What Is Phrogging and Is It a Crime?

By PropertyClub Team
May 21st 2024
Have you ever noticed things going missing from your fridge, heard unexplained noises at night or felt a chill run down your spine that just can't be explained? These could be signs of a terrifying situation – someone secretly living in your home! This unsettling phenomenon is known as phrogging, and it's more common than you might think.  

But is phrogging just a creepy urban legend, or is it a real crime? Read on to discover!

hash-markWhat Is Phrogging?

Phrogging is the term used to describe the act of someone secretly living in another person's home without their knowledge or consent. Imagine a stranger residing in your house, tucked away in the attic, basement, or even a crawl space, all while you go about your day. Phrogging is a scary situation because unlike a break-in, the intruder isn't just there to steal something and leave. They intend to stay hidden for an extended period.

The term itself is thought to be derived from the word "frog" due to the way frogs jump from place to place. This could be a reference to the phrogger moving around the house to avoid detection or potentially to the idea of them hopping from one residence to another. 

hash-markWhy Does Phrogging Happen?

Phrogging arises from a variety of factors, often stemming from desperation. It could be due to homelessness, financial hardship, mental health issues, or someone seeking refuge from a dangerous situation. The phrogger may see your home as a safe haven or a place to avoid detection.

hash-markWhat Is an Example of Phrogging?

Imagine this: Sarah, a college student, rents a room in a large house with a few other students. Lately, she's noticed strange things. Food disappears from the fridge faster than usual, and sometimes, she hears faint noises coming from the attic at night. One morning, she discovers a half-eaten granola bar hidden behind some boxes in the basement. This, along with the other odd occurrences, makes her suspect someone else might be living in the house – a phrogger.

hash-markIs Phrogging the Same as Squatting?

No phrogging is not the same as squatting. Squatting involves occupying an uninhabited property while with phrogging, the rightful owner is living in the home while the phrogger is a stealthy, unwanted guest.

hash-markHow Can Landlords Detect Phroggers?

Detecting phroggers can be tricky because of their secretive nature, but there are steps landlords can take to increase their chances of spotting them. Here are some key strategies:

Regular Inspections

Conduct thorough and scheduled inspections of the entire property, including attics, basements, crawl spaces, and any storage areas. Pay close attention to these out-of-the-way places as they might be attractive spots for phroggers to hide.

Look for Signs of Habitation

Be on the lookout for evidence that someone else might be living in the property besides the tenants you know about. This could include things like extra bedding, personal belongings hidden in unusual places, or signs of clutter or mess in areas that were previously clean during inspections.

Utility Usage

Monitor utility bills for any unexplained spikes in water or electricity consumption.  While not a foolproof method, a significant increase in usage could indicate additional people residing in the property.

Neighborhood Watch

Encourage good communication with neighbors and ask them to be observant of any unusual activity around the property. This could include unknown people entering or leaving at odd hours, or signs of someone accessing the house through unauthorized entry points.

hash-markWhat to Do if You Have Phroggers on Your Property?

If you suspect phroggers are on your property, the most important thing is to not confront them yourself. Phroggers can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Here's what you should do:

Contact the Police

Phroggers are trespassing and potentially stealing utilities. Informing the police allows them to safely investigate and remove the unwanted resident. Provide any evidence you've gathered, like photos or notes of unusual activity.

Secure the Property

Once the phrogger is removed, take steps to prevent future occurrences. Change the locks on all entry points and consider installing a security system with motion detectors, especially in areas phroggers might have used to hide.

Inform Tenants (if applicable)

If you're a landlord, keep your tenants informed about the situation. While they likely won't need to take any specific action, transparency builds trust and ensures everyone feels safe.

hash-markHow to Protect Your Home from Phrogging?

Here are some steps you can take to protect your home from phrogging:

  • Invest in high-quality deadbolt locks for all exterior doors.
  • Consider installing a security system with motion detectors and window and door sensors.
  • Keep windows and doors locked, even when you're home.
  • Install security cameras both inside and outside your home.
  • Avoid giving copies of your house keys to people you don't know well.
  • If you give someone a key, consider a keyless entry system that can be easily reprogrammed if needed.
  • If you live with roommates or family members, talk to them about phrogging and ask them to be aware of any suspicious activity.

hash-markWhat Is Phrogging FAQs

hash-markIs Phrogging a Crime?

Yes, phrogging is a crime. It falls under similar violations as trespassing and squatting, since someone is living in a property without the owner's consent. This can lead to criminal charges and eviction for the phrogger.

hash-markWhere Is Phrogging Most Common?

While data is limited, phrogging reports seem more frequent in areas with larger houses that have unused spaces like attics or basements, offering phroggers places to hide.