Warning Issued As Renters Are Scammed Into Squatting

(HorizonPost.com) – People looking to buy or rent a home should be on the lookout for scams that could inadvertently turn them into squatters, a self-styled “Squatter Hunter” told Fox News.

In an interview with Fox News, SquatterHunter.com founder Flash Shelton said homeowners should not be forced to suffer even if someone inadvertently gets scammed into being a squatter.

In 2023, Fox reported that Shelton, a handyman, had to deal with some squatters who moved into his mother’s California home when it was up for sale.

In a video posted on YouTube at the time, Shelton chronicled how he turned the tables by becoming a tenant in his mother’s home. He and his mother signed a lease making him the legal resident of the property. He then waited until the squatters left and moved himself in while moving the squatters out.

After Shelton’s video went viral, homeowners sought him out for advice and even hired him to help them get rid of squatters.

While some squatters game the system by claiming that they signed a lease on a property, others get hoodwinked into becoming squatters by falling for online rental scams, Shelton told Fox.

The laws protecting squatters and procedures homeowners can use to remove them vary from state to state. Some states prevent police from intervening when squatters take over a property. In those cases, homeowners must go through the civil process to regain control of their property, and that process can take months or even years to complete.

Shelton said to avoid getting scammed, renters should not sign anything until they meet face-to-face with a leasing agent. He suggested that no transaction should take place without getting all of the leasing agent’s information.

Shelton told Fox that renters should never lease a property unless they know who owns it.

Even for those who get scammed into accidentally becoming squatters, Shelton’s sympathy is limited. He said while he was sorry some people got scammed, they still needed to vacate the property.

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