Last summer, a home in the Palmer Woods section of Detroit became vacant when the homeowner walked away on the mortgage. Not long after, a moving van pulled up and a new neighbor moved himself in. Thing is, he wasn’t the new owner — and there wasn’t much the neighbors could do about getting him out.
The squatter says he filed paperwork claiming the property under the much-misunderstood (and almost never successful) adverse possession laws, which allow people to assume ownership of an abandoned property if they live there long enough, pay taxes and provide upkeep — and if no one legally buys it.
But the bank that had foreclosed on the home couldn’t sell the property yet because the homeowner had a six-month period to reclaim the home.
So the neighbors took matters into their own hands.
First they got the utility company to cut off gas and electric service to the house. When that didn’t work, the neighborhood’s inner 12-year-old began to show.
One neighbor spent an entire day placing large rocks in the property’s driveway. Another thought that putting glue in the locks would do the trick.
“We have no way to know what the person is doing in the house,” one neighbor tells the Detroit News. “We are trying to protect the assets in the neighborhood. People really do care about the neighborhood and will be proactive.”
The broker who is now showing the home says he even offered the squatter $4,000 to leave the property.
He should have taken the money and split, because now he’s facing charges of filing false ownership paperwork on this property and two others.
Neighbors find Detroit squatter tough to dislodge [Detroit News]