The Return of the Squatters

I posted part one of this real-life drama (such as it is) last week. Here’s the rest of the story …

It turns out that there was a teeny, tiny problem with the eviction of the squatters.

They only kicked out one of them.

The squatters had mentioned a name that had appeared on the property history, and at first, my friend did not recognize the name. The squatters claimed to have been sold the property in a tax sale. I started to wonder if the squatters were the victims of a scam. At length, my friend remembered the name from an investor they were working with.

Well, they used her name, which they probably got from the property history. Wish that info was not so public.

We wish you could move back in!!

The county has all property information readily available online, so I was able to look at all recent transactions, plus their tax history.

And guess what? All their taxes were paid. I looked at all recent tax sales for the county; that property address was not listed.

We switched to the phone at this point, and during that conversation I learned that the investor they were working with had been handling the tax payments. I guess that was part of the investment. The last transaction on the house was a quit claim deed, and my friend explained that she had to track that woman down–who no longer worked for the investor–to get her to file the quit-claim so my friend’s deed-in-lieu could go through.

So my theory that the squatters were the innocent victims of a scam was out the window.

In the meantime, we had other lingering questions:

Question: was that woman there alone? There were two of them.

Friend replied that she was alone.

There was a guy involved too. Getting description …

I passed along the description.

There was some confusing comings and goings. My friend wanted me to find out what they were doing, so I sent her this:

… I was concerned when they only removed the woman from the house. I have not gone around the house to look at what they’re doing but when I got home there was a car parked in front of the driveway with the tailgate opened.

Due to the position of the garage I have to be very overt if I want to check out exactly what they’re doing.

It’s actually perfectly positioned for nefarious activities.

I said this because the house has a courtyard entry and is faced away from the rest of the neighborhood. All you can see from our house is a side window, and a bathroom door. To continue:

They backed up their car all the way up to the garage so nobody can look at the license plate.

The window units made my husband and my sister wonder if they were brewing drugs in there.

I admit that our imaginations have run rampant!

Now as we were going through this, several people told us that squatters usually don’t want to cause trouble and the neighborhood usually has nothing to fear from them. However, it is very disconcerting to live next door to people when you know they broke at least one law in order to live there. And that law was breaking & entering! And then right away, they were breaking the HOA covenants by installing window units. So yes, fodder for the imagination, indeed.

They keep the slats (of the blinds) positioned in the bedroom so they can see out. And there’s a light on in there. Possibly they left the lights on when they left.

Wednesday:

From my husband: If she was arrested it was not for long because the squatter is back at the house.

They notified the bank. Again. A few days later, on Saturday:

Hi again. We have not seen the squatters for days, but they did leave their AC units behind. My husband wonders if they intend to come back. Did the banks change the locks?

My friend had no way of finding out until Monday. However:

Sunday:

The squatters are still there. The guy from the bank came by and said that someone was definitely still in the house. The key that the bank has does not open the doors. He said he was walking around the house to try the back door and he saw someone looking through the curtains. The guy from the bank came by to talk to my husband. That’s how we know this.

Monday:

We were able to verify what the guy from the bank saw. There was a light on in the bathroom and later it was off.

From my husband: Someone from the bank was to inspect the property and was unable to because the residence was believed to be occupied. I confirmed to him that the squatters had not vacated the property.

After this point, the bank was telling my friends that they would have to file a formal eviction notice in order to get them to vacate the property. They also only gave my friends 10 days to get them out of the house or they would cancel the pending deed-in-lieu.

I know a good real estate lawyer if you need one.

I sent my friend the lawyer’s contact info. I have sent this guy a lot of business. But it turned out that my friend didn’t need them. Another friend told them a shortcut and the next plan was that a property preservation company was going to work together with the police to get the squatters out and secure the house.

The plywood guy and locksmith are here.

She was waiting for the police at a nearby park, but she showed up shortly afterward. Together we watched as the police and the property preservation agents secured the property. No one was coming out of the house, so the police kicked in one of the AC units, and the property preservation agent–who was armed–went into the house. They had a dog. They established that there was no one in the house.

The cop was rather annoyed and demanded to know why we said there was someone in the house. My husband told them that as far as we knew, they were there.

The PP agents spent some time afterward securing the house. They left the blinds open on the window that faced our house, because they knew we were vigilant. They also left a light on, and put a lockbox on the front door. I am sure there are other countermeasures in the house that I don’t know about.

Although the squatters were gone, they left a house full of furniture. The PP agent also said that the garage had a lot of furniture as well. Which all–I guess–would be sold along with the house. As far as I know, it is all still there.

Lately, there’s been some people by to clean things up. They left a mess for trash collection. No one has attempted to move in again. We’re still waiting and hoping that we get actual neighbors there some day.

10 thoughts on “The Return of the Squatters

  1. Wow, that’s dramatic! And disconcerting. I agree- knowing these people are guilty of breaking and entering makes them scary. I’m glad your friends had people they could call. From here (that is, not having to live through it) it sounds like a lot of writing fodder. :)

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    • You know, I already had a squatting episode of Petroleum Sunset mostly written, but this experience really solidified some of the details. I’d like to do more work on those stories, but only when I’m done with East of Yesterday. In fact, I’ve been toying with the idea of merging those stories together…

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