squatters

Squatters Tormenting Homeowners in…

Homeowners in various places across America have learned that once squatters move in they’re practically superglued in for life. Even the easiest ones to remove are a serious threat. Not just to the property owner, but the surrounding community.

Squatters worse than imagined

Reasonable people who used to depend on law enforcement are shocked to learn how easily their lives can be upended by an encounter with “squatters.

As Fox reports, homeowners “find themselves tied up in lengthy and expensive legal battles to get control of their properties back.” While that’s going on, “many others can find themselves victims.

According to real estate attorney Jim Burling, “any home unoccupied for a stretch can be a target of squatters.” Not only is it a large and growing problem, “it’s pretty hard to avoid.” He had a case in his own subdivision.

Nomadic anarchists “took over a neighbor’s home after the owner died and eventually had to be removed by police.” It wasn’t easy to do. It’s a really common occurrence in Chicago.

Over the past few months, “Chicago squatters have taken over the homes of two residents in the same neighborhood after the elderly homeowners died and left the homes to family members.” Darthula Young is one of them.

She inherited her mother’s property in Chatham. She got hit by one she calls a “professional” at the game. One “with a long criminal record who changed the locks and has racked up a $1,300 water bill that she is on the hook for.

Signed a lease

Karen Polk found herself in a similar situation. After losing her mother recently, she started to prep the property for sale. That’s when she realized a family of squatters had moved in.

Confusing the issue even further, the illegal occupants claimed “that they had signed a lease and paid rent up front to another person that Polk did not know.” While that sounds easy to sort out, it wasn’t.

Both of the Chatham victims “first discovered the squatters in September and both of them are still tied up in the court process, which can take six months or longer.” Complicating things further, that timeline gets dragged out if the defendants skip court. There isn’t much police can do. They can’t even keep a lid on violent crime.

In both cases, the hands of the police were reportedly tied since they are unable to definitively determine who is telling the truth and whose paperwork is legitimate, which is a job for the court system.

If somebody is living in a home and saying ‘hey, I signed a lease, I’m paying rent, I have a right to be here,‘ whether or not that’s true the police hear that story then they hear a story of somebody who’s not living there and saying ‘this is my place these people don’t belong here,’ the police officer can’t make that legal determination,” Burling explains.

Squatters are experts at the game of “he said, she said.” That’s why police won’t get involved. “It’s not their job. That’s not their bailiwick. If you have that kind of dispute it has to go to court.

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