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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Real Estate and Landlording => Topic started by: Tbill on December 19, 2015, 08:23:21 PM

Title: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Tbill on December 19, 2015, 08:23:21 PM
So craaazy story. I have decided to sell my rental house. I had a really great tenant there for the past year and a half, but they decided to move out. Property values have gone way up and I have decided to sell. I went to the property last weekend to check on the condition, everything looked great, tenant had completely moved out and I'm thinking full deposit return. I placed a lock box with key on the front door and my realtors for sale sign in the yard. I had nearly a full price offer and accepted contract on the house within days.

This is where is gets crazy. A couple days later the lock box and key disapeared. Since I live out of town, i fedexed a new key to the buyers agent. She went by the house today and apparently a family has moved in with kids furniture and everything. Buyers agent asked what are you doing here? they claimed to have a lease agreement with me. I have not even spoken with anyone about a lease. I contacted my old tenant and he assured me that he had not moved back in. I think there are two possible scenarios here: 1) the people are genuine squatters and just moved in and they know they are fraudulent. 2) someone fraudulently claimed to be me and rented out the house, collected rent/deposit and skipped town. I'm dazed and shocked as i write this, I cant believe this is happening. The buyers agent is concerned that our contract will fall through if I cant get the people out of the house.
Title: Re: Squaters / fraud!!
Post by: abhe8 on December 19, 2015, 08:35:41 PM
Wow!!!!! That is crazy.
Title: Re: Squaters / fraud!!
Post by: pl28 on December 19, 2015, 08:48:37 PM
Sorry to hear, hopefully you can get things straighten out and the new tenants are reasonable to understand your situation. You might want to contact your local law enforcement to get an idea what are your options if the tenants are not moving out.

Good luck
Title: Re: Squaters / fraud!!
Post by: JLR on December 19, 2015, 09:12:25 PM
Wow!!!!! That is crazy.


+1
Title: Re: Squaters / fraud!!
Post by: Cathy on December 20, 2015, 12:18:13 AM
If you read enough property law cases, you'll discover that this kind of fact pattern is (unfortunately) common.

Although I cannot and will not comment on the specific situation of the original poster, I will post the following basic facts about Texas law, which may be of some interest.

In Texas (as in many states), it is unlawful to forcibly retake possession of property if another person is "in actual possession of the property", even if the person presently in possession "acquired possession by forcible entry". Texas Property Code 24.001 (http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PR/htm/PR.24.htm#24.001). If squatters are in "actual possession", the only lawful way to remove them is to obtain an order from the Court by following the procedures set out in Texas Property Code 24.002 (http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PR/htm/PR.24.htm#24.002) et seq.

On the other hand, if the squatters are not in "actual possession" and otherwise have no legal or equitable claim to the property but remain on the property after being asked to leave, they are committing the crime of criminal trespass and can be unceremoniously removed by a law enforcement officer without due process of law. Texas Penal Code 30.05 (http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.30.htm#30.05) (definition of criminal trespass); Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 14.01 (http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/CR/htm/CR.14.htm#14.01) (officer may arrest "for any offense committed in his presence or within his view").

Whether a law enforcement officer will be able to remove the squatters will depend on whether the officer is satisfied that the squatters are not in "actual possession" and that they otherwise have no legal or equitable claim to the property. If the officer is not satisfied in that regard, a court order will need to be obtained to remove the squatters.

I express no view on whether the squatters described in the original post are in "actual possession" of the property.
Title: Re: Squaters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 20, 2015, 02:14:38 AM
I've had a very similar issue on a flip I was doing.

Just move to evict as quick as possible.

If it will help, offer them cash for keys to help them find a new place.  I know it sucks paying someone to move out of something they have no right to, but if it nets you the most (and the sale goes through, and no damage is caused), it may be the best solution.

My "squatter" (had a lease with someone else who did not own the property) refused to move, we evicted them.

Good luck, keep us updated!
Title: Update
Post by: Tbill on December 20, 2015, 05:52:16 PM
So, I went to the property today and saw the people in my house. It was a guy in his late 30's, his girlfriend and a few kids.  Long story short, it seems its a fraudulent landlord case. Some guy broke the lock box off my house, replaced all off my locks, deadbolts, took pictures of the inside of my house and listed it on Craigslist for rent. Apparently the "tenant" paid about $1800 to move in. He didn't get a signed lease though, apparently the "landlord" was supposed to "email it later". He did however get a hand written receipt from one of those receipt books, complete with my forged signature. I felt sorry for the guy but I let him know he needed to move out. We both agreed it would be a good idea to call the police and report the fraud. So when the police arrived, I briefly told the officer what happend and asked if he would be able to help catch the fraudulent landlord.

The officer didn't seem to care much about the fraud but got very pushy with the "tenant" he told him that he was trespassing and would not be aloud to go back inside the house unless I gave permission and that he could be arrested for trespassing at any second. He basically scared the shit out of the poor guy. He was begging me work something out with him. I felt sorry for him and said he could have till Tuesday at noon to get all his belongings out. I didn't want to be a pushover, but I do believe that this guy got taken advantage of by some con artist and I couldn't bear to see him arrested in front of his kids or thrown out on the street. I asked the cop if I allowed him time to remove his belongings would I loos my right to get him off the property and he said "I dont think so"
Title: Re: Squaters / fraud!!
Post by: justajane on December 20, 2015, 06:06:34 PM
When's the closing? Could you give him until after Christmas?
Title: Re: Squaters / fraud!!
Post by: Tbill on December 20, 2015, 06:35:28 PM
When's the closing? Could you give him until after Christmas?

The closing is scheduled for about 5 weeks away so timing wise I could give him till after Christmas, that is what he was asking for, but I didn't want to agree to that on the spot. My main concern is if I give him too much permission to stay, I may lose the ability to get him out without going through a painful eviction process. Your question makes me think I could maybe be more gracious with him. I think what I need to do is talk with the constable on Monday morning and see if I'm in danger of him getting any "Squatters Rights". Another issue is they may damage the property then I will be stuck with repairs with my pending sale on the line.
Title: Re: Squaters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 21, 2015, 01:46:20 AM
So all of the below is conjecture and very much depends on state law, and you should consult with a lawyer, etc. etc., but IMO it should work and is the route I would go.

Get him to sign something saying he has no right to occupy the property, that he is renting it from you for 1 week for $1, and needs to be out by Monday the 28th.

Then he won't have any tenants' rights, in general, as it's more like a short term rental (similar to AirBnB), and kicking him out will be much easier if he decides not to move at the end of that period.

Sounds like he's going to be amicable about it, and you don't want to piss them off and have them damage things, so I'd say let them stay through Christmas, have them move right after.

Thanks for the update!
Title: Re: Squaters / fraud!!
Post by: justajane on December 21, 2015, 06:49:10 AM
Did he already sign utilities and such over? Just something to think about, although I wouldn't go after him for utilities, considering you stand to lose more if you anger him than you would pay in utilities.

I suggested after Christmas because I feel for the guy. He's a victim too. You are ultimately the completely innocent victim here, since he should have done better diligence and perhaps read the signs of a scammer. But he really got screwed, financially more than you likely will.

I think arebelspy makes some good suggestions for how to handle this. You can also subtly harness the fear that the police officer put in him. Obviously you don't owe him anything, but given that the closing is over a month away, giving him till after Christmas could be a good compromise.

Can you imagine his poor kids? This will be a holiday season that will probably be etched in their minds forever - the year my dad got scammed and we had to move out right after we opened our presents. None of this is on you, so whatever you decide is okay. The scammer, however, can rot in hell as far as I'm concerned.
Title: Re: Squaters / fraud!!
Post by: Fishindude on December 21, 2015, 07:05:46 AM
Crummy deal.
I bought a foreclosure a few years ago and the former owner wouldn't leave.   Had to get the law involved, drag him to court, and have the judge order him to get out within (5) days.
Title: Christmas at Grandmas House
Post by: Tbill on December 21, 2015, 12:55:01 PM
I feel sorry for the guy losing his money, and I am conflicted about whether or not to let him stay till after Christmas. However, based on a few details that I had left out of my previous post, I'm going to stick with Tuesday at noon. If he struck me as a person of character I would let him stay, but I dont have a good feeling about him. Hes not a person I would have rented to to begin with. He seems like the type of person that, if I give him an inch he would take a mile. Also he has a ankle monitor on his leg, he mentioned that he was out on bail for assault. I have his cell# and I called him a few hours after the police confrontation to follow up with him and he mentioned his church friends are going to help him, and he has family in the next city over that can help him, which he will need because he is flat broke now.
Title: Re: Christmas at Grandmas House
Post by: arebelspy on December 21, 2015, 01:01:32 PM
I feel sorry for the guy losing his money, and I am conflicted about whether or not to let him stay till after Christmas. However, based on a few details that I had left out of my previous post, I'm going to stick with Tuesday at noon. If he struck me as a person of character I would let him stay, but I dont have a good feeling about him. Hes not a person I would have rented to to begin with. He seems like the type of person that, if I give him an inch he would take a mile. Also he has a ankle monitor on his leg, he mentioned that he was out on bail for assault. I have his cell# and I called him a few hours after the police confrontation to follow up with him and he mentioned his church friends are going to help him, and he has family in the next city over that can help him, which he will need because he is flat broke now.

Ah. Well that explains the overly aggressive cop.

At least he likely has the fear of his parole being violated to help move him along.

The ankle monitoring is usually confined to a specific location (like house arrest)--wonder if your address is being used for that?
Title: Re: Squaters / fraud!!
Post by: Tbill on December 21, 2015, 01:32:18 PM
Did he already sign utilities and such over? Just something to think about, although I wouldn't go after him for utilities, considering you stand to lose more if you anger him than you would pay in utilities.

Can you imagine his poor kids? This will be a holiday season that will probably be etched in their minds forever - the year my dad got scammed and we had to move out right after we opened our presents. None of this is on you, so whatever you decide is okay. The scammer, however, can rot in hell as far as I'm concerned.

Agreed. He said he did sign utilities over which I dont know why the utility company allowed that without a signed lease. I'm kinda glad the cop scared him because then I could swoop in and look like the good guy for letting him stay two days, hopefully that will buy me enough good will to leave the property in good condition.

The whole Christmas thing sucks, but hopefully they can do that at a relatives house. I have a feeling his kids are accustomed to trauma.


The ankle monitoring is usually confined to a specific location (like house arrest)--wonder if your address is being used for that?

Yeah he mentioned he is using my address for his ankle monitor and was kinda grumbling about having to change the address again.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Tbill on December 21, 2015, 10:41:17 PM
Hey Owner its me "tenant". Just updating you on the situation. Im exhausting every possible option. Even shelters. But that means being separated from my girlfriend and children i would have to stay in a separate shelter for men. And to be honest thats not an option. Its more difficult to do anything due to the holidays bein in a few days. I spoke with several people. Constables police. And explained the situation. Constable Jackson informed me that we would have to go to court but im not trying to put you in that situation. That would cost you money im sure you dont want to spend. He also said to speak with you and maybe come to some sort of an agreement. Im so frustrated and still am haven't wrapped my mind around the fact that someone would actually do that to another person so close to the holidays. Im physically sick to my stomach and dont think i hve slept more than an hour since yesterday. Plus im missing work to figure this out. Please believe im trying my hardest. Thank You for your patience Owner. And maybe hopefully we can come to some sort of an agreement. Thank You and Good Night.

Got this message from my "tenant" today. I take this to mean hes not moving out tomorrow. I guess I need to start the eviction process. I spoke with the JP's secretary today and she told me the quickest I could get someone evicted would be Jan 21, which would probably derail my sale contract. The buyers agent said they didnt want to do inspections until the "tenant" was out due to safety concerns. It just seems like there should be a way to short circuit the eviction process since the family living there has paid me no money and we have no agreement whatsoever.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Villanelle on December 21, 2015, 11:14:43 PM
Since you don't want the contract to fall through, can you offer him money ($500?) to be out by January 3 (as a somewhat random date)?  I'd likely consult a lawyer before doing so, but it seems like it would be worth it if it could salvage the sale. 
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Cathy on December 21, 2015, 11:57:31 PM
I would strongly urge you to retain counsel to finish dealing with this squatting family. Entering into any kind of agreement with the occupant is a risky proposition without the advice of counsel because such agreement may have the exact opposite effect of what it is intended to achieve. For greater certainty, I express no view on what the original poster should do because that is something that the original poster needs to discuss with his counsel.

(This post originally had a few other paragraphs but I decided that it would be best to remove them to reduce the risk of misunderstandings by readers.)
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 22, 2015, 01:57:18 AM
I would strongly urge you to retain counsel to finish dealing with this squatting family.

Yup, it's that time.

Once you've drawn a line (a little too early, IMO, but what's done is done), and they're violating it, you can have no faith that they'll move out now.

Proceed with the eviction.  Let them know you are doing so.  Keep the communication lines open.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: justajane on December 22, 2015, 06:13:40 AM
So sorry, Tbill. His holidays are ruined, but he's also ruining yours. How terrible for you to deal with all this stress. I think you are right not to trust him. My first thought was also to give him money to sweeten the deal, but Cathy is indeed right that this could make the situation worse.

My only thought would be that you could give him a predetermined amount of money once all of his belonging are out of the house and he has given you the keys. Then hand him the cash. Then change the locks again and be sure there is no lockbox anywhere. :)

But, yes, eviction sounds like the most secure option, but you don't want to jeopardize the sale. Any chance the buyers would give you more time in light of these unfortunate circumstances? If they really want the house.... I mean, after all, you are the victim of a crime here. I was just thinking there might be some wiggle room there.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 22, 2015, 06:16:51 AM
But, yes, eviction sounds like the most secure option, but you don't want to jeopardize the sale. Any chance the buyers would give you more time in light of these unfortunate circumstances? If they really want the house.... I mean, after all, you are the victim of a crime here. I was just thinking there might be some wiggle room there.

If they want the house, likely escrow will just be delayed with a simple contract addendum.  If they don't even want to start inspections until after though (and if they're getting mortgage paperwork on top of that), it could significantly delay things.  Not the end of the world though.
Title: Re: Squaters / fraud!!
Post by: Drifterrider on December 22, 2015, 06:51:07 AM
Crummy deal.
I bought a foreclosure a few years ago and the former owner wouldn't leave.   Had to get the law involved, drag him to court, and have the judge order him to get out within (5) days.

This is one reason I do a walk through with the realtor on the way to closing and change all the locks immediately after closing (and I mean straight from closing to the property to change the locks).  I do a door and lock count and buy new sets to take with me to closing  :)    But..... I don't trust people.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Tbill on December 22, 2015, 01:07:39 PM
The plot thickens!!!

I realize i am making a lot of posts about this. This issue is pretty much consuming my world right now and my scope of reality my be a little shaken, so I hope I am not offending you guys by taking up so much forum space. If its inappropriate for me to post so much information please let me know.

One of my coworkers was able to find some information on the guy in my house. Basically we have been able to disprove several things he told me.

1) He did not transfer the utilities to his name as he had told me. I called the utility company and they confirmed I am still paying the bills.
2) He is not out on bail for the crime he had told me. He was convicted of CRIMINAL TRESPASS OF A HABITATION about 2 months ago. He also has been convicted of THEFT and contributing to the truancy of a minor several times.
3) the neighbor just called me and he is currently having direct TV satellite installed.

Its beginning to come clear to me this guy was not scammed. He is a con artist. I called the police back, they wouldnt do anything even in light of his conviction for the same issue. I consulted with a lawyer this morning and I was told my options are police or 30 day eviction..

My next move is trying to get ahold of the original officer that was going to arrest him and begging for help while also beginning eviction. I'm very pissed at this point and I think I may turn off the utilities.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: johnny847 on December 22, 2015, 01:12:52 PM
My next move is trying to get ahold of the original officer that was going to arrest him and begging for help while also beginning eviction. I'm very pissed at this point and I think I may turn off the utilities.

If you pass him off he may end up causing damage to the property.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: K-ice on December 22, 2015, 01:22:01 PM
You are not over posting. This is a very interesting case.

Where I live significant damage to the place or assaulting or threatening to assult the landlord are all grounds for 24h evictions.

Not that you want any of the above to happen, but if they do know your laws and act swiftly.

I would not visit the place alone & record every conversation with him.

Best of luck. Tuesday has come & almost gone & no sign of him moving out as agreed.

Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 22, 2015, 01:25:12 PM
Evict ASAP.

Do NOT turn off the utilities. This could be grounds for a lawsuit.

Sounds like you have a professional tenant/scam artist.

You really, really need to get legal counsel ASAP.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: SunshineAZ on December 22, 2015, 01:42:39 PM
This sounds bad.  People who are looking for a new place, don't go through the trouble to install DirecTV.  He either plans to stay by stringing you along with lies and sympathy as long as he can, or getting you to pay him to leave.  I am guessing that will be the quickest way to get rid of him and his family, but I hate to pay off someone for something like this because it encourages them to do it again.   If you have any contacts with the Judge and/or DA, I would contact them, since he obviously has done this before, and since they know his history maybe they could get you some help. 

I don't think you can cancel any necessary utilities, such as heat or water, (especially in winter) but I would call DirecTV and stop them from installing the dish or make them remove it from your property so at least it will make his life a bit less comfortable.  And I would get the police there as often as I can to make him even more uncomfortable. 
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: pbkmaine on December 22, 2015, 01:49:49 PM

Evict ASAP.

Do NOT turn off the utilities. This could be grounds for a lawsuit.

Sounds like you have a professional tenant/scam artist.

You really, really need to get legal counsel ASAP.

This.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: justajane on December 22, 2015, 03:21:54 PM
So, so sorry. What a nightmare for you. After consulting a lawyer, I would start the eviction process immediately. You can always change course if need be. If eviction is 30 days, you might be able to salvage the sale, if the buyers would be willing to budge by a week or so. If I were a buyer, I would be very, very sympathetic to you and your plight. Hopefully they will be as well.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Tbill on December 22, 2015, 03:49:06 PM
I did an initial consultation over the phone with a local real estate attorney. He recommended I try getting the police to remove him one more time and If that didn't work he would accept a retainer from me to help me with the eviction process. We discussed his fee and timeline.

I called the local police dispatch with the details about his criminal past. They were no help. I emailed the Chief of Police directly pleading my case and begging for swift justice. I attached mug shots of the guy smiling after being arrested for Criminal Trespass of a habitation, I also attached a pdf of all his convictions. I was called by the Chief directly and he said he would send out the original officer that was going to remove the tenant and let him "do what he originally was going to do". He said he may not be able to arrest him but he said I have enough to at least get him removed from the property. He said I will need to sign a affidavit saying I did not accept payment from him to be my tenant. I think this is exactly what I needed and hope its the beginning of a happy ending.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 22, 2015, 04:10:51 PM
Good luck!
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: totoro on December 22, 2015, 04:54:59 PM
I sure hope the police route works.  Terrible that this happened.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Paul der Krake on December 22, 2015, 05:09:43 PM
/popcorn

What a turn of events. Please do not refrain from posting updates.

Gotta admire the nerve of the dude, installing DirecTV after selling you his sob story... I can't help but wonder what his typical playbook looks like. Shame that OP is on the other end of it, but wow.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: gliderpilot567 on December 22, 2015, 05:53:55 PM
Good luck, hope the police are able to get this resolved for you and quickly.

If not... They (squatters) have got to physically leave the house SOMEtime, whether to go buy groceries or whatever. Does anyone know, would it be illegal for you (or a neighbor) to stake the place out until they do, then quickly retake "actual possession?" Turn the tables on the squatter. Bring a few friends and quickly change the locks. It's your property to begin with; so if they step out (even for a few minutes) then you wouldn't have forcibly removed anyone. Not offering actionable legal advice, just spitballing ideas for the forum. This might be difficult to execute if GF and kids stay holed up in the place at all times to maintain possession... quite possible he's already thought of this, if he's an experienced squatter.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: ABC123 on December 22, 2015, 09:36:44 PM
I just earlier tonight finished reading the book "X" by Sue Grafton and this exact thing is one of the plotlines. So funny to come hear and read about this. In the book, she was able to get the squatters out by learning they had skipped out on bail for a previous crime and she called the bond agent. Probably not the answer here. But please keep us updated on this. I am fascinated at the idea that people think they can get away with such a brazen crime.
Title: Re: Update
Post by: bacchi on December 22, 2015, 10:48:55 PM
Some guy broke the lock box off my house,

"Some guy" is obviously your new "tenant." Thankfully, it's easy to evict in Texas. Ask your lawyer about an immediate possession bond. File it with the eviction suit.

https://www.stcl.edu/library/TexasRulesProject/TRCP474-522/rule510-52013.html
Title: Re: Update
Post by: arebelspy on December 23, 2015, 01:30:58 AM
Some guy broke the lock box off my house,

"Some guy" is obviously your new "tenant." Thankfully, it's easy to evict in Texas. Ask your lawyer about an immediate possession bond. File it with the eviction suit.

https://www.stcl.edu/library/TexasRulesProject/TRCP474-522/rule510-52013.html

Great idea.

Then closing won't have to be delayed.

Wonder what that'll cost.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Blatant on December 23, 2015, 07:51:46 AM
Your laws may be different. Often, local police don't do evictions, that's the function of a sheriff's deputy or constable. And most beat/uniformed cops have very little interest or ability to do a fraud investigation, particularly when they've probably got calls for service stacking up and waiting.

I echo the attorney advice and to start the eviction proceedings yesterday.

My best suggestion: If he's on active monitoring, that means he has a probation officer. He will likely have search terms as part of probation. While a law enforcement officer can't enter/search his residence without consent or a search warrant, the PO can enter and search at any time for any reason. I imagine, based on what you've said, the PO would have grounds to revoke his probation and have him taken into custody, which should solve your problem.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Another Reader on December 23, 2015, 08:04:44 AM
^ This.  The PO will have him out and back in jail as soon as he figures out what is going on.  Then you will have to get the GF and kids out, if they don't leave on their own.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Jack on December 23, 2015, 08:10:26 AM
This is Texas; can't you just force him out at gunpoint?

(In case you can't tell, that's a joke, not a serious suggestion.)
Title: Re: Update
Post by: I'm a red panda on December 23, 2015, 08:53:36 AM

Then closing won't have to be delayed.


Does the buyer know about all this? Does it have to be disclosed?

I sure wouldn't buy a house if I knew this was going on. I'd worry about retribution in the form of destruction of property once I owned it! 

I am so sorry the OP is going through this.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: shotgunwilly on December 23, 2015, 10:06:13 AM
This is Texas; can't you just force him out at gunpoint?

(In case you can't tell, that's a joke, not a serious suggestion.)

I would actually be tempted to do this myself if I had to deal with that asshole.

I probably would wait until they left the house, take it over, and when the guy came back and tried to enter I would point a gun at him and tell him to get the fuck off my property, as he is trespassing.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: okobrien on December 23, 2015, 10:09:42 AM
This is Texas; can't you just force him out at gunpoint?

(In case you can't tell, that's a joke, not a serious suggestion.)

I would actually be tempted to do this myself if I had to deal with that asshole.

I probably would wait until they left the house, take it over, and when the guy came back and tried to enter I would point a gun at him and tell him to get the fuck off my property.
I was thinking the exact same thing. This situation pisses me off to no end. It doesn't seem like an eviction is even necessary here. Isn't this a case of breaking and entering? The criminal trespasser just hasn't left the property yet.
Title: Re: Update
Post by: totoro on December 23, 2015, 10:10:49 AM

Then closing won't have to be delayed.


Does the buyer know about all this? Does it have to be disclosed?

I sure wouldn't buy a house if I knew this was going on. I'd worry about retribution in the form of destruction of property once I owned it! 

I am so sorry the OP is going through this.

Don't know about Texas but where I am all the contracts require that the property be in substantially the same condition as the last viewed date on possession date.  The seller remains liable for any damage in the intervening period.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: justajane on December 23, 2015, 10:29:20 AM
Yeah, I was discussing this with my husband earlier today, and I just don't understand why the police won't intervene. This isn't a tenant/landlord dispute or a traditional eviction. Pure and simple, this is breaking and entering. It really makes me mad that the local law enforcement are essentially refusing to help you.

If I weren't worried about the safety and well being of the OP, I would find a way to change the locks again when they left and take back your property, but this could potentially be dangerous for you.

I like the parole officer suggestion, although is this guy even using his real name?
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Paul der Krake on December 23, 2015, 10:40:28 AM
Do not take the matter in your own hands and try to "evict" your non-tenant yourself. As Cathy would say, we are not in possession of all facts. Our interpretation of what constitutes a tenant-landlord relationship may not be the same as your jurisdiction's.

Professional tenants are expert manipulators, having OP act impulsively is the winning move for him.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 23, 2015, 11:44:01 AM
Squatters can have tenant rights.

It's not as simple as breaking and entering.

Thus the advice for legal counsel.

Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: justajane on December 23, 2015, 01:08:34 PM
Squatters can have tenant rights.

I guess I don't consider someone who stole the keys to a residence, changed the locks, and moved in to be a squatter in the same sense that we consider individuals who move into an abandoned property to be.

Legality aside, it should offend all of our sensibilities that a criminal like this could hide behind a concept of tenant rights and is a perfect illustration of why people can and do become disillusioned with the law sometimes.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 23, 2015, 01:11:20 PM
Sure, I feel the same, but our feelings don't matter as much as the law. Part of living in a society, gotta take the good with the bad at times.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: BlueHouse on December 23, 2015, 01:58:39 PM
What a crazy story!   I don't really understand why squatters can sometimes get tenants' protections, but if so, why can't some random person break into my house and just decide to stay there while I'm living there?  Do I have to have personal belongings to differentiate between B&E and squatting? 
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 23, 2015, 02:14:10 PM
What a crazy story!   I don't really understand why squatters can sometimes get tenants' protections, but if so, why can't some random person break into my house and just decide to stay there while I'm living there?  Do I have to have personal belongings to differentiate between B&E and squatting?

Check your local listings laws for specifics on how it works in your area.  :)

Here's some interesting reading on it in general: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squatting_in_the_United_States

You can also read about your local tenants rights, and what qualifies.

Here's a fun AirBnB story about having to evict someone, as they had tenant's rights after 30 days:
http://www.businessinsider.com/airbnb-host-cant-get-squatter-to-leave-2014-7

The fact that it varies from state to state, and even city to city, makes it difficult to discuss more than anecdotes about how it COULD work, and is why the OP needs legal counsel (and I'm glad (s)he's sought it).
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Kaspian on December 23, 2015, 02:51:28 PM
Holy fuck-a-doodle!  Feel really bad for ya, OP.  I can't believe it also happened to someone else here as well.  Is it actually fairly common? 

Reading this thread from the start I knew something was up when the tenant wrote, " Plus im missing work to figure this out. "  No way.  At that point I knew either the tenant was the scam artist himself or in cahoots with them.  That last little bit of self-pity, over-the-top bullshittery, pushed my dirtbag meter to 100%.

Hope you get this resolved quickly.  BTW, I'd probably do everything.  Calling the cops, filing the court orders, immediate possession order, delivering a van load of hired Russian gangsters to the doorstep....
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Josiecat on December 23, 2015, 05:07:07 PM
Wow!  What a mess.  So very sorry OP.  Pursue this to the full extent to the law immediately.  This guy knows what he's doing.  Getting directTV installed.  The nerve.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Tbill on December 23, 2015, 06:05:56 PM
I got the people moved out. Locks are changed. It was peaceful. I'll post all the juicy details later.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: NinetyFour on December 23, 2015, 06:22:41 PM
I got the people moved out. Locks are changed. It was peaceful. I'll post all the juicy details later.

Yay!  Whew!
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: With This Herring on December 23, 2015, 06:31:43 PM
I got the people moved out. Locks are changed. It was peaceful. I'll post all the juicy details later.

At last!  Congratulations!
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: totoro on December 23, 2015, 06:36:23 PM
What a relief!
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: iamlindoro on December 23, 2015, 06:39:38 PM
I got the people moved out. Locks are changed. It was peaceful. I'll post all the juicy details later.

Awesome.  This has been one of the more interesting threads in the subforum of late!  Hope you didn't end up incurring much/any cost to achieve the result.  What a relief it must be for you.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Another Reader on December 23, 2015, 06:45:51 PM
I think I might be camping in that house until escrow closes, in case he tells his friends about your place....
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 24, 2015, 12:50:21 AM
I think I might be camping in that house until escrow closes, in case he tells his friends about your place....

Heh, yikes.

Or at least some better locks.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: neophyte on December 24, 2015, 12:20:04 PM
I got the people moved out. Locks are changed. It was peaceful. I'll post all the juicy details later.

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!  And Merry Christmas! I can't wait to hear the rest of the story!
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Kalergie on December 24, 2015, 01:37:26 PM
It's stories like these that make me love my index funds even more! What a mess!
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Cassie on December 24, 2015, 02:19:13 PM
Glad it worked out. Last year a friend was looking to rent a house in my neighborhood but found one that seemed too cheap. Turns out I walk by it everyday with my dog. I get in front of the house and  see a for rent sign with a phone #. I call the number and it turns out that he had not put an ad on Craig's list and he was asking a lot more for rent.  WE forwarded the info to the owner who called the police and they could have cared less.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: UnleashHell on December 24, 2015, 02:23:35 PM
I got the people moved out. Locks are changed. It was peaceful. I'll post all the juicy details later.

Nice work!!

looking forward to the details!!!
Title: The Final Chapter
Post by: Tbill on December 25, 2015, 12:05:39 AM
And so its finally over. As I sit here in my pajamas typing away on my keyboard, my wife wrapping last minute Christmas presents, I haven't felt as relaxed in awhile. I had been anticipating Wednesday morning because thats when the original officer (lets call him John) would be returning to work after a day off. John and the Chief of police seemed to be the only officers in town that seemed to think my issue was a trespassing issue and highly likely a B&E. The other various dispatchers, officers, the constable, and the JP, considered my issue to be something that would require an eviction. Wednesday morning I woke up to a cell call from John, he said that he had heard I was still having issues with the non-tenant. He said that he had gone over to the house that morning and told the non-tenant that if your not moved out today your getting arrested, and it wont be a civil charge, it will be a criminal charge, and if you dont open the door when I show up he would kick it down and drag him out. Apparently he had gotten a message from the Chief that I was still having problems with the non-tenant. Moments later I had several text messages from the non-tenant telling me not to worry, he was packing up.

I started the 150 mile trek to the property armed with a #2 philips screwdriver and some new door hardware. The wave of motivation the non-tenant had recieved that morning didnt last long. By noon he was calling to say there was a problem, he couldnt get the ankle monitoring people to change his ankle monitor address till Monday. I told him that he needed to call them back and tell them it was an emergency!! and he could be arrested at any moment for trespassing, and the address transfer needed to happen immediately. That seemed to work, because he didn't mention it again. He also called to let me know that there were no moving trucks available in town for that day, so It looked like he would have to wait till Monday. I whipped out my MMM Republic Wireless phone and had him one located within about 15 minutes, less than 4 miles away.

When I got to the property, I called John and let him know I made it into town, he told me that non-tenant had been down to the police station complaining that he was being illegally evicted from his home. He said that the Sargent was initial concerned with this report, but after John filled him in on the details the Sargent told the non-tenant "sounds like you better hurry back to the house and pack fast". I watched as he moved the remainder of his belongings into the garage. the non-tenant seemed very polite and cooperative. I got the locks changed out.  I helped him move his larger items into the garage. He really didn't have much stuff, and most of it was from Rent-a-Center, it was kinda pathetic. John came by a few times to make sure things were going smooth. 

I followed non-tenant over to the truck rental place where he attempted to rent the truck. His credit card was declined. I considered paying for the truck myself, just to facilitate getting his crap off my property, but the clerk said they wouldn't accept cash and i wasn't about to put this truck on my card and let Dirt-bag drive it. So we left. I told him it looked like his stuff was going out to the curb. He pleaded to let him store his stuff in the garage overnight and he could borrow a trailer the next day to get his stuff out, I had only about 3 hours of sleep the night before, I was tired and agreed. I stayed the night in town. The next day, Christmas eve he showed up at the agreed upon time, sans truck trailer or anything that could be used to move stuff. It seemed he was having trouble procuring the truck trailer. It was then I noticed a door leading from the garage into the house had been kicked it. the jamb and trim was broken. It had been shoddily repaired with some wood screws and roofing nails. Non-tenant said he had located his trailer and drove off in his car. I moved all his stuff out to the curb while he was gone. Locked the house up and went to Lowes to get supplies to repair the door. While I was there he texted me "I got the trailer. On my way back. HaHa understandable! Merry Christmas". When I returned all his stuff was gone!! He was all gone, finally gone. I spent a few hours cleaning up and repairing the door, then back on the road home.

At one point when non-tenant was out of earshot, I asked his girlfriend if she had met this person whom had supposedly defrauded them of their money. She said "no". I said do you think he exists? She said "I dont know, I dont know what to believe". I think thats a pretty good indication that he kicked in that door and repaired it himself. If you are going to rent a house that you cant really afford in the first place, I would think that you would take your girlfriend to meet the landlord to see the house before you decide and pay. The box of roofing nails and screws used to re-attache the broken door trim where still in the garage. Pretty weird.

All in all I dont feel angry at this guy for doing what he did and being the dirtbag that he is. Dirtbags have always been a part of society and there will always be dirtbags. Hes just being who he is, playing his role in society. I think its interesting that this happened on the heels of MMM's latest article about theft. I dont think his idea is wrong, and I mostly live my life that way. I may be slightly more warry after this though.
 
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: forumname123 on December 25, 2015, 12:14:54 AM
I hate this person and wish people like him didn't exist, but you gotta admit he has balls the size of monster truck tires. The things he could accomplish if he put that fearless audacity to better use...
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Kalergie on December 25, 2015, 12:34:36 AM
I don't know if it's allowed but I think a Christmas present for Officer John is in order. That guy saved your ass!
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 25, 2015, 02:38:08 AM
1) Awesome that you called bullshit on the ankle monitoring thing
2) Awesome you called bullshit on can't get a moving truck thing
3) SO AWESOME that the tenant's last minute police station tactic didn't work cause Officer John was there

Three cheers for Officer John!

You did a great job handling this, that's about as smooth as it could go, and will make a funny story.

Let buyers know the house is ready for inspections!  Good luck on the closing.  :)
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: UnleashHell on December 25, 2015, 04:28:17 AM
I don't know if it's allowed but I think a Christmas present for Officer John is in order. That guy saved your ass!

i think thats an awesome idea. even a gift card so the guy can get lunch for a while would be pretty cool.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Jack on December 25, 2015, 08:07:33 AM
Yep. Call up the precinct non-emergency number and ask "what's the highest-dollar gift officers are allowed to accept?"

I can't believe you even considered helping that guy with a moving van. I would have just said "you can't find a van? Then I hope you enjoy having your shit on the curb!"
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: NinetyFour on December 25, 2015, 09:16:48 AM
I don't know if it's allowed but I think a Christmas present for Officer John is in order. That guy saved your ass!

i think thats an awesome idea. even a gift card so the guy can get lunch for a while would be pretty cool.

Definitely.  And maybe let John's superiors know that you really appreciate John's and the Chief's efforts on your behalf.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 25, 2015, 09:24:07 AM
I don't know if it's allowed but I think a Christmas present for Officer John is in order. That guy saved your ass!

i think thats an awesome idea. even a gift card so the guy can get lunch for a while would be pretty cool.

Definitely.  And maybe let John's superiors know that you really appreciate John's and the Chief's efforts on your behalf.

That's a great idea.

With the gift idea, I'd be worried about--in some sort of suit/disposition later--being asked if you paid the officer anything for his eviction, and it looking bad, even if it was just a small gift card.  Unlikely, but possible.

Some homemade cookies and lavish praise to his superiors and such wouldn't be amiss though.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Lauran75 on December 25, 2015, 09:55:41 AM
I work for a city entity. We are not allowed to accept any kind of gift with "real" monetary value. However, we can accept food. (How that doesn't equate to stuff of monetary value, I don't get. But .. whatever.)
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Cassie on December 25, 2015, 11:16:58 AM
When I worked for the government we could only accept food and we could not take it home but had to put in break room and share with everyone.   I would do that to thank them.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 25, 2015, 11:22:42 AM
I work for a city entity. We are not allowed to accept any kind of gift with "real" monetary value. However, we can accept food. (How that doesn't equate to stuff of monetary value, I don't get. But .. whatever.)

Some fancy chocolates or gift basket of food or something, perhaps?

(Not donuts. ;) )
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Lauran75 on December 25, 2015, 11:26:19 AM
I work for a city entity. We are not allowed to accept any kind of gift with "real" monetary value. However, we can accept food. (How that doesn't equate to stuff of monetary value, I don't get. But .. whatever.)

Some fancy chocolates or gift basket of food or something, perhaps?

(Not donuts. ;) )

So far for Christmas this year we got - multiple bags of fancy pants popcorn, multiple tins of fudge, a HUGE platter of cookies (not homemade, but from a fancy store name) - and that is just upstairs in the office area where I work. Downstairs I know has gotten much, much more. I'd go for the donuts myself. :)
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on December 25, 2015, 01:10:59 PM
A letter to the city council or town manager would help John too.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: justajane on December 25, 2015, 01:41:11 PM
Yes, what about ordering pizza for the whole department? Of course, let them know that on X day they don't need to pack a lunch, but that would be a nice gesture.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Mr. Green on December 25, 2015, 05:02:37 PM
If the guy kicked open a door I'd be worried about the guy coming back, even after I had changed the locks. I guess the nice thing about having a contract is you're probably not putting a key box back out. I suppose busting down a door would be a much clearer case of B&E that stealing a key and claiming you moved in.
Title: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: pbkmaine on December 25, 2015, 06:32:42 PM
Ask him if it would be helpful if you wrote a letter, ask who it should be written to and what it should contain. Then write it. Letters like this can be pure gold.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Josiecat on December 25, 2015, 08:43:32 PM
You Sir handled the situation like a boss.  Thank goodness for Officer John.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Bearded Man on December 25, 2015, 10:29:22 PM
The plot thickens!!!

I realize i am making a lot of posts about this. This issue is pretty much consuming my world right now and my scope of reality my be a little shaken, so I hope I am not offending you guys by taking up so much forum space. If its inappropriate for me to post so much information please let me know.

One of my coworkers was able to find some information on the guy in my house. Basically we have been able to disprove several things he told me.

1) He did not transfer the utilities to his name as he had told me. I called the utility company and they confirmed I am still paying the bills.
2) He is not out on bail for the crime he had told me. He was convicted of CRIMINAL TRESPASS OF A HABITATION about 2 months ago. He also has been convicted of THEFT and contributing to the truancy of a minor several times.
3) the neighbor just called me and he is currently having direct TV satellite installed.

Its beginning to come clear to me this guy was not scammed. He is a con artist. I called the police back, they wouldnt do anything even in light of his conviction for the same issue. I consulted with a lawyer this morning and I was told my options are police or 30 day eviction..

My next move is trying to get ahold of the original officer that was going to arrest him and begging for help while also beginning eviction. I'm very pissed at this point and I think I may turn off the utilities.


All the more reason not to show compassion. Should have had him arrested when you had the chance. Let the jury sort it out. Too bad you can't teach guys like this a lesson.
Title: Re: The Final Chapter
Post by: FIRE me on December 28, 2015, 11:38:00 PM
All in all I dont feel angry at this guy for doing what he did and being the dirtbag that he is. Dirtbags have always been a part of society and there will always be dirtbags. Hes just being who he is, playing his role in society. I think its interesting that this happened on the heels of MMM's latest article about theft. I dont think his idea is wrong, and I mostly live my life that way. I may be slightly more warry after this though.

As so many have already said you handled this very well.

I'm commenting to say that this is a new scam for me. I'd long ago heard of scumbags pretending to be landlords and renting property that they did not own.

But pretending to be the victim of a rental scam is news to me. I wonder how may times he got away with it before he got his stylish new ankle bracelet?

I'd just about be willing to bet with the lower vacancy and foreclosure rates, he has slim pickings ahead.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: manonfire1007 on December 30, 2015, 11:20:30 PM
Though I'm sure this isn't a common occurrence, this story has me leaning away from real estate and being happy with lower returns in the market. The drama and worry aren't for me. Thanks, and well done.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 31, 2015, 12:55:26 AM
Though I'm sure this isn't a common occurrence, this story has me leaning away from real estate and being happy with lower returns in the market. The drama and worry aren't for me. Thanks, and well done.

The person was selling their property.

This could just as easily happen with a home someone owned and sold after they moved to a different state due to a job.  Or a vacation home.  Or whatever.

There's nothing related to "real estate investing" in this story.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: MaikoTsumi on December 31, 2015, 11:04:13 AM
I have to disagree with the comments of how well you handled it.  Indeed, you handled it "nicely", but let's honest, you got lucky.  The only thing that kept you from getting walked on more is the good graces of law enforcement.  If I was writing a book on what not to do in this situation, I would draw on your example. 
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: dmbsux on December 31, 2015, 09:53:11 PM
I have to disagree with the comments of how well you handled it.  Indeed, you handled it "nicely", but let's honest, you got lucky.  The only thing that kept you from getting walked on more is the good graces of law enforcement.  If I was writing a book on what not to do in this situation, I would draw on your example.

Agreed.  I can't believe OP and others actually bought the initial story from the squatter about the mysterious 3rd party and the emailed lease.  Occam's Razor and all that...

I can only attribute this gullibility to the preponderance of engineers on this forum, many of whom command huge base salaries but also happen to be complete social morons.  Congratulations, engineers.  You're having a moment right now.  There's never been a better time to be a geek.  But this is the downside to being an engineer.  You end up believing completely ridiculous stories. 

By the way, this is not a personal attack; I am critiquing the forum, not the OP.   
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: arebelspy on December 31, 2015, 10:18:35 PM
I have to disagree with the comments of how well you handled it.  Indeed, you handled it "nicely", but let's honest, you got lucky.  The only thing that kept you from getting walked on more is the good graces of law enforcement.  If I was writing a book on what not to do in this situation, I would draw on your example.

Agreed.  I can't believe OP and others actually bought the initial story from the squatter about the mysterious 3rd party and the emailed lease.  Occam's Razor and all that...

It's actually a super common scam for people to rent out places that don't belong to them.  This guy took advantage of that fact, and pulled the scam himself, but his story was not unbelievable.

Google search (https://www.google.com/search?q=rent+out+place+didn%27t+belong+to+them&pws=0&gl=us&gws_rd=cr#pws=0&gl=us&q=scam+fake+landlord).
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: dmbsux on January 01, 2016, 01:32:12 PM
I have to disagree with the comments of how well you handled it.  Indeed, you handled it "nicely", but let's honest, you got lucky.  The only thing that kept you from getting walked on more is the good graces of law enforcement.  If I was writing a book on what not to do in this situation, I would draw on your example.

Agreed.  I can't believe OP and others actually bought the initial story from the squatter about the mysterious 3rd party and the emailed lease.  Occam's Razor and all that...

It's actually a super common scam for people to rent out places that don't belong to them.  This guy took advantage of that fact, and pulled the scam himself, but his story was not unbelievable. [Emphasis added]

Google search (https://www.google.com/search?q=rent+out+place+didn%27t+belong+to+them&pws=0&gl=us&gws_rd=cr#pws=0&gl=us&q=scam+fake+landlord).

In your mind, at what point did the squatter's story become unbelievable?  When he said he was getting DirectTV installed, or before then? :)
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: paddedhat on January 01, 2016, 02:30:10 PM

Agreed.  I can't believe OP and others actually bought the initial story from the squatter about the mysterious 3rd party and the emailed lease.  Occam's Razor and all that...

I can only attribute this gullibility to the preponderance of engineers on this forum, many of whom command huge base salaries but also happen to be complete social morons.  Congratulations, engineers.  You're having a moment right now.  There's never been a better time to be a geek.  But this is the downside to being an engineer.  You end up believing completely ridiculous stories. 

By the way, this is not a personal attack; I am critiquing the forum, not the OP.

The only issue with your logic, and critique, is that's totally wrong. A good friend just closed a single family home in a nice part of a desirable, northeast city. She spent months battling Craigslist scammers, who were marketing her home as a rental. They pasted all the photos and info. from the real estate listing, and were hoping to meet a potential renter to sign a lease, and hand over a check for first month and security. Her efforts included having a security system installed, to prevent the scammer from showing the house while she was gone, repeatedly flagging ads on CL, and even once accidentally meeting potential victims on the street, while they waited for the "landlord" to show up.

Basically, what you believe to be gullibility, was reality for our dear friend, and hardly anything new to the professionals selling her home.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: dmbsux on January 01, 2016, 03:15:03 PM

Agreed.  I can't believe OP and others actually bought the initial story from the squatter about the mysterious 3rd party and the emailed lease.  Occam's Razor and all that...

I can only attribute this gullibility to the preponderance of engineers on this forum, many of whom command huge base salaries but also happen to be complete social morons.  Congratulations, engineers.  You're having a moment right now.  There's never been a better time to be a geek.  But this is the downside to being an engineer.  You end up believing completely ridiculous stories. 

By the way, this is not a personal attack; I am critiquing the forum, not the OP.

The only issue with your logic, and critique, is that's totally wrong. A good friend just closed a single family home in a nice part of a desirable, northeast city. She spent months battling Craigslist scammers, who were marketing her home as a rental. They pasted all the photos and info. from the real estate listing, and were hoping to meet a potential renter to sign a lease, and hand over a check for first month and security. Her efforts included having a security system installed, to prevent the scammer from showing the house while she was gone, repeatedly flagging ads on CL, and even once accidentally meeting potential victims on the street, while they waited for the "landlord" to show up.

Basically, what you believe to be gullibility, was reality for our dear friend, and hardly anything new to the professionals selling her home.

I think you need to re-read the facts stipulated on pg 1 of the thread. Doesn't sound like the police officer bought the squatter's story, not even initially.  Sounds like his BS meter was going off right away, too.  You might also want to give your "good friend" more credit.  Given the same situation, her BS meter might have been going off, too, when she spoke with the convict, who doesn't appear to be very good at squatting since it's later revealed that he's already failed at this endeavor at least once.

And even if the facts themselves don't tip you off, then maybe you should realize that the same way some people are naturally good at engineering and coding, there are also people who have a gift for detecting bull$hit.  This isn't some magical ability, and it's not that rare. It just happens to be rare on a forum composed of engineers. 

Have a great day.


Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: paddedhat on January 01, 2016, 03:47:35 PM
Well, I guess we will have to disagree on this one. Our friend could of just as easily walked in to the exact scenario, of discovering the new tenant, but discovered that she was being scammed when she approached a car that was idling at the curb. The car was full of an excited family that found a prefect rental, and was waiting for the landlord to arrive.
as for your smug claim that the demographic of this forum leads to some non-existent gullibility, sorry but not only are we discussing a common and widely know scam, but the whole concept of the OP and other's being too nave, is IMHO, a construct of a vivid imagination.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: dmbsux on January 01, 2016, 04:21:49 PM
Well, I guess we will have to disagree on this one. Our friend could of just as easily walked in to the exact scenario, of discovering the new tenant, but discovered that she was being scammed when she approached a car that was idling at the curb. The car was full of an excited family that found a prefect rental, and was waiting for the landlord to arrive.
as for your smug claim that the demographic of this forum leads to some non-existent gullibility, sorry but not only are we discussing a common and widely know scam, but the whole concept of the OP and other's being too nave, is IMHO, a construct of a vivid imagination.

Smug, you say?  Geez, you were *so* close to being polite :)  With that said, +1 for using the phrase "vivid imagination"; that's a great way to call someone a child w/out actually using that word.  Now who's being smug, LOL...

Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: iris lily on January 01, 2016, 04:43:47 PM
Time to drag out the film Pacific Heights which always reinforces my gut instincts about tenants.

Don't like 'em, don't want 'em in my tiny houses. Fortunately my houses are not habitable and squatters would walk in, turn up their nose, and slither out before setting up,squatter shop.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: iris lily on January 01, 2016, 04:47:00 PM
I'm relieved for you. This sounded like an absolute nightmare, even though it was resolved very quickly and (thank goodness) peacefully. Looking forward to the report.

And please tell a journalist! I had no idea this was a thing!

Fuck no, don't publicize the scam.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: paddedhat on January 02, 2016, 07:43:57 AM
Well, I guess we will have to disagree on this one. Our friend could of just as easily walked in to the exact scenario, of discovering the new tenant, but discovered that she was being scammed when she approached a car that was idling at the curb. The car was full of an excited family that found a prefect rental, and was waiting for the landlord to arrive.
as for your smug claim that the demographic of this forum leads to some non-existent gullibility, sorry but not only are we discussing a common and widely know scam, but the whole concept of the OP and other's being too nave, is IMHO, a construct of a vivid imagination.

Smug, you say?  Geez, you were *so* close to being polite :)  With that said, +1 for using the phrase "vivid imagination"; that's a great way to call someone a child w/out actually using that word.  Now who's being smug, LOL...

You state that the OP and members here, are clueless and gullible, based on your theory that the body here is largely comprised of engineers, and the engineering mindset by default lacks "street smarts". Oddly, enough, you reached a conclusion that somehow managed to escape the majority of local law enforcement the OP dealt with, as they were also below your caliber, and found it difficult to believe that this was anything more than a tenant's rights issue. Finding the OP to lack credibility when he stated that he was the victim of a professional squatter. Laughably, you then take offense when someone describes your strange attack on many here as being smug. Then you decide that stating that having a vivid imagination is synonymous with being called a child.  Sorry, but childish was the furthest thing from my mind.

No, deciding that everybody, the victim, local law enforcement, folks on a thread full of knowledgeable RE investors, and those that are well aware of the scam, are all gullible rubes, doesn't make you childish in the least. Thanks for the input, enjoyed your posts.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on January 02, 2016, 09:16:34 AM
There was a family living in the house. I am not going to fault the OP for being slow to evict a family.

I would rather be too slow, than too fast. I would rather err on the side of giving scammers a few extra days rather than making life harder for  innocent scam victims.
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Zx on January 03, 2016, 07:05:36 PM
To the OP:

You, sir, are the greatest thing that ever lived. You handled the dirtbag like a pro.

My inlaws owned some acreage in Western WA state about 15 years ago. They lived in Eastern WA at the time they wanted to sell it. My wife lived about 80 miles from this property (this was before I even met her). Upon hearing that her parents wanted to sell this property, she decided to drive up and post signs with a phone number, etc.

When she got there she was surprised to find a couple of RVs on the property as well as a log hauling truck being loaded with trees from the property. She found the person directing the operation and was pointed to one of the squatters.

It seems this squatter had called the logging company in to sell the timber, as this was now "his" land as a squatter. She argued but was unable to persuade the honorable squatters to see it her way. She contacted the Sheriff, but nothing could be done in time. The company got their timber, the squatter got his money, and both vanished by the time she drove up the next weekend.

One squatter remained in an RV and refused to leave. My wife to be started the eviction process, posted the No Trespassing signs and set to cleaning the property up...oh yes, I failed to disclose that there were mountains of trash left by the squatters, who had been there for years, and by others who saw garbage and were either dishonest or who actually thought that this was now a public dumping ground.

My wife rented a trailer every weekend for 3 months, enlisting friends and volunteers, to go up and clean the property so that it could be sold.

On the day the eviction orders were ready, a Sheriff went with her to evict the squatter. The squatter who answered the door was a woman, and from her performance you'd have thought she was a relative of Meryl Streep.

Oh the tears, the supplications, the begging for just a "little" more time so that she could get the only friend she knew with a truck...who just happened to be out of town for another few weeks...to tow her RV out of there. Could the evil property owner possibly have a heart, possibly show compassion to the blessed squatter to stay another few weeks? Because by then, sure, she'd be gone. After all, she didn't want to cause any trouble here, she was just trying to get by....and on and on and on.

My wife had no more sympathy for these people. She demanded they be gone and RIGHT NOW. Dramatically the squatter surrendered. The next day the RV was gone.

After a staggering amount of anxiety, stress, money, loss of property (trees), and time the blessed and wonderful people that were the squatters were gone. The property sold not too long after that.

I guess the lesson is to stay on top of things, don't own property without a PM if you don't live nearby and can't check it often, and expect the dregs of society to be ever vigilant for opportunities. The only way to stay on top of them is to be vigilant as well. Pathetic that it has to be this way but it takes all kinds, right?
Title: Re: Squatters / fraud!!
Post by: Jack on January 04, 2016, 06:31:19 AM
I can only attribute this gullibility to the preponderance of engineers on this forum, many of whom command huge base salaries but also happen to be complete social morons.  Congratulations, engineers.  You're having a moment right now.  There's never been a better time to be a geek.  But this is the downside to being an engineer.  You end up believing completely ridiculous stories. 

By the way, this is not a personal attack; I am critiquing the forum, not the OP.
And even if the facts themselves don't tip you off, then maybe you should realize that the same way some people are naturally good at engineering and coding, there are also people who have a gift for detecting bull$hit.  This isn't some magical ability, and it's not that rare. It just happens to be rare on a forum composed of engineers. 

Your stereotyping of engineers as socially inept and gullible is offensive. Knock it off, asshole!

MOD EDIT: Forum Rule #1.