Moving In

Welcome to your new home!

Treat the house just as if you had signed a lease to be there. This means when you move in, the more legitimate you look, the less likely you are to raise suspicion with neighbors. Check craigslists free ads to try and find furniture, such as tables and couches. These are important because in most cases, according to the police, they will assume you are legally a tenant if it looks like you are. They are less likely to charge you/evict you if it looks like you are legally supposed to be there for fear of a lawsuit. It is also a good idea to have mail sent to the address, to help secure your argument as a legitimate tenant.
Keep the doors locked at all times to secure your house against realtors, bank representatives, and others who might challenge your right to be there.

You should transfer the utilities into your name as soon as you move into the house. You can usually just call the gas/water/electric company, transfer the utilities to your name, they will send the bill to the house. Sometimes a deposit may be needed to turn on a utility if the house has an outstanding bill from the previous tenant. Be creative if you run into issues with the utilities, and keep in mind, they don’t know you are not supposed to be there. If this fails you can turn the utilities on yourself.

Its a good idea to clean up the building soon after you move in. Cleaning up the property can increase your legitimacy as a tenant as well as improve relations with neighbors. Also, making the place as “homey” as possible before the police arrive can mean the difference between getting thrown out without a hearing and getting a proper eviction.

After you move in try baking your neighbors food, and talking to them about neighborhood projects. Try to attend neighborhood meetings and learn about the community you are now a part of, and how you can be a contributing member. When it comes to the defense of your reclaimed property, your first line of defense is going to be your neighbors and community that don’t want to see you without safe housing. Community gardening and food distribution projects can also help build community relations and support for you.

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