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Squatters Make Neighbors Feel Unsafe

The problem of squatters moving into vacant homes in the Las Vegas Valley is threatening the lifestyle of neighborhoods. People don't feel safe letting their children out to play or even walking their pets. There was a recent case of squatters moving into a family neighborhood and setting up a drug house. Local police could not remove them from the property until the homeowner filed a complaint. When the squatters were removed it requited a full swat team to get them out.

The new laws that took effect last year moved the problem from a civil issue to a criminal issue which speeds up the process of removing squatters. It is still very important for property owners to be aware of what is going on with their vacant property. In most cases the police won't act until a complaint is filed by the owner or an authorized representative of the owner.

The best first line of defense is neighbors looking out for each other. It is a good idea to make sure the neighbors have contact information so you can respond quickly if there is unusual activity at your property.

To report a squatter in a vacant property call the Las Vegas Metro Police Department at 311. Tell the dispatcher the nature of the problem and the address of the property. Do NOT confront the home intruders as they may be violent or dangerous. Meet the police at or near the property and be prepared to identify yourself. Have a business card, drivers license to identify yourself. If you are an agent have your management paperwork on hand and if you are the landlord have a copy of your deed or some form of ownership available.

Once the police remove the squatter be prepared to secure the property by changing locks, sealing doors and windows and removing the squatter's personal items. The longer the personal items remain in the property the greater the chances of a return to retrieve these goods.

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