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  1. #1
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    Default How do I protect myself about squatters taking over an apartment I own in Santiago?

    Hello fellow forum duelers! As the title said I own an apartment in Santiago for my mother, who lives part of the year over there and the rest of the year in the USA (Where I live as well). My mom is in good health and I hope to God that she'll be around for a long time, but I've long time decided that when the time comes I will sell that apartment as I'm not interested in owning properly over there. I have an uncle who's a few years younger than my mother who lives on the same building and he takes care of the apartment when mom is not there and makes all the payments to the bank.

    But as he's also old and slowing down I predict that his son will take over his affairs and I honestly don't trust him; like I said I'm still making payments to the bank and I expect to fully pay it less than two years from now. Is there anything that I should do to prevent anyone from taking advantage of the fact that I'm not there (and neither is my mother for a good part of the year) and simply squat in the apartment? I bought the apartment for just over USD 50,000 back in 2006 and I would really dread having to pay a lawyer to help me get a squatter out of the property.

    I have another uncle who's a famous doctor in Florida and he had to fight for years to get a lady that used to take care of our grandmother out of her house in Santiago. By the time he "won" the house was basically destroyed (it was an old wooden house), but he was still able to sell the land. Also, as he's a good doctor and has a lot of investment he could afford the years in court battles to get this lady out of his mom's house.

    Again, how do you best prevent a situation like this from happening to you?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I'd say sell it fast.

  3. #3
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    If you are not actually present and living in a property, there is very little you can do to prevent someone from moving in. As you surmise it can be a lengthy and sometimes costly endeavor to legally evict squatters or even legit tenants that stop paying the rent. Those who occupy properties know how to use the system to their advantage and delay, delay, delay.

    The legal system in this country has a lot of maturing to do and is corrupt, top to bottom.

    Since you are not interested in owning the property when your Mom is finished using it, sell it now. Mom can rent something when she wants to visit. It may take awhile to sell based on location, size and asking price.

    An apt in a large apartment building may not be as vulnerable as a free standing house or a unit in a smaller building with only a few apts. There are never any guarantees with vacant properties in this country. Squatters are not your only concern. Vacant properties are magnets for thieves to enter and strip everything right down to pulling the electrical wires out of the walls.

  4. Likes Russell liked this post
  5. #4
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    Sell it as fast as your feets will carry you to a broker. Now you have the reason to sell "I am absentee LL and do not wish to own" Or " I have made an investment in the States". Later when the sqatters move in ...it will be obvious why you are forced to sell IF there is a house still standing to sell.
    Best of luck. Don't procrastinate thinking the God of Real Estate will cast a spirit over this house and no one will move in.

  6. #5
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    Put cams in your house and watch what is going on.

  7. Likes CristoRey, cobraboy liked this post
  8. #6
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    If someone breaks in and occupies then go to the police with a copy of your title. If that does not work go to the fiscal and cite the squatter . If they have been a while it can be more complicated and as they will claim they have acquired rights. Best thing is put someone you know to look after it with a written contract. Problem solved

  9. #7
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    A friend of my wife's rented her house here in Jarabacoa to a local lawyer with the agreement that it was his until her and her husband wanted it back as her husband was almost ready for retirement ( German and they live in Germany) Three months ago she informed him, both by phone call and email that they required the house back on the first of January. He refused to move so now she has had to come from Germany, hire a lawyer and take him to court. Case isn't heard until nest week. Best to put the apartment on the market., with it empty.

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake View Post
    If someone breaks in and occupies then go to the police with a copy of your title. If that does not work go to the fiscal and cite the squatter . If they have been a while it can be more complicated and as they will claim they have acquired rights. Best thing is put someone you know to look after it with a written contract. Problem solved
    I live here in Santiago. I know a lot of Americans/ Canadians
    who travel down here on a regular basis. Where in Santiago
    is your apartment located? Perhaps you can rent it out on a
    temp basis to gringos who ARE NOT interested in squatting in
    it or tearing to pieces but again, this would depend on the location.

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob saunders View Post
    A friend of my wife's rented her house here in Jarabacoa to a local lawyer with the agreement that it was his until her and her husband wanted it back as her husband was almost ready for retirement ( German and they live in Germany) Three months ago she informed him, both by phone call and email that they required the house back on the first of January. He refused to move so now she has had to come from Germany, hire a lawyer and take him to court. Case isn't heard until nest week. Best to put the apartment on the market., with it empty.
    We live in a small gated community in POP. There is one house here that is empty most of the time as the owners live abroad. They have installed heavy metal bars on all windows and the maintenance people check it very frequently. When we first moved in, I was wondering that why is that house almost always empty and not rented out - I understand now why... The way the current owners renovated the house, I can imagine that they want nobody in there that's not themselves...

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake View Post
    If someone breaks in and occupies then go to the police with a copy of your title. If that does not work go to the fiscal and cite the squatter . If they have been a while it can be more complicated and as they will claim they have acquired rights. Best thing is put someone you know to look after it with a written contract. Problem solved
    Can I just hire some real estate agent to look after it? You mean, have someone come and clean the property (my uncle handles that now) and when it's time to sell do it?

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