Association Trustee do not have the legal right to evict the tenant of a unit you do not own I believe, so you probable do need to consult with an attorney.

Whether this guy paid any rent during the foreclosure period (110 days to 2 years) is not your responsibility as he was renting from the old owner, the day title vest’s is the starting of your friends ability to follow the law and do an eviction as per the law!

Just be careful you don’t do something that causes liability and gives further fuel to the fire. This is one reason I don’t buy foreclosure properties with tenants in possession.

Just found the law, it was signed into law by Barrack Obama on May 21, 2009 and is “The Helping Families Save There Home Act” and it gives the right for the tenant to possess the property 90 days after title passes by foreclosure to a new owner or keep possession until a lease expires, which every is applicable or chosen by the tenant.

Until foreclosure title passes your friend and this tenant are in limbo, so hang out and let your friend deal with it when he has legal title, until then the tenant is one of the lucky Americans living rent free.

This is a Federal Law!!!

Good Luck,



It is Federal Law S.896


Thanks for the feedback. The property is in Massachusetts, and I believe in Mass the association has the rights to collect rent from tenants to cover condo fees when the owner defaults. As for eviction; Im not 100% sure, but I will consult with an attorney. I appreciate the feedback.

You have a tenant at sufferance and have to follow the summary process for MA. Contact a local constable for the proper forms and he can recommend an attorney to represent you in court.

BTW, an attorney is required to represent the property owner if the property owner does not do it himself. Also, be prepared to show proof of ownership.

Take em to court, you will win unless something is very wrong. THen just wait the time. You dont want to do it any other way.

THere are many attorneys that handel this if you don’t have one. Its really just a case of completing the steps - good luck and use better judgement next time!

Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands!!! Not suggesting to break the laws, however, I believe you can ‘stretch or bend’ them. Here are some examples that I have done and/or my students/partners/etc.:

  1. Mobile home owned by tenant renting my lot: wait until they are not home, bring in a truck, move the mobile home onto the main street in front of the park, drop it, and leave!
  2. Tenant in mobile home, house, etc.: go to front door, send a big (and scary) partner to the back door, remove the door, load it up in your truck, and leave. If you go to court, just tell the judge that you needed to repair the door and it is in the repair shop and because the tenant has not paid, you cannot get it out of the repair shop as you have no money. Most tenants will leave if the property is not secured with doors.

Well, I have more war stories that work, but you get the picture…squatters suck!


Those are criminal offensives and will land the OP in jail if he does them.

Shut the utilities off at 5 PM on Friday and turn them back on at 9 AM on Monday.

These “solutions” will definitely not hold up in a court of law. So if the OP decides to use these, definitely be prepared to have your own “war stories” to tell in the future.

Probably depends where in the country you live :biggrin :biggrin

That also sounds illegal. Where I live you can’t shut off the utilities. You can change the billing to yourself but then you are stuck paying utilities for the deadbeat.

The inspector isn’t around 5 PM Friday to 9 AM Monday and can’t write the ticket. You have to know how to work the system.

Condo laws vary from state to state. I recommend contacting the state attorney office and seeing if they have a governing board that can provide some assistance on how to proceed. I can tell you on what to do in Florida but it probably will not apply in Mass, just like in Fl, on a foreclosed unit, the association can only collect 6 months worth of dues.

Your association needs to look into building some cash reserves for these problems. Also you should have a property manager who should have some knowledge on this issue.

I suggest a small assessment and getting an attorney to fix your bylaws for better protection to all unit owners from deadbeats.

This is too funny because I swear I did just that two years ago at a rooming house that I had. Each tenant paid $500 monthly.

When they didn’t pay I took off their room door when they weren’t home.

One called the cops and the doors were outside of the home in the driveway where the garbage is. I destroyed the whole area where the lock goes so they couldn’t put a new one on. They tried to say someone took their belongings but they couldn’t prove it.

The officers told me that I had to evict them through the courts and that I couldn’t just kick them out but they didn’t say I had to put the doors back on so the tenant left.

I thought I was the only one :biggrin