Squatters Spoil Dream Home With Fake Deed Claims

A Seattle couple were 10 days from closing on their new house when they discovered squatters had moved in who claimed they had seized “free land.”

The folks chopped the realtor’s lock box, changed the locks, and posted a deed on the window where they claimed to own the property.

“Whatever the bank is stating is in the land of fiction,” one of the squatters told Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “(The previous owner) has eliminated the bank’s interest in the property due to fraud.” He added, “The machine that I’m fighting is the bankers. I’m just one of the little guys who’s fighting that.”

Now the couple that was buying the house is basically homeless. They already gave notice on their rental, and the bank has delayed the closing date on the new home because of the issues over the deed involving the squatters.

Nature abhors a vacuum. As foreclosed houses, the foam left on on the beach after the ebb tides of the housing bubble recede, sit empty across the nation, cockroaches are bound to move in. (Or bees).

Couple finds someone living in their home-to-be [Seattle PI] (Thanks to Lee!)

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  1. obits3 says:

    “Now the couple that was buying the house is basically homeless.”

    Can they get their money back? If not, why not?

    • menty666 says:

      and why can’t they just get an exterminator in to clear out the pests?

      • grapedog says:

        because maybe the bank cannot prove actual ownership of the home.

        this mess with forclosures, not as tidy as the goverment and the banks want you to think it is.

        • sirwired says:

          No, this is isn’t bank fraud; it’s just a delusional asshole that thinks he’s entitled to free land. It is just going to take time to prove that this new “deed” is fraudulent, and the Notary needs to lose her license. (Note that this is not the only house this clown has tried this at.

          • SChance says:

            The notary’s in on the scam. She’s already been arrested for squatting in a $3.2 million dollar mansion in a nearby town. This is the second or third property, at least, that these jokers have been in the news over trying to claim ownership.

      • Puddy Tat says:

        Nice…….

    • ihatephonecompanies says:

      They may have the money, but they’ll still be homeless…

      • obits3 says:

        That sucks. I would say go to U Haul for the stuff and think about suing the bank in small claims court for promissory estoppel/detrimental reliance for any money they are out for storage.

    • sleze69 says:

      I would think Title Insurance would work here to get some kind of settlement.

      • bhr says:

        If they havent closed yet they dont actually have title insurance.

        • njack says:

          No, but the title insurance company is the one working to ensure the title is clear, thus insuring it. They should be able to look at the “deed” the squatters and deem it valid/invalid and thus insuring the title. Evicting the squatters in such case would be the difficult part.

          • LastError says:

            The problem is not with the fake deed. There’s nothing the title company needs to prove or disprove there because the fake deed is fake. It’s not the same as an actual title with problems. It’s just fake.

            The problem is the house is now full of trespassers who are experienced at this sort of squatting.

          • Sumtron5000 says:

            Title searchers go to town halls and look up deeds to make sure there’s not a problem. (OK, that’s a really bad explanation, my father does it and I used to work for him and that was the most I could understand.) The title insurance company insures the title searcher so if my dad makes a mistake and screws up someone’s shit, he doesn’t go to the poorhouse. If someone makes a fake deed on a piece of paper, the title searcher wouldn’t even know about it.

    • Mom says:

      They’re not actually basically homeless. If the landlord actually wants them out, he’ll have to evict them. It’s unlikely a landlord will even want do to evict someone who is continuing to pay rent, even if they gave notice, then reneged. Even if the landlord does want them out, if they’re paying rent, it will take a couple of months to get anywhere close to the point where they actually get evicted. They can find another place by then.

      Frankly, delayed closings happen all the time, and landlords deal with this kind of thing regularly.

      • DanRydell says:

        So in other words, you’re saying they should do the same thing the squatters are doing to them.

        • Liam Kinkaid says:

          You realize the word “renege” means “renegotiate,” right? So what MotherMucca is saying is that the couple would renegotiate their departure from the rental property with the landlord. I fail to see how this, in any way, is similar to the squatters forcibly entering a vacated property and setting up residence.

          • sagodjur says:

            You realize that you should look up the meaning of words you don’t know before claiming that they mean something else.

            re·nege
            Verb: Go back on a promise, undertaking, or contract.

            re·ne·go·ti·ate
            Verb: Negotiate (something) again in order to change the original agreed terms.

            • Liam Kinkaid says:

              Okay, my bad. I seriously thought that renege meant renegotiate. Oh well, I guess we learn something new every day.

          • Big Mama Pain says:

            Wow, awesome job at pulling something out of your ass!! : ) No seriously, though, I thought the same thing, so I actually looked it up to see if it was a shortened version of the word. Nope, totally different things.

      • AnthonyC says:

        Unless their is already a lease signed by a new tenant on their old place.

        Granted, it would still be hard to forcibly evict them, but that just pushes the problem onto someone else.

  2. rpm773 says:

    Nature abhors a vacuum. As foreclosed houses, the foam left on on the beach after the ebb tides of the housing bubble recede, sit empty across the nation, cockroaches are bound to move in.

    Now that’s a lot of goddamned metaphors!

  3. Zernhelt says:

    The lesson? Don’t give notice on your old place before your new place is a sure thing.

    • semanticantics says:

      The real lessons is hippies ruin everything.

    • Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

      Most people would consider a contract with the owner of the house (the bank) to purchase the house would be a “sure thing.” That, and most people cannot afford a mortgage payment and a rent payment that would result from not giving notice until after closing.

      • grapedog says:

        Are we trusting the banks now?

        • theycallmeGinger says:

          Have you ever gone through the complicated hell that’s involved with purchasing a house? If you haven’t, or if you’re independently wealthy enough to waive the need for a mortgage, then I suppose it’s very easy for you to say that. You have to trust the banks, just like they’re trusting you with a humongous loan. It goes both ways. On that note, you also have to trust the realtors, the lawyers, the inspectors and the seller. There’s a lot of holding your breath and double-checking that goes on during the process and it’s not possible for a buyer to be an expert in all areas.

    • heismanpat says:

      Have you actually been through the process of buying a house? More specifically, have you been through the process of buying a house and moving out of an apartment? I seriously doubt that you have. If you are moving out of an apartment/rental, you generally have to give advanced notice or you will be stuck paying for an extra month’s rent. Even though my lease was set to expire around the time of my closing, I still had to give 30 days notice that I was not renewing the lease. As it was, I closed on February 21st and my lease ran out at the end of February. In other words, I gave notice to my apartment well in advance of my closing date. That’s what most people do, including this couple.

      The remote possibility of squatters holding my house hostage was not worth throwing $1,000 away on an extra month’s rent for an apartment that I wouldn’t be using. If you have paid earnest money, signed an agreement to buy the house and have a closing date scheduled, the chances of something going wrong are relatively small. Small enough that it would be worth not wasting extra money on rent that you probably won’t use.

    • heismanpat says:

      Have you actually been through the process of buying a house? More specifically, have you been through the process of buying a house and moving out of an apartment? I seriously doubt that you have. If you are moving out of an apartment/rental, you generally have to give advanced notice or you will be stuck paying for an extra month’s rent. Even though my lease was set to expire around the time of my closing, I still had to give 30 days notice that I was not renewing the lease. As it was, I closed on February 21st and my lease ran out at the end of February. In other words, I gave notice to my apartment well in advance of my closing date. That’s what most people do, including this couple.

      The remote possibility of squatters holding my house hostage was not worth throwing $1,000 away on an extra month’s rent for an apartment that I wouldn’t be using. If you have paid earnest money, signed an agreement to buy the house and have a closing date scheduled, the chances of something going wrong are relatively small. Small enough that it would be worth not wasting extra money on rent that you probably won’t use.

    • shepd says:

      You must give 60 days notice where I am to move out (It can actually be 62 if you give notice at the end of May or November), and your notice must be at last day of the month (You can hand it in earlier, if you like, of course, but the termination date remains the same).

      Closing on a house is typically done here 1 day before move in/move out. It can be done sooner, but you will be hard pressed to find a lawyer/real estate agent/whoever else to make it happen (you can, but it will cost $$$ and probably take longer to find them than your notice).

      If your house closing is on the worst possible day, the 1st of July or December (which you have about a 1 in 30 chance of it happening on), then you could end up having to pay for the apartment and for your new place for 3 months (2 where I am since you already paid LMR up front when renting). And, in most rental contracts, and in virtually all insurance, it is required that you spend a certain amount of time in the place to keep it valid. That could mean you have to travel to the other place every couple of days to “check up” on it. Getting the neighbours to do it may not count in some cases.

      So, imagine, would you, the expense of moving cities, added to the expense of renting for a couple of extra months, plus twice weekly return flights for checkups. You could be looking at $20k or more in extra expenses!

      The idea is just simply impractical. Although, in my case, since I was moving within the same city, I actually did get 2 months of overlap because in my case the only expense was moving slowly by myself and 1 month of rent. But my case is an exception, for sure!

    • tbax929 says:

      That’s what you got from this story? If you ever purchased a home and moved from a rental you would know that you almost always have to give notice on your old apartment prior to closing. Most people move relatively quickly after their closing.

      Hell, I just sent my notice to my current apartment complex effetive 12/31, and I don’t close until the 7th of December. The reason? I have to give at least 30 days notice to break the lease, and I’d rather send it too early than too late.

      The chances of what happened in this article are remote. The chances of getting stuck paying for two places at one time are much higher.

    • MeOhMy says:

      Except your new house isn’t a sure thing until you are walking away from the settlement table with a signed note and the keys. At which point you missed your window to notify your landlord by 30-90 days.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      Actually, the lesson is to elect representatives that will pass laws that will get rid of squatters. I’m assuming in Washington the law is on their side.

  4. minjche says:

    I’m not familiar with home buying procedures, so honest questions:

    Wouldn’t this be as simple as kicking out the squatters? Can the police be brought in to assist?

    • rugman11 says:

      Most of the time, in situations with squatters, the police will say that it is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. And if the squatters are claiming ownership (no matter how legitimate), that is a matter for the courts to decide and not the cops. It sucks, but that’s the way it is.

    • JohnnyP says:

      The bank would need to prove ownership to disprove the squaters claim. Until they have proof you end up with this…
      http://consumerist.com/2010/11/wells-fargo-repossesses-fully-paid-off-car.html

    • edman007 says:

      Depends on the state, some states have laws that if you don’t kick the squatters out within so many days they get a legal claim to it (based on the fact that you didn’t kick them out when they first got there). It is along the same lines with renters, if they do the paperwork right some people can legally get almost 6 months in a place without ever paying a dime and the land lord can’t do anything, that is just how much notice the land lord is required to give after finding out they are not paying.

    • Mom says:

      The owner has to evict them, just like any other non-paying tenant. And if they manage to get back in, the owner will have to evict them again.

      I had a friend who owned rental property. He evicted these people. The next week, they broke in and moved back in. He evicted them again. Then he moved into the place and lived there, just him and his trusty shotgun, for a couple of months until he had the place fixed up and rented again. The whole process took months.

      • mythago says:

        No, they’re not “non-paying tenants”. They never had a tenancy agreement with the homeowners. They’re not claiming to be tenants.

    • falnfenix says:

      there are usually squatter’s rights to consider, and it generally involves court involvement to get them removed.

    • minjche says:

      Wow, thanks for all the replies. The whole situation just seems silly to me. It seems like some law about tresspassing would trump squatter’s rights.

    • loueloui says:

      Nah, about a dozen close friends and a few baseball bats would handle this quite well. they would get a shellacking for sure.

  5. SkokieGuy says:

    This seems crazy. The bank has a valid deed, why haven’t the police been called to arrest the squatters no different than any criminal that breaks into a home?

    Creating a phony check gets your arrested, I don’t see how creating a fake deed somehow creates rights for them to remain in the broken-into home while the bank ‘straightens out the issues”.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      You have to evict those squatters. As in go through the entire. damn. process.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        They are squatters, NOT tenants, and as such, have no rights as tenants. They should be arrested for breaking and entering.

      • SkokieGuy says:

        Do we evict buglers? What is the difference, other than these people aren’t rushing out as quickly?

    • chiaspod says:

      A phony check is immediately falsifiable; from the article, they had a deed registered in Snohomish County which by all appearances is a valid deed. Since this is a matter of proving which deed is valid, it’s not a criminal matter – it’s a civil matter. And since the querent in this case is a bank – not known for speedy responses – there’s no immediately actionable issues. The police aren’t – and shouldn’t – get involved in a civil matter.

      • DoctorMD says:

        A phony deed is just as “falsifiable”? as a check and its a government document. One party (the one with the false deed) is guilty of criminal matters including counterfeiting a gov’t document, fraud and grand theft.

  6. aloria says:

    Seems to be that crazy ass metaphor would parse less awkwardly as:

    As foreclosed houses– the foam left on on the beach after the ebb tides of the housing bubble– recede, sit empty across the nation, cockroaches are bound to move in.

    …But I am no grammar expert.

    • Bativac says:

      I don’t think that’s any less awkward.

      Maybe something like “As the number of empty houses of questionable ownership continues to rise, so will the occurence of squatters claiming ownership of those houses.”

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      Yeah, yours doesn’t work either. Take out the bit between the hyphens. “As foreclosed houses recede…”

      That doesn’t make sense. If you move the “recede” into the hyphenated portion of the sentence, I believe it makes sense.

      Should read as: “As foreclosed houses– the foam left on the beach after the ebb tides of the housing bubble recede — sit empty across the nation, cockroaches are bound to move in.”

  7. grapedog says:

    Good for the squatters! Sucks for the people trying to buy the house though.

    One good way to find out which houses the banks really have the legal paperwork for, is to start squatting on those houses. Average Joe’s helping these banks resolve their paperwork problems, one house as a time!

    • El Matarife says:

      Good for the squatters? You can’t be serious. This sounds like the hipster douche bags who live in 2500 a month apartments paid for by their parents while they “Fight the Man” by all dressing alike to prove how counter culture they are.

      • grapedog says:

        What, do you live in Brooklyn near the Nassau exit off the G or something? My best friend lives at the Greenpoint exit and he said hipsters have been encroaching slowly, but surely.

        It’s more like making these banks become honest, since they refuse to do it on their own, and the government doesn’t seem to care one way or another. It’s pro-business, anti-consumer, a fact that should become more and more clear to people as the days continue to press onward.

        • JasonR says:

          Acting dishonestly forces someone else to act honestly?

          Are you certain you’re properly medicated?

          • grapedog says:

            how is it dishonest, it’s very possible that the bank can’t provide documentation that they own the property either. banks right now are in “possession” of a lot of properties they don’t actually own. who is the bigger thief/liar here?

            i don’t think it’s a stretch to stop automatically assuming these companies can actually run their business in a fair and honest way.

            • El Matarife says:

              How is it dishonest? Did the squatters purchase the house or not? The answer is no. Therefore, saying that they own the house is dishonest.

            • dolemite says:

              Ok…say the bank can’t provide paperwork…can the squatters provide a REAL deed? No? Then they need to gtfo of the house.

            • minjche says:

              It’s not a great idea to “automatically assume” a lot of things, much the same way you’ve been automatically assuming that all banks are corrupt in every comment you’ve posted on this article.

            • njack says:

              It’s dishonest because the squatters do not have a legal claim to the property. You can assume all you want that the bank may have messed up some paperwork and you may even be right, but that in no way gives the squatters the right to live there rent free or claim ownership.

        • mythago says:

          So – the way for banks to become honest is to rip off innocent people? Do you think you’re Robin Hood or what?

      • MrEvil says:

        Don’t get me started on those Hipsters. Austin is full of them and they just make rent more expensive for the rest of us hard working folk.

        • Sarahnoid says:

          Hipsters are everywhere, but I doubt this squatting issue is that prevalent in Texas. (I’m in Houston.) I’d imagine the gun-ownership stats are too high here for people to try to get away with such things. (At least, I hope. I know I’d certainly brandish mine in this situation.)

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Why are you siding with the squatters?

      They’re trying to live for free in a property they don’t own. The people legitimately purchased that home and these squatters have basically taken that away from them by trying to claim it as their own – it’s not theirs. They can’t claim it. It’s going to take a long time for the county to investigate, even though they know these squatters have no right to be there. They have to do their job and run through the process and bring about the evidence that they have no right to be there. How anyone can side with the squatters is beyond me.

      • grapedog says:

        When you say they legitimately purchased the home, you assume that the bank can prove that they have the deed to that home and that they are allowed to be legally selling it.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          The county record shows that the bank owns the home. The listing agent has paperwork that shows the bank owns the home. There was no one living in it – it was in foreclosure. This couple went through the process with the bank to buy the home from the bank and squatters are now claiming it’s theirs because someone got a little happy with their notary stamp.

        • mythago says:

          And the squatters therefore have the right to be there – why? THEY DON’T OWN THE HOME EITHER.

    • minjche says:

      I don’t see how the squatters are helping anyone. In your various comments in this thread you seem to have a tiff against the bank, when in the article there’s no indication for or against the notion that the bank came to own the house by improper means.

      Just because some (or even “a lot of”) banks have been shady with mortgages doesn’t mean 100% are bad.

      The victim here is not a dishonest bank, the victim is the OP who is getting stuck with a raw deal.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        All banks are terrible. They’re currently paying ~1% on savings interest, but are lending your money at 10, 20, or even 30%.

        So, yes, 100% of banks are equally scummy. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re doing anything illegal, but you don’t have to be a criminal to be a dick.

    • Difdi says:

      Well, it’s a novel theory. Makes me wonder how dedicated the squatters are to the idea that if a human isn’t holding it in their hands, it’s unowned.

      What would be the squatter’s reaction to coming home to find someone eating their food in their squat, taking their clothes or blankets, etc?

  8. Alvis says:

    So wait till they leave, break in, and change the locks yourself.

    • rugman11 says:

      That’s what I would do, assuming they leave. Something tells me these aren’t exactly the 9-5 types.

      • Burzmali says:

        This, and they may not be as uncomfortable with harassing the rightful owners as you or I would be. They believe they have some sort of rights to do what they’re doing. If the owners get the squatters out of the house without the real threat of arrest and prison time, the squatters may start stalking, threatening, or otherwise harassing the owners. When that starts happening, things can escalate until violence starts to look reasonable.

  9. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    Part of being a renter is being able to do the ‘renter scramble’. And yes, that sucks.

    Was the deed the squatters posted written in crayon? Or did they use clipart and print it down at the kinkos? Seriously, how do they fake deeds stand up?

  10. gitmo234 says:

    Am I the only person left whose closing took all of 20 minutes and the entire process, from loan application to offer acceptance took no time at all?

    • catskyfire says:

      Mine took 25 minutes, but I had some extra paperwork…

    • human_shield says:

      That’s impossible. You can barely sign all the documents in 20 minutes, even if you just sign them without reading.

    • apd09 says:

      mine took maybe 30 minutes, but I wish it had taken 32 minutes and I had remembered to ask for the info on my home warranty. I never got that paperwork during closing, had my heat pump die, then found out I never had a warranty because the agent never mailed it in, and ended up spending 7 months trying to get the money for the warranty payment back after I paid 6000 for a new heating system and finally filed paperwork in small claims and settled out of court for 1800. If I had spent another 2 minutes in there I would have never had the problem.

      But yeah, most closings should be painless and quick.

    • chefboyardee says:

      Our closing when we bought took about 45 minutes; when we sold it took maybe 20.

    • tbax929 says:

      Mine is scheduled for an hour, but I’ve been advised by my builder that it probably won’t take more than a half-hour.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Mine took about two or three hours. There was a lot of paperwork with tiny font and legalese to read over.

    • duxup says:

      About an hour for me but I got their early to go over paperwork. Had I just sat and signed it would have been 10 min, 20 at most.

  11. zatoism says:

    You guys should’ve really included some background on these squatters and why they did what they did. It’s a fascinating story.

  12. red92s says:

    This sounds like the old episode of The Simpsons where the Carnie-folk kick the family out of the house somehow. Details escape me, but I think the solution involved challenging the carnies to some sort of rigged carnival gimmick game in the front yard, then running inside and locking the door when they couldn’t resist coming out to play. So maybe the buyers in question should just do that?

    • Azzizzi says:

      Yeah, Homer bet Jim Varney he could throw a hulahoop around the chimney in one try. If he failed, he would concede defeat.

  13. GraphicsGeek says:

    I would have closed on the house then busted in and shot them for trespassing on private property. That’ll take care of the squatters real quick.

  14. human_shield says:

    There has to be more to this story. I read the article and it looks like they just made up their own deed, had it notarized by someone, and started living there. Why are the police helpless to arrest them on the spot? If I print out a car title I can go steal any car I want and the police can’t arrest me?

    • Dr. Eirik says:

      I think the problem is that once there is a dispute in ownership, it ceases to be the police’s job to kick out the tenants. Even if the claim is dubious, it’s not up to a beat cop to decide what’s going on. Sadly, you have to go to court and get an order of eviction, then the police can be called in to haul them out.

      I do wonder what would happen if the new owners got the deed from the bank, then waited until the place was unoccupied, rushed in, changed the locks and posted their own deed. Would the trespassers try to have them arrested or would they move on to another house?

      • George4478 says:

        Huh. So if my fraud (fake legal documents) is convincing enough, it stops being criminal and becomes civil? Then I leave when the eviction occurs, move onto another house and commit fraud against someone else. Lather, rinse, repeat.

        It’s like a hippie time-share…

        • sirwired says:

          No, forging legal documents is quite illegal, but they have to be proven illegal in court before the prosecution is going to start.

    • Good Cop Baby Cop says:

      You can if you’re Wells Fargo.

    • njack says:

      What I find interesting is I just went through a refinance on my house. The loan has been solely in my name from day 1, but several years ago I put my wife (at the time) on the deed. Upon our divorce she signed a Quit Claim Deed, had it notarized, but it was never filed. I maintained the original Quit Claim Deed and provided it to the title insurance company prior to closing. Everything was filled out properly but because it was nearly 7 years old they wouldn’t accept it so I had to have her sign a new one exactly the same as the one I already had.

      I know it’s not the same thing, but if they wouldn’t accept what my attorney states was a completely legit Quit Claim Deed, then how can what is obviously a squatter with a fake deed be considered a blocking point. I guess anything that may call into question ownership makes it the title insurance companies nervous.

  15. HalOfBorg says:

    “Sqautters” seems to settle it for me. Throw them the hell out.

  16. JayPhat says:

    I read this yesterday and wondered when it was gonna make it here. Personnally, i think a few friends would be more than happy to remove these individuals from their house.

  17. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    BTW, Couldn’t this law could be used to fine some poor restaurants that give children crayons and paper placemats to draw on while waiting for their dinner? Are they not “TOYS”?

  18. RickinStHelen says:

    Ira Glass focused on this on an episode of This American Life. Pretty much anyone can file paperwork on a home, and it is up to you to prove they are wrong. The court clerks don’t investigate whether a claim is valid, they just process it. The Free Land folks are crazy, but they can clog a court and work the system. In the meantime, you are out money, time, and happiness.

  19. JamesBE says:

    “The machine that I’m fighting is the bankers. I’m just one of the little guys who’s fighting that.”

    Pss ff lz sshl. Y’r fghtng ppl wh hd th mn t b th hs nd cntrbt t sct.

  20. Macgyver says:

    The bank has the deed, not these squatters. They’re the ones trespassing, and breaking and entering. And putting up a fake deed. That’s forgery. They should be locked up for that.

  21. u1itn0w2day says:

    This is another example of why there needs to be a better system of tracking of property ownership. It doesn’t have to be at the federal level but it should be at least at the county if not state level.

    • MrEvil says:

      There is, it’s called the abstract. You can go to the county department of records and find the abstract on any property that will tell you the history of ownership right up to the initial survey. My dad has the paper abstract for our farm (it was digitized by the county) Showing who has owned that land all the way up to the point when it was first carved out by the railroad in the late 1800’s. Of course our place has been in my family since 1935, so the history sorta stops with us.

      Maybe Texas just spoils landowners with records that are reasonably maintained.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        I guess there should be a time frame to update the records in a more speedy fashion. Alot of towns and counties take their good old time in processing the paperwork in which we found out during the boom.

        I even heard stories from the boom where flippers lost sales because they were the 3rd buyer with in a month and the gov’t records didn’t even have the first sale recorded yet. The robo signing wasn’t the first transactions to outpace the record keeping.

  22. HighontheHill says:

    This has nothing to do with the tendency for nature to seek a state of equilibrium; this has to do with someone trying to take something that doesn’t belong to them. Period. This is theft and the house should be cleared by whatever means necessary, so it can be sold.

  23. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    “The folks … posted a deed on the window where they claimed to own the property.”

    Everyone has their deed in the window, right? LOOKS LEGIT.

  24. ElizabethD says:

    Wow, Randy Quaid and his wife are really getting around.

  25. Poisson Process says:

    This website is filled with story after story about people with money and power abusing those without. Here we have a couple squatters trying to cause problems for the real criminals, and you call them cockroaches.

  26. JHerrick79 says:

    While this is a horrible situation, and the squatters need to be removed from the property, I think you went too far with this statement:
    “As foreclosed houses, the foam left on on the beach after the ebb tides of the housing bubble recede, sit empty across the nation, cockroaches are bound to move in.”

    The squatters are human beings, perhaps desperate, perhaps horribly mistaken in their understanding of property law, but human beings nonetheless who do not deserve to be called cockroaches.

    In Philadelphia, I’ve noticed an abundance of abandoned homes, as well as an abundance of homeless people seeking winter shelter. It strikes me as a solution waiting to happen if someone creative could just convert them into shelters or something else like that.

    I know in the OP’s story the home was not abandoned, but sold to very real buyers, and it’s really horrible and unjust that those buyers got screwed.

    All I’m trying to say is that homelessness is a really complex issue, and we need creative people working on solutions, but comparing them to cockroaches isn’t helping.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      Homeless people seeking shelter don’t usually go file notarized documents to obtain deeds to the property. There is a difference between desperate squatters looking to get out of the cold/rain/etc and the people described in the article who are laying claim to vacant properties all around the area. It isn’t stated explicitly, but my impression is that the people actually occupying this particular property have rented it from the thieving cockroaches (who have no right to the property), so they may actually be innocent.

    • coren says:

      If they were homeless, just trying to get out of the elements, they wouldn’t have a notarized fake deed to prove ownership, they’d just squat. These people are maliciously doing this, and as seen by their quotes, are trying to “stick it to the “man”” (man is double quoted because the people they’re screwing are the regular joes who’s side these squatters should be on)

  27. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I’d walk away. I wouldnt want to buy a lawsuit and i would worry these people would break in again.

  28. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I’d walk away. I wouldnt want to buy a lawsuit and i would worry these people would break in again.

  29. AI says:

    Any castle laws in Washington? Just go inside the house and shoot them for being inside your home. Do it at night.

  30. bhr says:

    When I was in the mortgage business I twice ran into an issue with squatters. One was on a property that my customer was buying from a previous owner. He had followed the rules on notifying the family renting the home that he was selling AFTER their lease was up. The new purchasers actually made arrangements with the family that they would be able to stay 30 days after closing (giving them time to file notice with their own apartment). The renters failed for make a rent payment for those 30 days, then refused to leave. They claimed they had, per rental agreement, a right of first refusal to purchase (they didnt, and even if they did they never said anything before close).

    It took nearly 4 months to get them out. I ate most of my fee cause I felt bad for the purchaser, as did the purchasing agent. ACORN got involved and the case eventually went to the civil courts. When it was all said and done my customer did have a civil judgment filed against the squatters for both 4 months of rent and some damages done, but last I heard they never were paid.

    And before the class warfare stuff starts the property was under $200k.

    The second case was a foreclosed house and a similar story to the OP. Again Acorn advocated for squatters rights. Its why I hated them regardless of the stupid pimp/ho story.

  31. MrEvil says:

    The Squatters are lucky it’s not Texas. You can still use deadly force to remove trespassers in Texas.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are still Squatters’ rights laws in several states. But there’s a whole host of criteria that have to be met before a Squatter can make a legitimate claim. Things like a long period of uninterrupted habitation and improvements made to the property. Asking a squatter to leave resets the clock on their period of habitation.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Who would remove the trespassers, the bank? The would-be purchasers never closed on it, so it’s still property of the bank.

      • njack says:

        I would say the realtor representing the bank in the sale if there is one or the realtor representing the buyer at least. Surely they didn’t buy the house sight unseen and could obviously see someone was living/squatting in it. Even after agreeing to the contract with the bank, they likely had a property inspection, drove by to look at the house they were buying, or had some other interaction where they should have noticed someone was residing in the house. Someone should have notified the bank, they typically have policies in place to get rid of squatters.

  32. majortom1981 says:

    How do you stop this from heppening to your own home while you are at work?

    • minjche says:
    • majortom1981 says:

      I am being serious

    • GearheadGeek says:

      No one could claim your house was vacant while you’re at work or even on vacation. They would be guilty of trespass, and breaking and entering if you had locked your house when you left. They wouldn’t even have tenuous, ridiculous “squatter’s rights” claims to your property. However, if you leave your guns at home, you might have to rely on law enforcement to clean them out of hour house.

      The likelihood that my Bull Terrier would tolerate them moving in while we were out of the house is very, very small though, so I’m not worried for myself. ;)

      • MeOhMy says:

        Wouldn’t they? Especially considering the people perpetrating this scam are not exactly law-abiding. If they are willing to break the realtor’s lockbox they’d be just as willing to break the locks on your front door and move in, posting a fake notorized deed on the window. After all if they want to stick it to the man, anyone with a mortgage originated in the last 10 years or so is probably in the same boat as far as the bank’s ability actually prove their ownership of the property.

        A similar scam happened in Philly – fake deeds were generated which were then used to sell the property leaving both the true owners, the buyers and the lenders in a complete craphole.
        http://www.examiner.com/legal-news-in-philadelphia/former-philadelphia-city-employee-charged-with-fraud

  33. SilentAgenger says:

    How is this not criminal?? They CUT THE LOCKS! They’ve also been ARRESTED before for trespassing (while doing the same thing they’re doing now). The bank produced a real and legit deed, proving (A) bank owns the property and (B) the squatters deed is fake. These people are clearly taking something that does not belong to them…and in the process thumbing their nose at the law and all things honest. Ass, meet boot. Case closed.

  34. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    So could someone come into your house while you are gone with a fake deed and do this, then you’d be SOL as a home owner? How ridiculous can this get. These people broke into a house and falsified a legal document.

  35. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    “The machine that I’m fighting is the bankers. I’m just one of the little guys who’s fighting that.”

    Along with fighting against getting a job, right? Douche bag.

    And how is this not breaking and entering/trespassing/theft? Call the f**king cops and drag their sorry asses out of there? WTF?

  36. EverCynicalTHX says:

    Strangely, a short while back – hipsters here on consumerists were cheering these squatters on..

  37. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Idea for a new business: ‘Dog Squatters’. Here’s how it works: when you’re close to closing on a house, ‘Dog Squatters’ will rent you a watch dog to stay in the house to make sure you don’t become a victim of squatter douche baggery. One ‘Dog Squatters’ agent will visit the home 3 times a day to take the dog out for bathroom breaks and exercise. A second agent will sit inside with a loaded .357 magnum while the dog is out and…

    Actually, maybe the company could just send out guys armed with .357 magnums to watch your house. Then they wouldn’t need to go outside for bathroom breaks and exercise.

    Let me rethink this a bit…

  38. JiminyChristmas says:

    From the article, a poignant comment from one of the would-be homebuyers:

    “He’s ruined it,” Botts said. “He’s taken it away from us. We can’t have this house anymore, because he’s trying to make a buck off of something he doesn’t own.”

    Hmm, trying to make a buck off of something he doesn’t own…how many other ‘legit’ financial transactions does this remind you of? Banks foreclosing on houses they haven’t established legal rights to? Naked short selling of stocks? I’m sure Wall Street has 100 other ways to make a buck off of things that belong to other people.

  39. stevenpdx says:

    Are the squatters Randy and Evi Quaid?

  40. coren says:

    I sympathize with people who are homeless and have no other options. Let me say that first – some people are in terrible situations and I hope they find solutions.

    That said, how in the fuck is illegally entering someone else’s property, forging documentation and refusing to leave not only semi-legal, but right-granting? Tresspass, breaking and entering, forgery…it seems like they should be carted off to jail, not given rights that force an eviction process.

    • Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

      It kind of reminds me (albeit to a much lesser degree) of homeless people who load their crap into shopping carts and push them around. Store owners who purchased the carts are not allowed to touch the crap inside them because… (wait for it) touching the homeless person’s property would be a violation of their rights.

      I think I’ll go find a convertible Mercedes with the top down that belongs to a Supreme Court Justice and dump a bunch of my stuff in it. According to this BS law, the Mercedes would technically belong to me since my stuff is in it. Don’t we have a great legal system?

  41. Murbob says:

    It is their own fault for being stupid and jumping ship before they made sure the other ship floats.
    That is what a pre-closing inspection is for. All purchase agreements should have a pre-closing inspection clause inserted. Before you sign the final documents, you go to the home a few hours before and inspect it to make sure everything is as it is supposed to be. If not, you don’t sign the closing documents and you have the option of backing out of the deal.
    Things go wrong all the time.. One popular glitch is a sump-pump goes bad and the basement floods.. Preclosing inspection lets the buyers back out.
    Vandalism can happen.. all kinds of stuff.

    If the buyers jumped out of their boat to early, that’s their own fault for being stupid.

  42. Good Cop Baby Cop says:

    These two are professional squatters:

    http://mukilteo.komonews.com/content/alleged-squatter-old-tricks
    http://www.seattlepi.com/sound/425464_sound101195049.html

    “Notices signed by McClung and posted August 17 were found on two Market neighborhood homes and one house in Bellevue. The notices state that residents must be out within three days – an apparent attempt to stake claim to the homes.”

  43. duxup says:

    Based on the story it sounds like these squatters are “fighting” the bankers over a number of properties they’ve falsely claimed are their own . . . . for their own benefit.

  44. Rocket80 says:

    Tell them to get off your property or you will kill them. Then follow through and claim it was self-defense.

  45. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    One irrational knee-jerk side of me would want to kick the door in and kill them all. “They invaded my home.” Of course they could kill me and claim the same.

    The logical side may just ask to buy the house from them, since they have a deed. Get them into felony territory. “We were going to pay the bank, but we will just pay you instead, since you’re the rightful owners.”

  46. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    This really makes me angry. Since when does chopping off a lock, changing the lock, and just moving into a home make it yours? Imagine if everyone acted this way? Hey, that old lady’s house up the road is much nicer than mine, and gee…she’s visiting her kids in Florida. Shazam! New house for me, and it’s up to her to prove I don’t own it. WHAT???

  47. wackydan says:

    Nothing that a gun wouldn’t resolve.

  48. Puddy Tat says:

    How about going into your property ARMED and telling said squaters you have 10-seconds to leave my home?

  49. Ratran says:

    I live across from a house the has been empty for 3 years now. It is still in good condition. The bank who owns it, is across the country and has made no move to sell it or auction it off. Believe me, I have been thinking of cooking up some kind of scheme to get that property for super cheap or free.

    But, I would never just move in there to squat with a phony deed.

  50. gman863 says:

    If this happened in Texas, it’s possible the rightful owners could use the “Castle Doctrine” law.

    Simply stated, it gives a homeowner the right to use deadly force on anyone who is posing a threat to their life or property. (The key is the phrase “or property”. Unlike most other states, you do not have to be in fear of your life to pull the trigger)

    If you’re planning on redoing the paint and carpet anyway, your only additional expense would be some spackling paste for the bullet holes.

  51. Not Given says:

    Ok, this site is messed up, I clicked reply on a different article

  52. TampaShooters says:

    Um, call the police, and have the squatters arrested for grand theft and breaking and entering. Simple. Or, take matters into your own hands and kick their ass out.

  53. TampaShooters says:

    I am going to McDonalds tonight, I am going to cut the locks and declare ownership overnight… Free breakfast anyone? YAY

  54. y2julio says:

    I abhor squaters. Useless scum.