Stay tuned for more information about CyberWatch’s collaboration with SSCA to provide useful information to owners of vacant homes in South Shores.  Such unoccupied homes are ripe targets for squatters and trespassers. The process for removing either can become a lengthy and stressful experience for the owner.


  1.  What’s the difference between a squatter and a trespasser?
  2.  A squatter’s objective is to break into a neglected vacant home, eventually gain title and become owner of that property.  

Under California Squatter’s Rights, a squatter can gain ownership of a home by living there and paying property taxes for 5 consecutive years.  Provided, of course, there’s no objection from a legitimate owner. This situation tends to be more common in rural and lower income areas.  Less common in areas like South Shores.

A trespasser’s objective:   Break into a home, change the locks, move in furniture, put the utilities in the trespasser’s name and enjoy an upscale lifestyle… all FREE from any rent or mortgage payments. Then, unless the rightful owner takes the necessary legal steps, the trespasser will linger in the home until this is done.  The trespasser may then insist on being paid a relocation fee as part of the eviction.

In 2019, in the 22nd St./Moray area, the trespasser asserted that, because his family consisted of one person under age 18 and one over age 65, he was entitled to a relocation fee of just over $26,000.  After several months, the issue was FINALLY resolved. But the process was less than smooth or stress-free.

Because of the low income housing crisis in Los Angeles, it’s anticipated that trespassers breaking into vacant homes could become more common.

As CyberWatch and SSCA work at developing protocols for owners of vacant homes, we look forward to expanding further on this subject next month. 

If you own a home that is vacant,
you are at risk of squatters or trepassers breaking in, occupying your home and living there rent-free.

Once squatters or trespassers occupy your property, it is very difficult, time consuming and often very costly to remove these illegal occupants.

Be proactive and take these legal steps needed to protect your home.
Remove these occupants BEFORE your property is broken into and occupied
by a trespasser or squatter.

  1. Visit the Harbor Police Department desk and ask to complete aNo Trespass Authorization form”.
    1. This form will then be entered into the LAPD’s database.
    2. It will then be accessible to officers responding to a break-in at your property.
    3. The LAPD is powerless to remove the illegal occupants without this documentation.
  2. Post the “No Trespass Authorization form” on the home’s nearest window at both the front and back doors.
  3. Post a “Closed to Public sign” adjacent to the “No Trespass Authorization form”. This sign should show the L.A.M.C. Section Code 41.24.
  4. Make certain both signs are posted on the glass from the inside of the home. This will reduce chances of their removal by criminals or passerby.
  5. Take a photo of both sign postings for your records. This is to show the police if someone breaks in and removes the sign.
  6. Should an unauthorized person break into your property, the LAPD is fully authorized to remove and/or arrest the illegal occupant promptly.

— Click on form below to print form.– 

Trespass Arrest Form