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  • Community Alert- Squatters and Illegal Occupancy


    My new buyers closed escrow on a Las Vegas home, but someone had beaten them to the move in.

    Squatters or victims of fraud? Or both?


    It’s important to hear the latest community alert brought to you by David Radcliffe and Dianna, Realtors of the Radcliffe Group of Keller Williams Realty Southwest Las Vegas. Recently Dianna was meeting her new home buyers at the Summerlin Las Vegas home that they had just closed escrow on to bring them the keys, and upon arrival the new homeowners and Dianna had discovered someone had beaten them to the move in. Watch the short YouTube video from the Radcliffe Educational Series and when Law Meets Real Estate series to hear more about what happened.


    We all know what fraud is, and that it’s illegal, but do you really understand the term squatter? What about the term inadvertent squatter. Squatting consists of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land and/or a building – usually residential – that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have lawful permission to use this is a violation of civil law. An inadvertent squatter may have a rental contract, but if it’s not from or on behalf of the owner, it’s fraudulent.


    Squatters have rights. If police find squatters, there’s not a whole lot they can do. Police uphold criminal law — not civil law. Civil law is worked out in the courts. Once police determine that a squatter has established some sort of tenancy, the issue becomes a civil matter. By settling into a home in a generally respectable manner, a squatter can create the appearance of tenants’ rights. Since tenants have rights, in order to get them out of a property, the eviction process must be followed. According to the Clark County of Nevada website “All evictions must begin with a NOTICE. There are several types of notices to choose from. You may not always be able to use the quickest notice available. You must choose one that applies to the situation. There are separate notices for manufactured homes and non-manufactured homes. A standard eviction can cost $100 – $120 from start to finish. Evictions take 10 to 180 days depending on the type of notice served.”


    So here’s what happened in Dianna’s situation…During the escrow period when the home was vacant, someone (we shall call them tenants) had moved into the property, illegally through dealings with a person fraudulently acting as the owner, landlord or leasing agent (we shall call him the scammer).


    Unfortunately, tough times, vacant homes and foreclosures in Las Vegas and around the country, has caused for a new type of fraud. The scammer advertises the vacant home, this time, a Summerlin property on craigslist, an online classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, items wanted, services, community, etc., with the home listed for rent. The prospective tenants are excited to find such a nice home, undervalued in today’s market available for rent. They completed the application and came up with the cash only payment that the scammer had requested, because they knew it was a good deal. He said he didn’t need to meet at an office (meeting at the property was fine, after-all he didn’t have an office) and the rental application and contract seemed a little weird, almost too good to be true, but the tenants figured what the heck, we need a place to live and it’s a great neighborhood. So the new tenants move in and call the residence home.


    What happens next is when the tenants become victims of the scammer’s crime. In addition to lost cash deposits and rent payments for a home they can no longer live in, they have also jeopardized their social security numbers, driver’s license number and date of birth information given on the rental application, as they may now be victims of identity theft by the scammer. And now, they are going to have to find a new place to live, come up with deposit fund for the new place and peacefully move out or go through the eviction process.

    It was important to remember, safety first. This case ended peacefully, with minimal hassles, they don’t all end this way. Be in the know and follow a few safety steps when renting property.


    Lesson to Renters:

    • Use a Realtor or qualified real estate agent to search the MLS for available properties, not use craigslist.
    • Always meet at a real estate or leasing office.
    • Never give cash only payments for a rental agreement, or wire money, or send money overseas
    • Don’t give a security deposit, or first month’s rent without viewing the property first
    • If it seems under value, it may be to-good to be true
    • The plan to get you the keys seems illegitimate


    If you find yourself the target of a rental scam, report it to your local law enforcement agency. Las Vegas Metro Police Department says to call your nearest area command center and ask for the community-oriented policing team and report it to the FTC. Also be sure to contact the website where the ad was posted, and report it there.


    Remember the Radcliffe group is a top producing team of qualified Realtors ready to help you with all of your real estate needs.

    The Radcliffe Group is your Las Vegas, Summerlin, Centennial Hills, and North Las Vegas real estate connection. Ranking consistently as one of the top real estate teams at Keller Williams Realty Southwest Las Vegas, Dave also ranked number 1 in 2014 as the top producing individual out of 172 Realtor- Agents in his office.


    As a retired police officer, Dave is passionate about giving back to the service community and dedicates much of his time giving and supporting the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, Firefighters and Military at Nellis Air Force Base. The Radcliffe Group can assist you in your Las Vegas PCS or relocation, New Home Construction purchase, Condo and Luxury Home purchase. Specializing in helping Las Vegas and North Las Vegas homeowners sell their home for the highest market value, Dave and his team will help you yield your highest profit. Call 702-379-3401 when it is time to sell your Las Vegas, Summerlin, Centennial Hills or North Las Vegas Home.


    Thank you for tuning in, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and check out our Las Vegas Real Estate Blog at:


    Written by Nickel Lowman

    with content from, ClarkCountyNV,

    For Dave Radcliffe, The Radcliffe Group

    Keller Williams Realty Southwest


    One response to “Community Alert- Squatters and Illegal Occupancy”

    1. Mary says:

      Do you know a contact person in the police department or what department I can report a home squatter to. People have taken over a foreclosed home in our neighborhood.

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