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Squatters are in my friends supposed foreclosure home, can she shut off water? She is scared of him.

Westfield, MA |

She left her drug addited husband and her foreclosure home 1 1/2 years ago. He was suppose to move out and didn't, instead he rented her home out and the house is not even in his name. When she found out about this 9 months after leaving she told him she was turning off the water; her druged up husband and the squatter told her if she did then then they would get a lawyer because they have squatters rights. She couldn't even sell it because they wouldn't never let anyone in. She is fed up and can't afford to keep paying for a place she had no more interest in. One lawyer said she couldn't turn off the water and another said she should they shouldn't be there in the first place and the disillusion husband has no say to that house at all. Please help! She needs answers quick as of last

Attorney Answers 3


If there is no equity in the home, she may consider deeding the house back to the bank in lieu of foreclosure and letting the bank deal with it - if the bank even wants that headache. Alternatively, if there is equity, she should file a summary process action to evict the current squatters. This can be done relatively quickly as the summary process rules have specific timelines that govern eviction.

Mr. Thomas is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts. This response is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. This response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Often, the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply. Mr. Thomas strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney to make sure he or she gets all relevant information to make informed decisions about the subject matter.

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You should be careful about just turning off the water as this could be seen, under certain circumstances, as an illegal action for which you could be liable for damages to the "squatters." If they never had any right to be in the house, they could possibly be treated as trespassers and the police may be able to make them leave but police often don't like to get involved in situations such as your friend's because the status of the people in your friend's home is probably debatable - they will argue they have the rights of tenants and you may need a court to sort it out. I would suggest that you discuss the situation with an attorney and you may have to proceed with a summary process eviction, as my colleague suggests. Good luck!

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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If your friend hasn’t divorced her husband and settled the marital estate then her situation may be more complicated then it seems at first blush. The court could construe her leaving as an abandonment and her husband would have as much right to live in (and rent) the marital home as your friend, regardless of whose name appears on the mortgage and deed.

To be honest, the information you provide is insufficient and somewhat contradictory. You need to have comprehensive consultation with an attorney familiar with both landlord/tenant law and domestic relations.

This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.

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