Squatting is one of the most fascinating legal loopholes to me. The ability to legally place claim on a property by rule of "finders keepers" is hilarious.

A woman looking through her window in black and white
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As funny as the technicality is though, squatting is a serious issue for homeowners, and unfortunately there are very few avenues to take to reclaim your lost property.

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Protecting Against Squatters

Arizona is prime territory for squatters. As one of the "snowbird" states, we see an influx of temporary residents from northern states coming down to live in warmer climates during the winter months. These snowbirds usually have a vacation home here, which is left empty for most of the year until they return back south.

A young family sitting under a piece of cardboard in their house
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There are measures you can take to protect your empty homes from unwanted guests however. Make sure you have someone local on your good side, and ask them to check in on your property every week or so. These visits should not be too far apart to ensure that no one has taken up residence in any down time.

Making sure your home looks occupied is another surefire way to avoid squatters. Leaving newspapers piled up on the door or keeping your lawn untouched may signal to squatters that this property is wide open for the taking.

Read More: Rising gas Prices in AZ

Taking Action

Woman on the phone pointing out a burglar behind her
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Let's say the worst has happened. You come back from Ohio, Minnesota, Montana, etc. and find someone living in your home.

Calling 911 likely isn't your best course of action, as many county police departments view this as a civil matter, and will avoid any confrontation. Some will arrest the squatters for trespassing if they cannot provide proof of their residence.

Man getting arrested
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If the police in your area are unwilling to help, you must post a five day warming of eviction at the residence. If the squatter refuses to acknowledge the notice an eviction action will be filed in court. If the squatter is successfully served, they then have five days to appear in court before they will be forcibly removed from the home.

[NBC12 Phoenix]

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