Woman Hires Family To Liven Up For-Sale Home, Now She Can’t Enter Her Own Property

With so many abandoned and vacant homes on the market, some sellers are hiring companies to place families in their properties in the hopes that doing so will make the house feel less empty and more appealing to buyers. But one woman in Texas says she’s been bitten on the butt by her decision to use a so-called “staging” family.

The homeowner decided to move out of her Dallas-area home before it sold, but says it was her real estate agent who suggested bringing in the temporary family.

“It actually sounded like a fantastic idea,” she told Dallas’ CBS 11 News.

But then she found out the new tenants had brought a dog with them… and parked a truck on the yard… and put a 10-foot tall crucifix on the lawn, which violates HOA rules.

The homeowner contacted the company that had placed the family there and began the process of evicting the tenants, which now included additional family members beyond the two brothers that were supposed to be there.

Unfortunately, while those brothers have moved out, their father has not. And he says he’s not leaving until all appeals have been exhausted.

Police tells CBS 11 that the man is allowed to stay on the property until the courts say he can’t.

But that means that the homeowner — even though she’s continuing to pay the mortgage, insurance and HOA fees — “can’t go onto my [own] property. There’s nothing I can do to that property to really reclaim it or save it from these people who have really taken it hostage.”

And it’s not just the homeowner who is persona non grata in her house. A real estate agent recently tried to show the house to an interested buyer but was told the house was occupied.

She says she’s no longer comfortable having agents show the house, and even brought a police escort with her when she went to get her For Sale sign back from the front lawn.

The company that placed the brothers in the house says it pre-screens all tenants.

“With regard to whether we put the wrong people into the house, the people who are on the lease I don’t think are bad people,” a company rep tells CBS 11. “I think people outside of the tenants we put in that property are the ones causing the problems.”

Legal Dilemma: Man’s Castle Or Woman’s Home? [CBS News 11]

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  1. MutantMonkey says:

    O_o WTF?

    • Costner says:

      That pretty much sums it up. The fact that a homeowner can’t gain access to her own home even though the men on the lease are no longer there suggests our legal system is beyond broken.

      I can’t see why the police couldn’t go in and toss this guy out on his ass. This entire scenario is flipping insane.

      • longfeltwant says:

        The police can go in and toss this guy out on his ass… just as soon as a court says to do so. You don’t want the police to go around throwing people out of homes any time some other person says to do so, do you? What, just because some woman claims to be the homeowner, the police should do what she says? No, the police do what the courts say to do, in order to protect tenants in the case of unreasonable landlords. These are real disputes, decided by judges, not the police — for good reason.

        • elangomatt says:

          I doubt that Costner was trying to say the police should take the woman’s word for it. Costner said that our legal system is broken since it will probably take many months to get through the courts and get this squatter tossed out onto his ass.

          • Kate says:

            I’m not sure the police are legally correct there, but you are stuck with what they will do and in times of no budgets, they are overwhelmed and have no incentive to do anything that they can put off.

        • Velvet Jones says:

          What dispute? These people are squatters. They were not on the lease, so they have no legal right to be there. Unless this was a VERY poorly worded lease, leases usually explicitly only allow lease holders to be considered residences. Inviting others to live with you usually violates your lease.

          • BluePlastic says:

            I would be very curious to know what is in this lease agreement. It must be slanted against the homeowner/seller if she’s not allowed to enter the property or even have potential buyers view the property. There’s no point in a seller taking on this kind of arrangement if she’s not allowed to try to sell the house unless the lessee allows it.

            • ChuckECheese says:

              Nobody is barred from entering. From the news story, the owner is out of state, and the real-estate agent doesn’t want to show a house with crosses in the front yard and an pit bull roaming around.

        • Costner says:

          I don’t feel we should need the courts to review lease agreements just to get someone tossed out. If the current “resident” (aka squatter) cannot provide documentation proving he has a legal right to be there – while the owner has a deed and mortgage docs proving ownership… the police should be able to toss him out and arrest him for trespassing.

          If we require the courts to handle these types of cases, someone could simply break into your home – change the locks, and when you get home from work they can simply tell you… “too bad you will have to go to court to get me out”. Does that seem even remotely acceptable to you?

          Why should it matter that she isn’t living there? The justification and logic to evict someone should not depend upon whether the property owner in onsite. Plus, in areas where the courts are backlogged, this could take months before they even get their initial court date. How is that even close to justice?

          • poco says:

            Agreed. This is a matter of paperwork. There is no lease with the squatters’ name on it and the owner holds the property deed. Case closed.

          • ChuckECheese says:

            Having recently come very close to needing to take a dishonest landlord to court, I disagree with you completely. They have much more power than a tenant does typically – more money and a place to live. A tenant might end up with nothing. I agree that these people do not deserve to live in this house, but I’m very glad we still have the rule of law and judges to decide these cases.

          • Doubting thomas says:

            I have to disagree. The police should not be making that decision. It sucks in this case, but the laws were designed to protect all of us and are not perfect. No matter what papers get shoved in a cops face it is not his/her place to decide the legality of someone’s residence. That decision rightfully belongs to the courts.
            These laws were designed to protect innocent tenants from unscrupulous landlords.

  2. qwickone says:

    Wtf? I know I should be used to it by now, but the extent to which people will disregard other people continues to astound me. It’s not your house and no one involved wronged you in any way. Why are you f-ing up this lady’s life??

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Because people suck.

      • frank64 says:

        Well it is his LEGAL right, that makes it OK, doesn’t it?

        That is how many people feel about many things, corps and people. It goes to your point about people sucking. I wonder where we lost the respect for others thing.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          Legal != ethical

          Something may be perfectly legal, yet be inethical. Something may be illegal, yet be perfectly ethical.

          The law doesn’t provide any assurance of virtue.

  3. Abradax says:

    I don’t know why, but this made me laugh.

    Staging a room, I can see.
    Staging a family? Are you frickin stupid?

    • Ben says:

      I was wondering how we were going to blame the OP for this!

      • chefboyardee says:

        It’s pretty easy when the OP is doing something ridiculous.

        • Sarahlara says:

          Houses sell better when occupied. Usually….

          • Sudonum says:

            No they don’t. I’m a builder and the wife is a real estate broker. Any agent worth their salt is going to tell you NOT to rent a home that you are trying to sell as it makes showing the home much more difficult. Not to mention dealing with the tenants clutter and mess, and in many cases, odors. A basic question I’ve been asked previously when thinking about renting a home I’m trying to sell is this “Do you want to rent it or do you want to sell it? You can’t do both.” A vacant home also means that it is “move in” ready.

            • who? says:

              Staged with furniture and decorations? Yeah, it’ll sell easier if people can imagine a much tidier, better decorated version of themselves living there. Staged with people? WTF! No!

              • Sudonum says:

                Exactly!

              • ChuckECheese says:

                The homeowner and the agent have no access to furniture. So they rent the furnishings and the occupants are just a means to obtaining the furniture. I’m sure if these people could find a way to furnish houses temporarily for cheap – without tenants – they would do that instead.

    • human_shield says:

      Maybe in their contract they were supposed to move throughout the house, freezing in place acting out various happy activities while the house was being shown.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      This company advertises all over the U.S. There is a debate among house-sellers whether a home is more saleable if it is occupied or unoccupied. Clearly this company falls on the occupied side of the argument.

      The rental agreements are mostly standard, with a few additions (I’ve seen one). The renter must bring in sufficient high-quality furnishings to fill most of the house, and the renter must keep the home in very clean condition, and allow real estate showings on brief notice. The tenant is also expected to vacate on rather short notice when the house sells.

      However, the agreements can’t venture outside the prevailing landlord-tenant laws. Most states/cities have laws that say that rental agreement clauses that violate the law are not enforceable. So, in this case, like any other rental dispute, civil procedures must be completed.

  4. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    First, can she turn off the utilities? I hear it gets kind of hot in Texas.

    Second, I assume she signed a contract with the staging company…Who does that contract say is responsible for damages? If the creepy father destroys the place out of spite, who pays?

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Change the locks when he leaves the house then call the cops when he comes back and tries to get back in. Have the cops arrest him for trespassing when he can’t prove he lives there.

      • qwickone says:

        +1 I like this idea!

      • Doubting thomas says:

        That sounds reasonable but won’t work. My old landlord in E Dallas learned that the hard way.
        He owned several houses in the same neighborhood and when one group moved out of the house across from mine they left it in pretty bad shape. To save some cash he made an arrangement with a small group of homeless folks from the area. They would pull up the carpets, clean the house and repaint the walls. In exchange he would pay them a small amount and allow them to stay in the house for 3 or 4 weeks.
        They never even started the work and they ripped out all the appliances, down to the hot water heated and the furnace and wheeled them around the neighborhood selling them for crack money. Even with 2 of them arrested for theft he could not kick any of them pout of the house until a court served an eviction notice. The Sheriff told him that since he had allowed them to move in they were not trespassers they were tenants. He was even warned that if he had the utilities shut off they would be able to sue him and would most likely win. It took 90 days to get them out and the house was in much worse shape when he got it back, copper and wiring ripped out of the walls, blood and feces staining the walls and floors, etc. He could have sued them for damages but what are you going to get from a group of homeless junkies.
        Because the landlord was a good guy who i had a great relationship with I bought the fridge ($20.00), Microwave ($10.00), Hot water heater ($35.00), and the Dishwasher ($20,00) so that i could get them back to my landlord. (he took what I had spent out of my next months rent)

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I’m guessing they’re technically considered tenants of the house and afforded certain rights when it comes to eviction and tenant/landlord disputes.

      • Velvet Jones says:

        Based on the article, I would say they’re not considered tenants. I can understand the police point of view, they’re not suppose to get involved in civil issues without a court order. But what is to stop this woman from hiring four big guys to go in and simply throw this lazy ass squatter out of the house?

        • nickmoss says:

          Because it then becomes a criminal, not a civil, matter.

          • Difdi says:

            The woman owns the house. Squatters don’t. Texas is second only to Nevada when it comes to strong castle doctrine laws.

        • frodolives35 says:

          But then she found out the new tenants had brought a dog with them
          began the process of evicting the tenants,
          The company that placed the brothers in the house says it pre-screens all tenants.
          the people who are on the lease I don’t think are bad people

          Except for these things from the article. I don’t think we are getting the full story it sounds more like Hey I can make some money to apply on the house payment and the house will not be empty.

    • scoobydoo says:

      Willing to bet that violates some insane HOA law – and then the HOA would foreclose on the house she can no longer enter herself…

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    This is absolutely INSANE. I don’t understand how the father can stay there when it’s not his house. He wasn’t even part of the contract with the placement company. Call the police, tell them there’s a stranger in your house who doesn’t belong there and have the cops ask him to produce evidence that either he owns the house such as a mortgage payment or that he has permission to be there such as a lease or rental agreement – if not then get him the hell out of my house.

    • Coffee says:

      Step 1: Make sure your home owner’s insurance is paid.
      Step 2: Purchase a life insurance policy on the man in the house.
      Step 3: Burnin’ Down The House.
      Step 4: Profit.

    • vivalakellye says:

      Texas renters law was written heavily in favor of tenants, that’s how.

  6. erich5248 says:

    Things that make you go… huh?

  7. Coffee says:

    I’m not overly litigious, but there seems to be a clear solution here: sue the shit out of that placement company. Their inability to pre-screen what is, judging from the description here, a family of crazy-ass hillbillies has damaged her financially and continues to do so. If I were a judge (thank god I’m not because I don’t give a shit about what the law actually says), I would rule that the company has to purchase the house at the asking price and deal with the problem that they created.

    • kc2idf says:

      This is exactly what I was thinking. The house is for sale, so who cares what actually happens to it, as long as the current home owner is made whole? Sue the placement company, and the realtor, and maybe the occupants (though they might not have any money), for all damages to the property, all fees and fines heaped on by the HOA, and maybe even for the value of the house on the theory that it should have and would have sold by now if it wasn’t occupied.

    • msbask says:

      But they did screen the tenants, who have since moved out and aren’t even the problem in this scenario. Isn’t it the father (who was not a tenant) who refuses to leave?

      • Anathema777 says:

        Tenants who invite people not on the lease to move in with them are problem tenants.

      • Bladerunner says:

        Guests of tenants are the tenants’ responsibility. The brothers brought the father in.

    • deadandy says:

      I’m willing to bet the placement company created a valid lease agreement on behalf of the homeowner, which she probably agreed to in writing.

      In most states, a person HAS to be listed on the lease to legally reside there. All she needs to do is get a court order stating that a person not listed on the lease is occupying the property and needs to leave. The police will enforce the court order.

    • LabGnome says:

      Hehe. As soon as I read about the cross on the lawn I was like… yeah. Crazy hillbillies.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      I think the hillbilly act is just that, an act, intended to make the house less attractive so they could stay longer.

      But yeah, sue the placement company. Their entire business plan is just stupid.

  8. az123 says:

    File a suit against the company that put the people in and really how can somebody who moved into the house that was not on the lease be in control of the property?

    I also don’t get, if you had the people living there on a temporary basis why the contract with them does not clearly specify that, allow you to have them move out within 30 days and also have pre-signed agreement that the house can be shown at any time and mandate they maintain the property at an appropriate level to be shown.

    I would also hope that agent is never going to suggest to anyone to have someone living there

    • Derigiberble says:

      Once you hit a certain number of days of occupancy you are entitled to the right of occupancy and normal eviction rules apply, no matter what the signed agreement says. Those extended stay hotel places will often require that you switch rooms after a certain number of days to avoid exactly this sort of situation.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        What if the contract states you are not residents, but actors who are “in character” 24 hours a day?

      • MrEvil says:

        Not in Texas, in the State of Texas the laws regarding rental properties pretty much defer to the lease agreement in all matters. Maybe the city/county have their own landlord tenant laws, but generally speaking in Texas the state laws favor the landlord in these disputes.

  9. Derigiberble says:

    Landlording is not something you should get into lightly. It sucks that she got a bad set of tenants on the first go but from the article it seems more like she considered them as props and not as actual tenants.

    • K-Bo says:

      That is how the placement company sold the service to her. If you go to the Castle Keepers website, here’s their description:

      About Castle Keepers
      Castle Keepers® is an innovative program that benefits the sellers of vacant houses and prospective Castle Keepers who can live in a quality home at a fraction of the cost.

      • zibby says:

        Sounds like that would attract all the right kinds of people, huh?

        • BBBB says:

          “Sounds like that would attract all the right kinds of people, huh?”

          There was an article by a columnist who started doing this. Some people have few possessions and like moving often – if you are responsible, the rental service will consistently provide you with nice houses to live in for a tiny fraction of the normal rent. Some do it for excitement of living in bigger/better houses than they can afford and others do it to save up for their own house (or something else). Once the placement company has enough dependable people to use, it can be pretty reliable.

          Problems can occur when the tenant is an untested new one for the company or if the tenant has a psychological or situational change.

  10. GMFish says:

    I think people outside of the tenants we put in that property are the ones causing the problems.

    How does that make any fricken sense?! The company had tenants move in. Those tenants had other people move in contrary to the rental/lease agreement. Those original tenants caused the problems!

  11. deathbecomesme says:

    I say take the people that put those tenants there to court. Make them pay all cost related to restoring the property to its previous condition.

    • frank64 says:

      The placement company should take care of this before it goes to court. They should offer to pay all extra costs. If they don’t the real estate companies in the area will refuse to use them and they will go out of business.

  12. noscamsplease says:

    There is no such thing as landlord rights in the United States. Once a person decides they are taking over your property, it will cost you thousands and thousands of dollars and at least a year to get rid of them.

    • GMFish says:

      And that’s exactly why landlords are usually greedy jerks. They have to be. The more favorable the laws are to the tenants, the more the landlords get screwed. Overtime decent landlords get out of the business due to BS such as this.

    • Derigiberble says:

      Every one of these tenant laws exist because at some point in the past landlords in some area were abusing tenants in a way that had to be addressed. For these occupancy laws landlords would not provide a term lease, wait for people to move in and get settled, and then threaten to kick people out with effectively zero notice unless they paid up big hikes in rent or other fees.

      It sucks that some people abuse the system but the alternative is also horrible with the added caveat that the tenants taken advantage of were often in no position to be able to afford legal representation to fight.

      • shepd says:

        Every time you put in a law to stop something, you put in an incentive to do something else.

        That incentive can be bad or good. Generally, the incentive is bad.

        What should have been done is court judging on housing contracts fairly, and prospective tenants being educated they need to hire a lawyer before signing a new lease. Lawyer says “This lease sucks, it doesn’t have any protection for you, run away” and the lessor finds they can’t get tenants (and eventually fixes their contract so it doesn’t suck).

        Instead, we instituted another layer of government, stopped landlords and tenants from being able to agree on things (Because 1 year leases are appropriate for everyone everywhere all the time, right?) and legislated things to the point that neither a tenant nor a landlord can make heads or tails of what is legal and what isn’t. The real winners?

        Lawyers and government.

        Everyone else is a loser. As always.

        • Derigiberble says:

          These rules ARE a case of courts judging contracts fairly. That’s what the eviction process IS. These laws are in place to force disputes into the civil court system to be judged fairly before any action can be taken by the landlord instead of allowing the landlord to simply kick people out on a whim. Because if you give that power to some landlords, particularly those who rent to lower incomes, they go nuts in a way that society at large has decided is unacceptable.

          • Velvet Jones says:

            The problem is that the law is so slow that the tenant can end up destroying your property before you can finally evict them. I’ve seen this happen first hand on too many occasions. One tenant of a friend busted out all of the walls and poured cement down the drains. My friend had been trying to evict him for months, and once it became clear that tenant would finally be kicked out he trashed the place. Of course nothing ever happened to the guy, except loosing his deposit, as he was a dead beat scumbag who didn’t have a penny to his name.

          • shepd says:

            So, if you are suggesting the law judges contracts fairly, I can take a 3 year lease with my landlord for a reduced price, in an area that legislates a 1 year lease maximum?

            Or I may make a deal to “fill in” for 3 months between tenants at a discount without risking the new tenant stays, in areas where tenants have the right to stay?

            Or I brings pets into a no-pets building (as in the signed contract) because the law says you may have pets despite the contract. The contract wins?

            Those contracts would be enforced as the paperwork says, or the government’s law would interfere? Because either the contracts are in control, or the government is. It’s only both in the rather unusual circumstance where the tenant and landlord want exactly the same thing.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      That’s not true everywhere. In Arizona, for failure to pay rent or damaging the home, you can file court docs, have a hearing or 2 and have the tenants evicted in under 3 weeks in many cases.

  13. polishhillbilly says:

    Send in SWAT, they have knocked down doors for less…

  14. mauispiderweb says:

    Reminds me of the movie Pacific Heights.

  15. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    HAHA OMG that is the best scam ever!

  16. Coffee says:

    She should see if any of her neighbors have a mortgage with Bank of America…if she asks nicely, maybe they’ll skip a payment and Bank of America will send the goon squad to break his kneecaps.

  17. valkyrievf2x says:

    How the crap is that possible? Ok, one could maybe infer a landlord/tenant contract here (and that is stretching it…). But on what grounds can they not get the father out for trespassing? Even treating it as a landlord/tenant, the deal was with the brothers, not the father. What legal grounds does he have?

    I hate how realtors are full of crap when it comes to listing your home. When we sold our house, we were supposed to leave it like no one lived there (hard to do when you have kids). Others say that it has to have that lived in, warm feeling… So which is it? We just left things nice and clean, and that was that.

    • Rachacha says:

      I think you want to have furniture and fresh air entering a home. When we moved last summer, we kept our old home vacant while we were trying to find a renter, move out some furniture, and while we were doing some maintenance on the property. Even though we left the AC on, and some too
      S were still furnished, when we walked in, it just had a vacant smell and feel to it because doors were not being opened to let in a little fresh air every so often.

      • Jane_Gage says:

        Fabreezing the shit out of it would be a hell of a lot cheaper than dealing with these scumbags. I like how they’re living their Christian values though. /sarcasm

  18. j2.718ff says:

    Those things that violate the HOA rules… can those be used to foreclose on the owner?

    If so, I just figured something out:

    1. Rent a house
    2. Do something that blatantly violates the HOA rules
    3. When the owner complains, don’t back down
    4. House gets sold at auction for violating HOA rules
    5. Buy said house on the cheap.
    6. Profit!

  19. crispyduck13 says:

    What the hell is happening to this world?

    • axhandler1 says:

      It’s losing its mind and spiraling into destruction.

    • Chmeeee says:

      In relation to this situation? Not much of anything, unless you live in a fantasyland where assholes are a recent phenomenon.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Assholes are nothing new, but society enabling them seems to be.

        • carlogesualdo says:

          OMG, I think this is the key! We’re so afraid of getting sued (or attacked) that we refuse to take a risk. Where 20 or 30 years ago, we would have simply thrown the guy out on his ass without the police, now we stand around and worry while the court system winds its way around. Assess: what’s the likelihood this guy goes after you in return? Depends on the guy – it’s an individual call.

  20. CrazyEyed says:

    My gf’s sister did a staging from which the house was cleaned all around and furnature was strategically re-positioned. It worked well but I can’t even fathom allowing anyone to stage a family in my home. As much as I feel for the woman who owns the home, what on earth led you to believe placing another family in your home was a good idea? Do you really expect a whole family to pack up their sh*t and leave just like that. Such a terrible idea.

    • j2.718ff says:

      This! I have also heard freshly baked cookies sitting on the kitchen counter can be a plus.

      It’s annoying to schedule visits of a home around the schedules of occupants. (Especially if those occupants aren’t actually the owners)

  21. RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

    Seriously? Hell, in Texas you’d think the only things she’d need to solve this problem would be a shotgun and a big dog. O_o

    • deathbecomesme says:

      um……This isn’t the Texas you see on “Storage Wars Texas Edition” or “Dallas”. We don’t ride to work in horse and buggy. Thank you very much

      • Coffee says:

        Really? I hear Texans brag all the time about castle laws, and how they can shoot anyone they see on their property any time they feel like it. Perhaps they need a talking to.

        • ZenListener says:

          I’ve lived in Texas for about ten years and have never heard anyone say anything like that.

          Who are you talking to?

          • Coffee says:

            There are plenty of people on Consumerist who have made statements to that effect. I’m not going to go through years and years of posts looking for specific examples, but if you’re around here long enough, you see it, and it’s always in regards, specifically, to the state of Texas.

        • shufflemoomin says:

          You mean the sort of people who go around making such claims also tend to be ignorant and uneducated!?

        • GearheadGeek says:

          The problem here is that it’s no longer her castle, because she resides elsewhere and signed a contract allowing other ppl to live there. It went from being her residence to being a rental property for which she probably not only receives no rent, but actually PAYS this Castle Creepers company to put scumbags in it.

          If I came home and found the Burgess’ in my house, which is covered under the Castle Doctrine, I’d shoot them and their vicious dog, but that’s because I never would have signed a contract allowing them to squat on my property.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        YOU MEAN AMERICAN POPULAR CULTURE LIED TO ME???

        GODDAMMIT

  22. erich5248 says:

    The company that placed the family there, Castle Keepers, has an A+ rating on BBB – meaning no complaints.

    http://www.bbb.org/dallas/business-reviews/real-estate/castle-keepers-in-carrollton-tx-8000723

    Based on the comments from the original news article, I find that perplexing.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      That is extremely suspect. Maybe you’ve stumbled on a black market industry that “cleans” your BBB rating and history for a price?

      • LionMan says:

        Simple, you pay the BBB and they will clean your BBB record for you.

      • YOXIM says:

        I’ve heard you can basically just buy a good BBB rating. They have some sort of “membership” program or something to that effect. I’ve only heard about this, though, on the Internet no less, so you know….grain of salt and all : )

        • Jane_Gage says:

          I’m a small business owner, they will actively cold call you and begin by telling you that you have a “complaint.” That segues into them soliciting a membership fee from you.

    • shepd says:

      A+ rating on BBB means absolutely nothing. eBay has an A+ rating despite averaging just under 4 complaints per day. They’re also accredited since 1998. It’s called “eBay gave the BBB plenty of money and everything is A-OK”.

      Look up some of the other well known filthy scum companies, like PayPal (Averages 1 complaint for every business hour). Go ahead. See the same thing. Trusting the BBB is like trusting the scorpion not to poison the frog.

    • carlogesualdo says:

      I thought an A+ rating meant no *unresolved* complaints, not no complaints at all. The definition of “resolution” is very liquid.

  23. K-Bo says:

    Looking at the comments on the story, it seems like this is far from the only bad experience buyers and sellers have had with renters placed by this service. I have to think I would be suspicious of anyone who didn’t have a problem with renting from a company whos entire goal is to sell the house out from under them as quickly as possible. Who wants to move into a house knowing they might have to move again in 2 weeks?

    • ZenListener says:

      In my area there was a company that did mostly the same thing. They placed people in homes that were upscale. Actual mansions, if you will. My wife (at the time) wanted to do this so we talked to the people and it was explained to us that since the houses were so expensive there wasn’t much chance of it being sold in under six months.

      I was generally against the idea and, eventually, my wife gave also decided against it. Not because of the idea of moving (she had to move every two years, minimum) after a short amount of time, but because there would be the chance of people coming in at random times to view the house. Which also meant that it had to be kept impeccably clean, all the time (good luck with 4 kids).

      However, being single and childless now, I don’t think it would bother me overly much since I don’t really own a lot and would take me about a day to gather my things and move. Well, if it weren’t for the cat and two giant bird cages.

      Oh, and part of the agreement was that if the house was sold while we were in it we’d be placed somewhere else (another house or some temp lodgings until a house was available).

      The benefits for the owners were that the house was occupied so the chances of it being burgled or having squatters move in would be less than usual (unless, like in this case, the temporary tenants became the squatters).

  24. crispyduck13 says:

    The only good thing that can possibly come of this is Castle Keepers shutting down and a law or two rewritten. I can only hope, and sit here feeling awful for this poor woman.

  25. Mandrake says:

    Who would’ve thought that inviting a family of complete strangers to live in your house while it’s on the market might cause problems?

  26. That guy. says:

    “You know what would help this house sell? If we move some people in, who put a 10 foot tall crucifix on the lawn.”

  27. akirabass says:

    This makes absolutely no sense to me. The father was not part of the agreement, so he never had any right to occupy the house. How is this not trespassing?

    • RandomLetters says:

      I suspect its because the police were feeling lazy that day.

    • iesika says:

      Because the landlord/tenant laws are fucked.

    • ganon446 says:

      It doesn’t matter once your an occupant and stay there that’s it if you don’t want to leave you have to be evicted.

      Think about it this way your a poor crying woman whose boyfriend wants to kick you out you put on the water works… Occupancy provisions in the law were written in to protect women.

      Technically with these laws your parents can’t kick you out either without evicting you

  28. cvstrat says:

    Am I the only one who seems to think she must have leased out her home to these people and as a result can’t simply evict them at her own will?

    Certainly there are stipulations in the lease that would afford some protections to the family moving in or else they might not agree to move into temporary housing like that. Without seeing the type of agreement she signed, it’s difficult to really blame either party. Sure it sounds bad that she can’t reclaim her home, but my guess is that she signed a legal document stating they could stay there for XXX dollars per month, until the property was sold.

    She didn’t like the particular tenants (neither would I if they are junking up the yard), but unless there is something in the contract that places strict rules against what is/isn’t allowed then my guess is they are allowed to more or less treat the home as their own within certain limits. The dad is pissed that the lady wants to simply void the contract and is staying to prove a point is my guess. Sure it’s pretty lame, and they’re probably causing significant financial stress to this lady because they are shameless bastards, but I suppose if they tried to leave w/o fulfilling the contract she’d be suing to keep them in the house or for the lost rent.

  29. JHDarkLeg says:

    Doesn’t Texas have castle laws? He’s not a tenant as he wasn’t the one who signed the contract so he shouldn’t have any tenant rights. Walk in and shoot the home invader.

  30. framitz says:

    When I was transferred to CA. with no notice my family rented a home temporarily. We were so lucky.
    The home was on 4 acres that were scheduled for development, it was huge.
    We paid half the going rate for rent with the agreement that we would only stay for 6 months.
    This worked out perfectly for all concerned, we occupied the property to help keep it secure and paid very low rent. I was in the military and base housing came available at just the right time.

    I see that didn’t work out at all for this seller.

  31. jza1218 says:

    Step 1: Go inside house.
    Step 2: Shoot the old man
    Step 3: Get off without any charges because this is Texas and you were protecting your home from this intruder
    Step 4: Sell the house
    Step 5: Profit

    • jimbo831 says:

      Step 6. Go to jail for the rest of your life because it is no longer your “castle” once you rent it out. It is the tenant’s castle.

      Technically, if you “break in” to your own house in this situation, they could shoot and kill you under castle doctrine.

    • Anna Kossua says:

      “Well, it is a lovely house. Why is the carpet different in half of this room?”

      “Oh, that? It’s just where the last person living here was shot and killed. But don’t worry, the replacement carpet is upgraded…. hey, where are you going? You haven’t even seen the breakfast nook!”

  32. Gorbachev says:

    Why did they put the family on a lease? Required by the HOA?

    If not, draft the contract as a work contract. You won’t have to go through eviction proceedings…you just terminate the contract according to the termination clauses in the contract, and report the people as tresspassers, if they refuse to leave.

  33. Lyn Torden says:

    Sue the company that placed the brothers in the house. Their pre-screening obviously failed.

    Also file a lawsuit against the man remaining in the house for damages and loses (not being able to sell).

  34. iesika says:

    I’m dealing with a case involving a squatter like this right now. There’s a point where the best deal for the homeowner becomes “If I hand you a wad of cash, will you get out?”

    There are some serious problems with the landlord/tenant laws. Getting someone who’s never paid you rent out of your property shouldn’t be so hard (and showing up with some friends and some baseball bats will end with you in prison).

  35. shufflemoomin says:

    It’s still her legal property. How are they not trespassers and how would throwing them physically out of the house not be justified? The law’s f**ked up when people have rights like this.

  36. emax4 says:

    I bet once those Molotov cocktails start flying and burning things on impact, those settlers will be out pretty quickly…

  37. Snapdragon says:

    What a nightmare. This trespasser has more legal rights than the legitimate homeowner?

  38. Hotscot says:

    This is so common in England. You can literally go on vacation, come back to find your own house occupied by squatters.

    And it is against the law to physicallyl turf them out.

  39. Fishnoise says:

    Getting the house back would not a big deal in my state — post notice (can be a short as seven days), file a forcible detainer suit, show up in court a week or two later to get a judgment, then after another seven days you can get a writ of possession and show up with the constable to do a set out.

    It only gets difficult if you want to sue the company that placed the tenants or the tenants/squatters. That would have to be separate action and damages you’d likely get might not do more than cover your costs.

    • MrEvil says:

      Normally it isn’t this difficult in Texas either. If someone isn’t named on a valid lease agreement that person could be considered as trespassing. However, you practically have to shoot them in order for the court to make that determination. My guess is there are some city/county laws at play here that afford more protections to tenants than state law does (none apart from enforcing the terms of the lease.)

      I’ve been on both sides as an agent for my dad and as a tenant.

  40. dush says:

    Even if the courts stay his eviction, how can the court keep the property owner out of their own home? There’s no lease/rent agreement with the guy squatting so she’s not a “landlord” to him.

  41. shaman66 says:

    Burn it down baby, burn it, burn it down..

  42. thrashanddestroy says:

    I have a feeling this can be handled with a few friends and a shotgun.

  43. xanadustc says:

    Out here in Wyoming, we have ways of making the unwelcomed guest leave :)

  44. echilson says:

    My son in law had a similar problem with a disabled vet room-mate when my son in-law was selling the house. The room mate was able to get my son in-law evicted from his own house. The room-mate had all kinds of laws protecting his rights. But my son in-law had to get go to court pay all cost to get the tenant out of the house. All the while while trying to sell the house.

  45. wasabirobot says:

    Aside from this sucking and being asinine, I don’t understand the logic at all. Scheduling tours around occupants is already awkward, why would you want to move people in for the hell of it? Was she collecting rent from them or was she paying the staging company for them to be there?

  46. BennieHannah says:

    Surely she has started eviction proceedings? In most jurisdictions the process for eviction is spelled out clearly, and while it make take time — anywhere from two weeks to a couple of months, depending upon which part of the statutes apply to your situation — you just have to follow the process to it’s end. Typically, the homeowner can also apply for back rent, late fees and court costs along with eviction, although that’s no guarantee the tenant will or can pay even if you get a judgement. For any monetary damages over-and-above those that are naturally allowed within the eviction process, the owner can go after the tenant and/or the placement agency in small claims court.

  47. quieterhue says:

    I don’t get it. The person currently living there is not named on the lease. Hence, why can he not be evicted by the company that arranged the lease?

  48. baristabrawl says:

    I didn’t think anyone not on the lease could occupy the property.

  49. voogru says:

    It’s a good thing we have all of these laws protecting renters and tenants.

    The more laws, the less justice.

  50. prismatist says:

    I believe the law firm of Smith & Wesson have the solution ready-made for you…

  51. Rocket80 says:

    In my libertarian utopia, the owner would just walk in there with a gun and say ‘gtf off my property or your a dead man”

    There’s something to be said for a strong libertarian respect of property rights.

  52. Aliciaz777 says:

    I honestly thought that nothing I read on the Internet or in the news would ever surprise me again, but this…this really surprises me. I’m a fan of the idea the commenter who suggested changing the locks had. Stake out the house, change the locks, call the police when the douche bag tries to get in. Either that, or shut off all utilities. Or maybe hire workers to do construction on the house every day as early as possible? Really loud construction.

  53. Press1forDialTone says:

    This one of just a few cases where “Stand Your Ground” type law would be fine with me.
    An earlier poster here, jza1218, had it just about perfect but I would add.

    Put old man in big odor-proof bag and place in random dumpster on another
    property in the neighborhood.

    Oh I almost forgot, make the two Jesus-freak brothers pay the owner to have
    the locks changed on everything and activate 24×7 private spies under control
    of the realtor until sells.

    Then shot brothers as well and send vicious pit bull to cooperative meat packing
    plant. Also need to somehow put contracts out on CastleKeepers personnel all the
    way to the top since their obvious goal is to put ignorant hicks in control of properties
    that aren’t theirs as a reaction to the housing crisis.

  54. Darkneuro says:

    Some real estate agents I worked with years ago tried this… They’re short-term tenants, usually not screened very well, and the real estate agent is often getting kickbacks you don’t know about. It could also be rented out to a corporation for their employees that the real estate agent doesn’t know about or isn’t aware of. Another possibility is subletting.
    I still say the easiest house to sell is one that is empty and spotlessly clean except for light fixtures and plain blinds and some appliances.

  55. ganon446 says:

    I work in real estate and most people think something like this couldn’t ever happen but guess what due to our laws to protect women laws favoring tenant or rather occupants have been stregenthed.

    Basically this is a feminist provision to protect female occupants. Laws where changed because women who move in with their boyfriend and she is not on the lease if they break up he could kick her out. All the occupant laws in the U.S were rewritten to favor occupants who are out out.

    If you rent and allow someone to stay with you who is not on the lease after a certain short period of time you can’t just call the police and kick them out. You have to evict them and if your a female you can have the actually tenant kicked out until the occupant has been evicted.

    It’s funny how this worked in reverse in this situation.

  56. Alessar says:

    Oh there’s a LEASE? Well that’s just stupid. I thought she was paying them a small fee to put on a good show and let them stay there gratis. That would have made them employees not tenants.

  57. TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

    You force your way in, armed of course and shoot the person. You are protected under Castle Law as you are defending property that you can prove you legally own. Done.

  58. OMG_BECKY says:

    That is one God-awful ugly house.

  59. soj4life says:

    Reading more of the story on the linked article shows how screwed up this country has gotten. I have no problem with someone trying to make a mouse feel lived-in, it give you an idea of what can fit into a place. The fact that this guy, an invited guest of the tenants, can stay even though the original tenants were evicted is asinine. And judging by the what he has done and said, I bet he will try to appeal anything to the supreme court.

  60. Midnight Harley says:

    Meet the Joneses

  61. Zeola says:

    That dog dose not look terribly vicious, and the crosses were being manufactured obviously, if you watch the clip…just what I got from the video.

    She got herself into this one by “renting”…and she will have to go through normal “rental procedure” to get out. People should know this is what can happen if you rent, for any reason.