Imagine this scenario:

  1. I find a vacant unit in an apartment complex, pick the lock, and move in.

  2. Eventually the complex inspects the property and tells me to leave.

  3. I lie and say I am a tenant at the property. They send their security to remove me.

  4. The security guard slips on a banana peel or pepper spray and fails to evict.

  5. They call the police.

How do the police know I am lying? If I successfully defeat the security guard (using proportionate force of course), how does the property remove me and how do they convince the police I am lying?

Obviously, the property can re-key the lock to keep me out. But then I caused them to incur an expense at no cost to myself.

1 Answer 1


In a word: records.

A genuine tenant would have at least one of: a lease, records of lease payments to the apartment complex, or records of communications regarding the terms of a lease. The apartment complex would inform the police that they've never heard of this person, never given a lease to anyone by that name, and are not receiving payments from the person. An imposter would have none of these things. They could forge them, but the apartment complex could eventually prove that they weren't genuine, and the imposter would have committed additional crimes.

As far as incurring expenses on the part of the complex, they could sue the imposter to recover those expenses, if they desired and thought that the imposter could pay.

  • I've actually rented multiple places and never had any of those.
    – anon
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 3:27
  • I guess if you never sign any documents and pay with a pile of cash that's never been in a bank, sure. But no one would believe that for an apartment complex with leases for every other tenant.
    – Ryan M
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 3:28
  • I see what you mean, it just seems like a "weak link" in the process.
    – anon
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 3:29
  • 4
    A weak link to your using "proportionate" force on a guard during their lawful duty and squatting somewhere? Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 3:35
  • Are security guards allowed to evict (claimed legitimate) tenants?
    – anon
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 3:38

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