Landlords face uphill battle against squatters who refuse to pay

WWL Newsroom
August 13, 2019 - 7:44 am

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Imagine you own a home or apartment, someone moves in, and they refuse to pay.

One New Orleans landlord doesn't have to imagine.  He tells WWL's Patty Burnaman that it took him months to remove a squatter, and it cost him thousands of dollars in lost rent and court costs.

"At the end of the process I have lost several months rent, incurred court costs and the sheriff's fee," Ken Dretar explained. "The squatter pays nothing and lives rent free."
Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident.

Legal Analyst Tim Meche says the process of removing a squatter is cumbersome.

"The landlord has to go to court and secure a court order," he explained. "It's not easy."

To start to kick someone out, the property owner has to serve the squatter with a five day notice to vacate, either in person or by certified mail.  

If the squatter does not vacate the property, then the owner has to file for a rule for possession of premises and get a court order.  

If the squatter still refuses to leave, the landlord must secure a notice of judgment, and a warrant.

The squatter can appeal and drag the case out, at the owner's expense.

Once the landlord has secured all of the needed legal documentation, they must get the sheriff's office to remove the squatter.

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