Anti-Squatter Activist Explains the Best Way to Get Rid of Unwanted House Guests

By: Lauren | Published: Mar 10, 2024

For landlords and homeowners alike, squatters are extremely frustrating. However, in the United States, landlords often have no legal standing to remove those using their homes without their authorization because of the nation’s laws regarding squatters’ rights.

One man named Flash Shelton has made it his mission to help landlords and homeowners deal with squatters by getting them out safely and efficiently, and his ideas are quite innovative.

Who Is Flash Shelton?

Flash Shelton works as a handyman, but in recent years, he has become an anti-squatter activist and, as he puts it, “famous for squatting the squatters.”

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Flash Shelton speaks to the camera about his anti-squatting movement

Source: @OutsidetheBoxWithFlash/YouTube

Over the past year, Shelton has taken to the internet, including creating a YouTube channel and his own website. He’s now even giving interviews on major news networks, explaining just how he gets rid of those pesky squatters and how to help others do the same.

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What, Exactly, Qualifies Someone as a Squatter?

Before discussing Shleton’s advice for “squatting the squatters,” it’s first important to understand exactly what qualifies someone as a squatter.

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Squatters sit in an apartment on the floor

Source: Mark Large/Foundation for Economics Education

By definition, a squatter is someone who unlawfully occupies an uninhabited building or unused land. However, the problem many people find with squatters is that when they want to then use that building or land, the squatters won’t leave.

Abandoned Homes Are Often the First Choice

Squatters can and do use condemned homes, buildings that haven’t yet been allocated by the government, unsold or for sale homes or apartments, or, in the worst cases, a private residence that isn’t being used.

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Abandoned green house in a field

Source: Freepik

But most often, squatters will choose an abandoned or condemned home as the owners are the least likely to care that anyone is living there.

Some Squatters Will Move Into a Home While It’s Being Sold

Another common practice among squatters is to find a home or apartment that is either on the market or has recently been sold and is still in escrow.

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House with a for sale sign outside with the text “sold” across it

Source: Freepik

Sometimes, they will move into a vacation or second home while the owners aren’t present. And while it can certainly be frustrating to arrive at your new or second home to find someone else living there, there are other negative side effects to squatters.

Squatters Can Do a Lot of Damage

The truth is that squatters can do quite a lot of damage to a home. Although it’s not always the case, most often, squatters don’t treat a house or apartment with the respect a homeowner or renter would.

Mess left behind by squatters/Flash Shelton pauses while speaking to the camera

Source: @ACurrentAffair/YouTube/Shutterstock/@OutsidetheBoxWithFlash/YouTube

After a few months or even weeks, a once clean and organized home could look like a landfill, the furniture may be destroyed, and sometimes, even the structural integrity of the home has been compromised.

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Are There People Who Support Squatting?

While the majority of the population see squatting as quite a nuisance, there are others who fully support squatters.

A sign that reads “Want a summer body? Just do squats?” promoting squatting

Source: @ASSquattheworld/X

They often argue that squatters aren’t doing anyone any harm, and in some cases, they even restore and revive dying and unused homes. Others claim squatting is a political statement, saying that by refusing to pay rent, a mortgage, or taxes, they are living off the grid and not participating in an oppressive capitalist society.

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There Would Be Far More People Experiencing Homelessness if Squatting Wasn’t Allowed

A third argument is that there would be a great deal more people living on the streets and experiencing the struggles of homelessness if squatters weren’t allowed to do what they do. So, in this way, it’s really a public service.

A person eating noodles from a cup on the side of the road while begging for change

Source: Freepik

However, for those who own the property they are living on, it’s not only not beneficial, it’s actually incredibly detrimental.

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Flash Shelton Has Several Tactics Property Owners Can Use to Rid Themselves of Squatters

For those property owners at their wit’s end trying to get squatters out of their homes, Flash Shelton has a few solutions. The first is that he will actually move into the home and make the squatters leave just with his presence alone.

Two men sitting in a living room, one on the couch and one on the floor

Source: Freepik

Shelton explained, “People kind of want to get away as fast as possible.” However, Shelton wants people to understand this tactic is not for everyone and that it can certainly be dangerous. If that’s the route they want to take, he recommends they hire him to do so or at least help them prepare for the overthrow.

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Using Security Cameras Is the Quickest Way to Get Them Out

While Shelton is in the homes with the squatters, he says that he usually starts installing home security cameras and telling them that they are going to be on reality TV. This also makes people leave extremely quickly as, Shelton explained, they “don’t want to be seen.”

Close-up photo of a security camera outside of a home

Source: Freepik

However, this solution can easily be applied by anyone. For property owners or landlords with empty homes and apartments, it’s best to put in the security system before there is even a problem, and their presence will deter squatters. Even if they’ve already moved in, adding cameras on the exterior of the house could encourage immediate departure.

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Shelton Is Also Asking Everyone to Help Him Change the Law

It’s important to understand the reason why this is happening to so many Americans is because of the strange legality of squatting. In the USA, squatting is technically illegal. However, there are squatters’ rights that say they can stay as long as the property owners don’t try to remove them. Additionally, if they wait too long, the squatters can actually own the home without paying a dime, thanks to the law of adverse possession.

Screenshot of Flash Shelton’s GoFundMe page

Source: GoFundMe

Shelton believes that while infiltrating the home and making the squatters uncomfortable and adding security cameras to the property can ensure they leave, the real solution to this problem is changing those laws. He has even set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to do exactly that.

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Shelton’s Petition Already Has 4,000 Signatures

In addition to his GoFundMe page, Flash Shelton also has written up a petition to appeal to the United States government to finally protect its land and homeowners and do away with squatters’ rights.

Woman holding a clipboard with paperwork and a pen

Source: Freepik

Shelton has high hopes he will soon have tens of thousands of signatures, or even millions, in addition to the 4,000 he has now. And finally, squatting will become completely illegal at the federal level.

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