What Hazards Do Squatters Pose to Property Owners?

Although it doesn’t get as much attention as the problem of homeless encampments, there is a related issue – how to deal with and clean up after squatters.

A squatter is basically someone who occupies a property illegally. It’s related to the homeless problem because squatters are homeless individuals who have chosen to live in buildings or on private property rather than homeless encampments.

Those buildings may be vacant – anything from warehouses to homes. Perhaps the property is in foreclosure or it is a rental property without a current legal tenant.  Some property owners with their homes up for sale (who are not currently living in the home) have found to their dismay that the house has been taken over by squatters. At times people have gone away on extended vacations and come home to strangers living in their house.

Regardless of the legal issues of removing a squatter, there is the challenge of cleanup once they are gone.  Cleanup from squatters is very similar to that of a homeless encampment cleanup.  Rarely is there power or water to the property, which means that human waste and garbage have probably accumulated. Usually that leads to rodent and/or insect infestation.

The photo at right is from an actual squatter situation. Although an accumulation of trash of this magnitude isn’t always the case, unfortunately this sight is not uncommon.  And the longer the squatter has been present, the worse things are.

Problems run the gamut – from clogged toilets and sinks to broken windows and other property damage. Often there’s grafitti. But it’s safe to assume that whatever else may be present, there are biohazards and health threats that must be professionally cleaned up.

It’s not uncommon for there to be an accumulation of drug paraphernalia like used needles and syringes. And there are other things to be dealt with as well.  For example, is there carpeting in the property? If so, a simple cleaning is rarely adequate.  Since you have no idea what types of pathogens or other biohazards that carpeting may contain, it should be removed and disposed of safely.  The underlying floor must be decontaminated since liquids leach through carpeting and soak into the floor beneath.

Some hazards and cleanup problems are very obvious. In the photo above, it’s clear that the first thing that needs to happen is to haul out all the trash and dispose of it properly.  But that trash could contain a whole host of invisible biohazards. Or once you remove the pile you may likely find rodent feces, maggots, and other health threats. Since you don’t know exactly what has gone on in this property, assume the worst and let a biohazard cleanup company take it from there.

Just as is the case with cleanup of a homeless area, squatter cleanup is best handled by trained professionals like our biohazard cleanup company We work together with Pacific Northwest Hoarding to offer professional, effective, and discreet cleanup from squatters in the Seattle area. We also handle damage restoration. If you’re faced with cleanup of your property after a squatter, please call us today at (877) 684-9753.  We’re available 24/7, 365 days of the year. We’ll help you get your property restored as safely and quickly as possible.


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