Squatters taken over my new home, need to backyard vanlife?

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VanDude

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It's a VERY long story but in short, I'm on the verge of being a homeless new homeowner because I have squatters in my new home and new NY laws gives them all the rights and me nearly none. They have essentially banned evictions...sort of, but not really. Reality is, its supper easy to live for free and avoid eviction for quite a while and super hard for landlords to take possession of their own properties.

So my apartment lease has expired but I can't move into my house due to squatters and I have an over $5000 mortgage to pay with only one tenant paying. This is not sustainable. So I want to move into a van, but this is kind of unique situation since I have a home and will be living there, I just don't have access to be inside my own home. This means:

- I have access to running water in my utility room
-I have access to my electricity
-I can park forever
-I actually have a large unfinished basement filled with junk from probably over a 100 years (literally), with no pluming or power
-I would only need this for maybe 6-12 months, BUT I might be able to stay with family for short periods, meaning I might only be in van 2-3 weeks at a time.

So I think this is a very odd ball scenario compared to most of you. I don't need a hardcore van, because I can just plug into extension cord for power and I can carry water from the front of the house to the van. What can I do with unfinished basement? Should I be looking into that instead? Its VERY unfinished. You have potential mold. Spider infestation. Exposed ceiling with raw insulation exposed. Walls have exposed beams. And you have a BRUTAL winter coming fast! Also have limited funds since I just bought a house and I have legal expenses coming fast. My credit just took a dive because I have that $5000+ mortgage to pay, so my credit balances have skyrocketed from $0 to over $20k. So I need cheap cheap cheap.

So questions:
VAN ROUTE: What kind of van makes sense for this kind of LIGHT backyard vanlife experience? I found an old bus for $9000, but my driveway is very narrow even for a normal SUV. Not sure I could make it back there. I have to measure. Then I thought about just eating the cost of financing something up to $30k. All I need is a place to setup my computer workstation with hopefully two screens and my laptop and a bed for 6 foot tall me alone and I need to be warm for winter.

Basement route:
What would it take money wise to make it livable and warm for winter? Installing basic shower/toilet?

What route would you take?
I would buy a used camper van.
Hmmm would you be willing to travel to Michigan by train or Greyhound or fly?
There's plenty of finished camper vans for sell here... starting at 5 grand and up complete with toliet/ shower/microwave/ fridge/bed.
 

D'L

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Sounds to me as if you are right that you will lose all of your bargaining power or legal thrust if you move into the house, so living in a vehicle seems a lot safer in terms of getting your house for your own use. Ditto if you live in a shed, because then you cannot claim that you have no housing.

I think what I would do is get the smallest and cheapest vehicle that you can sleep in, and use the library for computer things you need to do, and then you can say that you are homeless because these people won't leave and that might get you some power to get them out. If you have a building - even a shed, or a room in the basement you cannot say that.
Just my thoughts.
 

Carla618

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Hi,

Believe it or not I got a huge discount. The mortgage should be closer to $9000, but the area I bought in, is going through massive gentrification. So I have prime real estate, but in an area that mostly looks like crap (unlike where I am). We are talking about over 4000 square feet. I almost paid $850k for 1/3 less space in a FLOOD ZONE. :)

I got an excellent deal, if you just ignore the nightmare baggage. This house will either bury me, or set me up from now until retirement. That was the plan. Get a house that paid for itself so I could unplug from the chains of my career.
Is it a duplex? You said you are receiving rent from one tenant.

How long have the renters lived there and when did they stop paying rent? Do you know why they stopped paying rent? Often that stems from a dispute with the landlord. Maybe they recently moved in and are having to move again. If it is because the landlord wouldn't fix something, find out what it is.

Might be easier and cheaper to just help the tenants move out.
 

CopperK

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It's a VERY long story but in short, I'm on the verge of being a homeless new homeowner because I have squatters in my new home and new NY laws gives them all the rights and me nearly none. They have essentially banned evictions...sort of, but not really. Reality is, its supper easy to live for free and avoid eviction for quite a while and super hard for landlords to take possession of their own properties.

So my apartment lease has expired but I can't move into my house due to squatters and I have an over $5000 mortgage to pay with only one tenant paying. This is not sustainable. So I want to move into a van, but this is kind of unique situation since I have a home and will be living there, I just don't have access to be inside my own home. This means:

- I have access to running water in my utility room
-I have access to my electricity
-I can park forever
-I actually have a large unfinished basement filled with junk from probably over a 100 years (literally), with no pluming or power
-I would only need this for maybe 6-12 months, BUT I might be able to stay with family for short periods, meaning I might only be in van 2-3 weeks at a time.

So I think this is a very odd ball scenario compared to most of you. I don't need a hardcore van, because I can just plug into extension cord for power and I can carry water from the front of the house to the van. What can I do with unfinished basement? Should I be looking into that instead? Its VERY unfinished. You have potential mold. Spider infestation. Exposed ceiling with raw insulation exposed. Walls have exposed beams. And you have a BRUTAL winter coming fast! Also have limited funds since I just bought a house and I have legal expenses coming fast. My credit just took a dive because I have that $5000+ mortgage to pay, so my credit balances have skyrocketed from $0 to over $20k. So I need cheap cheap cheap.

So questions:
VAN ROUTE: What kind of van makes sense for this kind of LIGHT backyard vanlife experience? I found an old bus for $9000, but my driveway is very narrow even for a normal SUV. Not sure I could make it back there. I have to measure. Then I thought about just eating the cost of financing something up to $30k. All I need is a place to setup my computer workstation with hopefully two screens and my laptop and a bed for 6 foot tall me alone and I need to be warm for winter.

Basement route:
What would it take money wise to make it livable and warm for winter? Installing basic shower/toilet?

What route would you take?
I'm certain you're doing everything legally that you can .. but I did find this.

Squatters evidently don't have a lease ... so perhaps the inside plumbing should get clogged up or something. Some savvy landlord in your area has probably had to deal with this before - ask around. The other thing is may your real estate agent could put a lock box on the house, tell your new tenants that the house is now up for sale and that you will give them notice when the house is being shown - SHOW IT A LOT!! If you have linoleum anywhere in the house - tear it up and leave it a real mess telling your new tenants that you're waiting for the flooring to come in ... since they don't have a lease you're going ahead with renovation - take the kitchen sink out - anything that you could do legally as a landlord renovating the project and anything that you can easily reinstall later. Hire a couple of friends to go over and hammer on the roof early in the morning ... basically, find legal ways to make the place uninhabitable. Good luck.
 

Morgana

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If you're gonna be living on the same premises as the people you're trying to push out by making life unpleasant, be careful. You know what they say about wrestling with a pig. ... and about poking a bear. If you already feel pretty sure that they are Not Nice People, how do you know HOW Not Nice they're willing to get?

Landlords who try to push out tenants in this way are usually not easy for tenants to find. You'd be a sitting, er, duck.

Also be careful not to cross any lines that might lose you points with a future judge or bureaucrat.

This sort of stuff is fun to think about, but if you're not prepared to deal with it if it escalates, think twice.
 

mattvei

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dirty DIY landlord eviction tricks - Turn off the water at the main street meter in the middle of the night and I hope they are not smart enough to figure out how to turn it back on again,Visit the local biker bar and invite your new friends to party in your house Will be expensive but probably less than trying to get this squatters outl; Find a smell that you can leak into the premises That would be enough to drive them out but that will dissipate over time (used a lot in New York). What you would be doing would be clearly self-help and illegal Just make sure there's no evidence of your activities and play like Columbo
 

BelgianPup

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I hope you find something that works! Some good idea have been mentioned here.

Here in WA (before COVID), junkies would move into a vacated house, and if they had kids, they couldn't be kicked out UNLESS the house was put up for sale. So, two smart landlords put their places up for sale, and SOLD THEM TO EACH OTHER (similar value, I presume), and thus could get the deadbeats out.

Rats..... I wonder how hard they are to get rid of...? It's not ideal, but suppose you put food out to attract them, got rid of the deadbeats, and then worked on getting rid of the rats?

One way a local guy did it: I heard that he had legitimate tenants leave about the same time he was in a car accident and ended up in the hospital. Junkies moved in. He installed cameras, and figured out how many were there and what they looked like. He monitored their coming and going, and when they were all gone, he and some friends backed a box truck up to the house and emptied it as fast as they could, and took it to the dump (not the nearest). He had new locks ready to install. He had found a couple of ex-military guys to move in temporarily as legal tenants.

He had never gone to the police (etc) to complain about them, but the deadbeats did. He played dumb and said he didn't know the deadbeats, hadn't seen their stuff, didn't know what they were talking about. He had told his helper buddies to keep their mouths shut. Apparently, the junkies couldn't find a legal leg to get back in.😁

Good luck whichever way you play it!
 

bullfrog

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This site is about helping people, all people figure out how to live cheaply. It isn’t a school for learning how to put people out on the street, but how to survive when it happens. When you decide to become a landlord you assume certain risks and responsibilities. Helping tenants may by working with them to improve their situation and their by yours may be your best bet. Becoming a part of the community, since you will be living there, may provide some resources you are not aware of for both yourself and your tenants which are in fact soon to be your neighbors at least for the time being. If you lack the funds or desire to continue to resolve the situation then for your own sanity it may be time to consider selling or your own legal method of moving to the next project.
 

CoyoteG

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Henry David Thoreau we a naturalist, essayist, poet, philosopher and a squatter at Walden Pond. He was arrested at least once while he was there.
Having worked in property management enough to know that I don’t ever want to have rental properties or someone that I don’t trust all the way living with or around me. Too many weird things happen. I’ve seen too much.
 
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This site is about helping people, all people figure out how to live cheaply. It isn’t a school for learning how to put people out on the street, but how to survive when it happens. When you decide to become a landlord you assume certain risks and responsibilities. Helping tenants may by working with them to improve their situation and their by yours may be your best bet. Becoming a part of the community, since you will be living there, may provide some resources you are not aware of for both yourself and your tenants which are in fact soon to be your neighbors at least for the time being. If you lack the funds or desire to continue to resolve the situation then for your own sanity it may be time to consider selling or your own legal method of moving to the next project.
Being a landlord is a rich man's game.
 

Frood

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I would buy a used camper van.
Hmmm would you be willing to travel to Michigan by train or Greyhound or fly?
There's plenty of finished camper vans for sell here... starting at 5 grand and up complete with toliet/ shower/microwave/ fridge/bed.
Could you link to more info on this please? I've seen camper vans for sale but generally out of my price range for something that looks like it's on it's last legs here in CA... Either that or just WAY out of my price range for something higher quality!
 

CopperK

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Staying away from the legal aspect of this, here are a few ideas I have.

Would a box truck fit in your driveway? It doesn't have to be massive. The box is square and a lot easier to insulate and gives you room to do what you need. Just leave it parked on premises and use it as needed.

That keeps you "homeless" legally, which you said helps. Building it out can be as simple or complex as you want. Cheap or expensive as well. It doesn't have to be in great shape since it's going to sit there.

Let the local police know that it'll be staying there, just in case the squatters try to get it towed. Don't overthink this part of things. Keep it simple and save your money.

Since you have electricity, I would install a few cheap cameras on top to watch your property and truck.
Yes, block the driveway and park your van in front of the house. It is also a good idea, if you have not so already to speak with all of the neighbors to let them know what is going on and that you are simply trying to reclaim your property. It will be helpful if the neighbors ignore the vagrants living in your home.
 

CopperK

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Be careful that the squatted property doesn't experience a sudden influx of rats. This time of year they start looking for indoor spaces to winter in. I remember once renting an apartment that suddenly became invested with small mice and we couldn't get out soon enough. A bunch of rats would be worse. This can even lead to a home being condemned by the local health department at which point it must be vacated immediately. Once the house is empty, you'll need to eradicate the rodent population and get it un-condemned, but then you'll be rid of both varieties of rats.
Excellent! It could be difficult to find a population to relocate, but the right foods will attract them. The pest control may be cheaper than the legal fees. I've posted about this a few times now and probably come across like a real mean person, but I believe when one is wrongfully put out of their home and caused financial issues there are exceptions to the rule ... provide your new tenants with homeless shelter options in the area. But again, speak to all of your neighbors so they will tolerate mess and whatever chaos you can legally create - you don't want to end up in jail and ALL of the sympathy you can garner from your neighbors the better for your future at that property.
 

CopperK

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Staying away from the legal aspect of this, here are a few ideas I have.

Would a box truck fit in your driveway? It doesn't have to be massive. The box is square and a lot easier to insulate and gives you room to do what you need. Just leave it parked on premises and use it as needed.

That keeps you "homeless" legally, which you said helps. Building it out can be as simple or complex as you want. Cheap or expensive as well. It doesn't have to be in great shape since it's going to sit there.

Let the local police know that it'll be staying there, just in case the squatters try to get it towed. Don't overthink this part of things. Keep it simple and save your money.

Since you have electricity, I would install a few cheap cameras on top to watch your property and truck.
I wonder ... do these people work? Do they ever leave the house? I wonder if you had movers come in quickly and move their possessions to a vacant lot or something ... how could they ever prove that they lived there? You could then squat on their property and have the same rights that they are enjoying now. Can you tell? This kind of situation, which happened to a close friend of mine in another state, really p*sses me off.
 

peteg59

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The dirty rat idea sounds terrible, but clearly plausible.
The legal aspect is questionable however, and your "neighbors" will likely hate you for letting the house get so rundown as to attract dirty rats!
A professional exterminator would likely have to get involved eventually, especially if town/city municipal agencies were involved.

But just about any code enforcement officer worth his/her salt would instantly condemn the house if infested with feral/dirty rats...;);)
 

Happy Camper

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This site is about helping people, all people figure out how to live cheaply. It isn’t a school for learning how to put people out on the street, but how to survive when it happens. .
I respect you a lot. But helping someone help themselves is also what we do.

He hasn't given information regarding what the attitude of the people squatting there is. To me that is the determining factor.

If they don't have other options and are trying and want to do better, then by all means I would be for finding the best solution for everyone involved.

If they are defiant and just grubs, then I'm all for moving them out as expeditiously as possible.

There are and have been many in this situation that ended up living in vehicles, and on this site, so that's of course important to remember and understand.

That being said, I have never read a thread where a newcomer was complaining that the owner of the house was kicking them out because they were defiantly refusing to pay rent on purpose just because. I wouldn't be sympathetic to that person.

We probably need more information from the op as to what is actually happening. Otherwise we're just arguing and debating about things that might be more personal to our own situations past and present than the actual problem being presented.

Perspective in context is important in this particular thread.
 

bullfrog

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^^^I agree and have a hard time imagining anyone not wanting to help people that need shelter to get off the streets or at least into safe shelters. That includes treatment for mental illness, drug addiction and basic lack of education of how to work and sustain themselves. I also have a hard time understanding how people and the people around them allow them to get into those situations, but once there solutions need to be found for the betterment of everyone. It seems to me the jails are full enough and less costly more efficient solutions need to be found. When you buy rental real estate or even allow someone to stay on your property you need to do your research and do so knowing what you will have to deal with. Laws don’t always do a good job of dealing with criminals or societies problems. Where I was raised everyone’s family took care of every family member as best they could and there weren’t many people that lived around me that weren’t family. Guess that attitude is engrained in me but then again I live remotely so I don’t worry about other people so much! Lol!!!
 
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I would buy a used camper van.
Hmmm would you be willing to travel to Michigan by train or Greyhound or fly?
There's plenty of finished camper vans for sell here... starting at 5 grand and up complete with toliet/ shower/microwave/ fridge/bed.
Holy crap really? I'll look into that. AT that price, I'd take the trip for sure. I need to do something fast as my money is already running low. Next mortgage payment is super close to all the cash I have and my credit usage is exploding. Keep in mind I had no debt before this, so I'm being crushed financially by this already.
 
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