Ejectment of Unauthorized Occupants and Trespassers
It is incredibly frustrating for family members when a person occupies the property of a deceased loved one without right to reside there. There are several situations where this problem surfaces. For example, it is not uncommon for a criminal trespasser to take up residence in an estate property that remains vacant after the loved one’s death. These trespassers often seek out opportunities to live “rent free” for as long as possible. These illegal actions leave the surviving heirs with the burden of ejecting the occupant through a civil legal process. Another common situation is where a friend or family member of the deceased loved one refuses to leave the property after the death of the owner.
The solution for recovering possession is to “eject” the occupant through a civil legal case called an ejectment action. Ejectment actions are brought in the county where the property is located, regardless of where the property owner or estate representative lives. The estate representative who files an ejectment action may also include additional claims for the fair value of rent or other damages due to the other party’s unlawful occupation.
Ejectment actions are often confused with a different type of legal action called an eviction. If an occupant resides in a property arising out of a landlord-tenant relationship, the occupant is a tenant and must be “evicted”. Sometimes there is a dispute over whether an occupant qualifies as a tenant. The general rule is that if an occupant paid rent in exchange for access to a property, the occupant is tenant and must be evicted. Read our blog post to learn more about the difference between ejectments and evictions HERE.
As a probate attorney to estate executors, I help my clients recover possession of unlawfully occupied real estate.
If you know an estate representative or heir struggling to recover possession of a property, please forward our contact information:
Phone (215) 918-4242
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