The Squatters Next Door

The house next door has been abandoned for a long time. The original homeowners were friends of ours, but they left the house when an investor wanted to purchase their house. Trouble was, the investor tried to pressure the lender into agreeing to a shortsale, and the lender didn’t budge. So the house has sat empty for the last three years.

A few times, my husband mowed their lawn, but when we moved to a lawn service we did not want to pay for that. The homeowner sent someone out to mow every now and then, as did the investor, who had taken over the property tax payments (if not the mortgage). So when another person came out to mow, we thought nothing of it.

But the next day, a Budget rental truck showed up. And some alterations were made.

I texted my friend:

Hi. Did your house sell? Someone installed a window a/c unit.

She said no, there should not be anyone there.

Ugh. You have a squatter! Chuck saw at least three window units. I’ll have Chuck take pics.

She thanked me and said her husband will contact the bank. I added that Chuck called the police.

The police came and it was a rather unbelievable visit. The cop actually brought the squatters over to my husband to “meet his new neighbors”, kindly informing the squatters as to the identity of those who ratted on them. The squatters mentioned the name of the woman who had sold them the house and were apparently very convincing. The police left.

This began a fourteen day period during which my husband only left the house once.

Since I know a little something about the mortgage process, I knew any sale would be a matter of public record. I went on the county website and looked up the property information for the street address. The last entry was a “quit claim deed” and the name of the woman on it was the same name given by the squatters. Trouble was, my friends’ names were on the deed, not the names of the squatters. Something was fishy.

Update. If it was a quit claim deed, then it has already gone thru. The cop says the occupants are the owners.

My friend complained that the bank never contacted them.

She contacted me later to say that the bank confirmed that the house had not sold, and that they were, indeed, squatters. They also told my friend that there would have to be a formal eviction to get them out, and that they have rights.

Well, they managed to convince the cops that they are the actual owners. AT&T was here installing the cable and phone.
So you probably better call the cops on your own and let them know that you are the owners. Because they are moving very quickly to establish possession.
This should be grand theft house.

At this point, there was a lot of speculation as to what was going on. I wondered if they were the victims of a scam. Then, she said she called the cops and they were going to meet her at a nearby park to evict them from the house. I texted:

Just curious–have you looked at the property info at the county website and examined all recent transactions?
They said someone named ___ ___ sold them the property on the courthouse steps in some kind of tax sale.

There was a bunch more confusion and speculation. The squatters used just enough of the truth to muddle the matter. I looked up quit claim deeds and saw that they are indeed used for tax sales, but I thought it fishy that there was nothing on the property with their names on it.

Then, my friend texted me to say that the woman was a squatter and that this was their second offense. The cops kicked them out.

Wow. We thought their behavior was awfully suspicious.
Air conditioners in windows. Slats propped up seemingly to keep our house in view. Always backing in.

We thought that was the end of it.

We thought wrong.

To Be Continued …

What do you think? Could you ever do anything so audacious?

11 thoughts on “The Squatters Next Door”

  1. That is horrifying! It’s amazing to me what people will try to get away with. I know that one of my friends had a squatter on their street for a while but that situation was eventually straightened out and the house was legitimately sold not too long after. We had a neighbor who stayed until after their home had been foreclosed, and sold, and the police had to kick them out. It was weird because the new neighbors moved in just a few days after the old ones were gone. I hope your squatter situation is resolved quickly.

    1. I work in the mortgage industry and the second scenario that you outlined is actually quite common. In some states, the foreclosure procedure is so long that the owners can essentially live in the house rent-free while it is underway for quite a while. The house on our OTHER side went through a similar situation. The house changed hands in a matter of weeks.

      As for the situation next door, the property preservation company … but wait. That telling belongs in part 2 of the story! 🙂

      1. Damn! I was hoping to get some details out of you before part two. 😉 I have seen some foreclosures take a looooong time to sort themselves out. My parent’s house took four years to resell after foreclosure and they could have, if they were the type of people to do that (they aren’t), stayed for years rent free. My husband works for a company that’s owned by BofA and has seen advisors tell clients to go ahead and stay in their homes until the bank comes in because they know it’ll be awhile and it’s preferable to have the delinquent owner in possession rather than risk having a squatter come in. Strange times.

        1. In the midst of this, I actually asked my neighbor if she would consider moving back in before her deed-in-lieu was complete. But like you said, she was not that type of person.
          So there, a snippet of things to come …

      1. Yes, you certainly have a cliffhanger here. {Smile}

        It seems pretty mind-boggling that they were so blatant… and that the police were so gullible. Usually police are pretty suspicious. How did these squatters manage to get the police on their side as long as they did? {puzzled smile}

        Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

        1. We were totally bewildered! Best I could figure was that the cops have seen situations before where the supposed squatter was, in fact, the new owner. But they clearly did not give us any chance to tell our side of the story before they ratted us out to the squatters. I am generally very supportive of the police, but they did rush to judgement here.

  2. Interesting. What does this mean? “Slats propped up seemingly to keep our house in view.” Also, is is possible that somebody shady “sold” them the house and they truly think they own it?

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