Long story short, a friend of mine in NYC is trying to get some squatters to move out of her apartment, and needs ideas on how to basically annoy, irritate, harass, and otherwise nonviolently drive them out of her apartment. Taking all ideas! (also a place to collect bad roommate stories if you have them)
week old open can of sardines, Weird early morning or late night rituals (works best if their bed time). Don’t keep anything to eat or drink in the apartment. keep is too cold or too hot… cut the power off when you leave… cutting off the water works wonders if you have access.
Need more input… What kinds of things she likes and the squatters dislike?
- Eat durien.
- Cook kimchi or sauerkraut.
- Invite friends over for all-night boardgame sessions regularly.
- Leave Legoes out on the floor.
- Are they anti-gun? Clean one on the kitchen table. Leave loaded magazines and speedloaders lying around.
- Stink up the place doing a home permanent.
- Are they allergic? Get a long-haired cat.
There are probably laws against this is in NYC - habitability issues.
Agree, nothing of yours there to eat - but eat what’s available that you do like.
While it may be hard on you - cut all internet service till they are gone (use mobile hotspot) or any accounts, change passwords to lock them out. Keep router in your locked room. If they break into your locked room you may be able to call the cops. Change password on router.
A friend of mine had the same situation, not in New York but in South Carolina. He had another friend pose as a fake landlord that would repeatedly bang on the door when he was not home to deliver 2 month rent past due notice and eviction notice. The squatter finally got the message that he should start looking for another place to live. It worked for him.
I would suggest getting an attorney and learning the law around the issue. The annoyance suggestions are not a good idea as these individuals still have access to a very valuable asset of your friend’s. The goal shouldn’t be to annoy them into leaving.
It should be getting them to leave while doing as little damage to your asset as possible. Realize squatters can easy destroy a property to a point that it is a complete loss to all parties involved. As squatters don’t often have financial means to repay damages, the best you will likely get is knowing that they may serve some jail time for damages. But, someone else serving time will never make you financially whole.
Learn the laws, work with the authorities, be diligent in your actions and documentation. Hopefully you can come to a situation where police are removing them instead of you or your actions doing so.
Whatever rooms the squatters are occupying, non-destructively remove the doors.
On the funny side…
I know the pain, use to have a few roommates. The last one stuck a kitchen knife horror movie style into the counter while I was away at work the day after I let them know they’re rent was due in two weeks. Considering the one I had before that I had to disarm and physically escort off the property that was the end of it right there.
Basically the best one can do in any situation is if they’re not paying rent then alert the sheriff’s office of the need for assistance in the eviction, file the needed paperwork with the courts if need (usually because they are renting), and change the locks immediately upon eviction. 100% of their property should be available immediately at curbside for their pickup and all disputes would be needed to handled in court.
Now, even though New York’s laws about squatters isn’t really as cut and dry. Anything short of those steps is a form of harrasm which makes ones case that much more harder.
Remove the bedroom door for repair
Yup - simple stuff. Make the place a passively hostile environment by removing previously-communal resources you provided. Take your bat and your ball and go home.
But I’d advise against active hostility / harassment. That’s apt to escalate.
Location is NYC - this is begging for trouble from the local gendarmerie that’s orders of magnitude worse than dealing with squatters.
This will cripple the typical modern American to the point that they’ll consider leaving … or kvetch incessantly about how much of their cell data they’re burning on netflix.
This. Don’t wreck your case in front of a judge if it comes down to that.
And when it comes down to removing communal resources you provided, make sure it’s not something explicitly in any agreements - verbal or written - or that would implicitly be part of an amicable roommate arrangement.
I’m not an expert in these matters, but I’d stick to the following …
- DON’T REMOVE : Water, electricity, climate control, doors, major appliances, squatters’ property
- GRAY AREAS : Standard common room items such as cable TV, internet, furniture, smaller shared kitchen appliances, toilet paper
- FEEL FREE TO PULL : Consumables the aggrieved provided (food, soap, toothpaste, paper towels, etc), utensils, bath towels, access any of the aggrieved party’s personal durable property, access to rooms used exclusively by the aggrieved party
So if it were me, I’d remove the food I provided, lock up everything in the kitchen I provided that’s not generally common (i.e. utensils, plates, glasses, a blender that’s routinely stowed, etc), pack up my media collection (i.e. optical media for the entertainment center), secure any personalized bathroom consumables I provide (i.e. soap, shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream, personal hygiene tools), if there wasn’t any specific agreement on the internet beyond hey man what’s the wifi password (i.e. bill sharing or lease terms) shut that off for the squatter, secure all things removed behind a reasonably-secure locked door/cabinet/whatnot, and let the squatter know in writing what’s been removed and that they’re not to help themselves to any of these things under threat of criminal complaint.
Well … hahaha
Sprinkle fine Fiberglas patch dust around their room and bed.
Better yet, I found a sit down “GTFO” discussion removed all hints of subtlety and got the point across.
“Hey, roomie! Have you seen my new pet [ tarantula | black mamba | earwig colony | cone snail | golden poison dart frog | box jellyfish ]? He/they seem to have gotten out of their cage…”
Just stop wearing clothes around company