Family Battling Squatters Finally Able To Move Back Into Their Own Home After Almost 9 Months

It must have been a sweet, sweet homecoming for the Colorado family that has been fighting to regain possession of their home after squatters claimed they had a right to live there. It’s been about nine months since the family — which had moved to Indiana temporarily for work — got a call from a neighbor saying there were strangers living in their house.

Thus began a protracted struggle to take back the home, with the squatters trying to claim adverse possession and telling the family that they had bought the house fair and square.

As we reported in late July, the family thought everything would be okay when a county sheriff issued an eviction notice to those living in the stolen home. But when the squatters filed for bankruptcy, the sheriff’s office said it couldn’t go forward with the eviction under those circumstances. The family was forced to live in a relative’s basement while trying to get back into their house.

CBS Denver says while the squatters fought hard to stay, the grand jury indictment was returned and they finally gave up the goose and moved out.

“It’s wonderful, great, couldn’t ask for anything more,” the family’s father told the news station, adding that despite some overgrown weeds in the backyard, the home is in good condition.

“They actually did think that they bought the home, so they took really good care of it,” he explained.

The squatters apparently purchased the home from two men who have been charged with racketeering, theft and other crimes in connection to the case. The people who moved in have been charged with trespassing.

Despite the long fight, the father seems to just be happy everything has come to a conclusion.

“Yeah it’s over, it’s over, I can sleep at night,” he said.

And in his own home — imagine that.

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  1. AcctbyDay says:

    About time.

    • Oh_No84 says:

      Charged with trespassing?
      Does that mean they can actually get jail time for being a-holes??? Because they should.

      • Jawaka says:

        Well to be fair, the article says that they actually did believe that they legally purchased the home. Should they have just abandoned the home that they felt that they legally purchased without a fight?

        • VHSer says:

          Yes. Once they found out that the people they bought the house from had no right to sell it, they should have moved out.

          • Jawaka says:

            Moved out to where? They likely just spent all the money they had buying the home that they believed that they bought. I wouldn’t move out either until my lawyer said I should.

            • Oh_No84 says:

              Because you are an a-hole?
              You know the house is not yours, but you would refuse to move out???? that is screwed up?
              No one actually thinks they bought a house for $5K and they get a deed stamped with “adverse possession”.

              The real owners got really screwed. They could not afford a lawyer. They were forced to get jobs 65 miles away where they were temporarily living. They ended up getting 20K behind on their mortgage since they did not pay when they were not living there. You are an a-hole if you think this is OK to do to someone for your stupidity.

              • Jawaka says:

                I’m just going by what it said in the article that the people truly believed that they legally purchased the home.

                • soj4life says:

                  Who cares what the people thought. They were in the wrong and they made the situation worse by extending this mess in the courts and wasting our tax money. Any one of their english speaking teen children could have googled the conditions of adverse possession in Colorado before they gave their money away. They could have googled it after the homeowners showed up. They could have asked their shitty “christian” lawyer if they had any legal right to the place.

            • TravistyRobertoson says:

              Who care where. Can I come move into your home and if I truly believe I should be there, just wait until I find somewhere else to move? NO. You would want me gone ASAP.

              • Jawaka says:

                I’m not going to like it but if you have a deed saying that you legally purchased my home then I can at least understand why you’d think you have a right to be there.

                • Derek Balling says:

                  But when the court says “no, that deed is invalid”, you get the hell out.

                  Unless you’re an a-hole.

                  This isn’t quantum physics: when in doubt, the person with an actually valid deed is the one who gets to live in the house. Period. Full-stop.

        • Oh_No84 says:

          They know they did not purchase the home for the $5K they paid for a fake abandonment deed. They knew they were squatters and the home was not theirs.

        • danone says:

          Purchased the home from 2 men??? Unless they paid cash in full and obtained the deed to the house there should have been a bank or lending institution involved somehow for the financing. You can’t just “buy a house”, it usually takes a significant amount of paperwork and several third parties. It should have been obvious to the “buyers” that it was a fraudulent purchase.

  2. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    9 months LOL. I guess no one in that family owns a shotgun.

    • conscious says:

      I can tell you if a shotgun were involved, getting that home back might have taken 25-life… they made the right move.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Doubtful since the property was proven to be theirs and the squatters were charged with trespassing.

        • guaporico says:

          Hindsight is 20-20. The squatters thought they actually owned the house, and had paperwork — the police didn’t get involved because they both had what appeared to be valid paperwork.

          If the original owners went into the house threatening violence with a shotgun, you can be sure they would be in jail.

        • who? says:

          Still 25 to life. It’s one thing if somebody comes into a house you’re living in while you’re home, and you use a shotgun. It’s quite another thing to walk into an occupied house with a shotgun, even if you own the house.

          My reading of Colorado’s make my day laws is that the “legal occupant” of the house can use force to defend themselves. In this case, there was no legal occupant. The occupants weren’t legal, and the homeowners weren’t the occupant.

          • tinyhands says:

            So the lesson is, don’t EVER leave your house, not even for a moment. Do not go to work, do not go to the movies, do not go to the grocery store. Your home WILL be stolen and you have to wait 9 months to reclaim it.

      • Oh_No84 says:

        No way. They could have bought some new locks. Then force their way inside their own home, pulled out a gun, and force the people to walk outside and then lock the doors and eventually change the locks before they left again.

        If the a-holes called the cops you would already be in the house with the doors locked and gun put away. The cops would show up and you can prove you own the house and they would ask the a-holes to get off your property.

        A gun would have saved 9 months for sure.

        • Oh_No84 says:

          Worse case the a-hole comes at you can gets shot and killed.
          In that case you would not be charged with a crime as you were the one attacked inside your own home.

          • MarkFL says:

            The problem was that ownership of the home had not been legally established. If both parties bring out the firearms, only the one who owns the house has the right to do so. But…since ownership had not been established…well, someone’s going to jail. And while the original family does indeed own the house, that will be of little consolation if they have to go to Forest Lawn to tell Dad he won.

            • Difdi says:

              Theft does not transfer ownership, nor do forged documents.

              The ownership did not need to be legally established because it was never in doubt.

            • Oh_No84 says:

              The ownership of the home WAS legally established.
              The squatters never legally purchased the home, they bought a fake deed of adverse possession which was not a legal document to even get a adverse possession in CO you need to pay taxes on the property for at least 7 years.

              The real homeowners can shoot in self defense legally. The squatters would get charged with crimes if they pulled a gun.

        • SlightlyGrumpy says:

          Or the squatters could have defended themselves while the owners broke in and shot the owners. The only accomplishment would be several years in court arguing about the castle doctrine.

          Civil suits against the real estate agent and the squatters (once their bankruptcy is settled).

      • spamtasticus says:

        I can assure you that if I returned to my house and found someone living in it the people would be out within 1 day. That same day I would walk over to the tax collector, gotten a sertified copy of my title and tax payments and then called the police to report intruders in my home. When the cops arrive I can unequivically prove that I own the home. The fact that the squatters got scammed is unfortunate but the second the owner proves to them that it is his house they should have left immediately.

      • fleef says:

        I guarantee if you had a weapon pointed at your face and someone telling you to GTFO you’d trip over yourself to find a door. It’s not like in the movies where the guy with a gun in his face says to the guy with the gun ” I dare ya!” this family could’ve saved themselves 9 months of worry and despair.

      • soj4life says:

        Well if they fired and killed them. They could have just got their friends to dress up as ICE agents and bang on the door at 3am. I doubt the DA would charge them with intimidating trespassers to leave because that isn’t a crime.

    • Harry Greek says:

      I had no idea taking a life was that easy.

      Say, how many people did you kill in your life time??

    • JollySith says:

      I have to agree with others that escalating it to gun violence had a much higher likelihood of ending up poorly for the homeowners here. But there are lots of ways to make living somewhere decidedly uncomfortable without killing anyone or even getting on the wrong side of a felony charge.Of course a lot of them end up in small to medium amounts of damage and cleanup to the home, but then again getting blood, buckshot and brains out of the walls ain’t cheap or easy either.

    • ancientone567 says:

      Funny you say that. I just paid for a shotgun 4 days ago.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      One article mentioned that the squatters got a legitimate restraining order against the family, so legally they couldn’t go near their own home. The law would have been clearly on the side of the squatters if the owners came around with a shotgun or anything.

    • nikalseyn says:

      My thoughts exactly. Don’t the real owners have any friends who can go with them to have a “chat” with the squatters? A couple of big men, perhaps? Lord, what have we become in this country when we lay down and cry to big daddy government to help us?

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    The squatters might have legitimately thought they bought the house at one point. Naive, but I can’t get too mad at someone who is fighting for what he believes is his legitimate home.

    However, once they filed bankruptcy they clearly showed they knew they didn’t own the home by that point, and were simply stalling as long as possible. That was a calculated move designed to stay in the home longer. At that point I have no sympathy for them.

    • AcctbyDay says:

      They paid for a deed of adverse possession, which is the most cock-n-bull thing I have ever heard of. The cost was $5,000 from the original article. The fact that when presented with proof that they were had by people who scammed them and did not vacate immediately leaves me with zero sympathy for the squatters. In my opinion, they should be charged with more than trespassing, I don’t know what but something. They aren’t even out much in terms of money. $5,000 / 9 = 555/month for rent.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Just because YOU know that adverse possession laws are outdated and rarely apply anymore doesn’t mean everyone else does.

        Those law ARE on the books, but are little understood. And in this case a scammer can give you a legit legal document (the application for adverse posession) so it seems legit.

        • AcctbyDay says:

          I clearly separated in my response that “The fact that when presented with proof that they were had by people who scammed them and did not vacate immediately leaves me with zero sympathy for the squatters.”

          I still stand by this statement. I’m not calling them stupid, or insulting them for not knowing that it was cock-n-bull in the first place. I’m saying they were given proof they were in the wrong and did nothing but make it worse. I would call the squatters a victim UNTIL they refused to leave when presented proof they were in the wrong.

          If you read what you wrote and then what I wrote, I was merely echoing what you said, but noting that the “deed of adverse possession” in my opinion, was an obviously “cock-n-bull”.

          Don’t take offense when none is intended.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            My apologies for misunderstanding. Too often here people project their own understanding of the world onto others. I thought that was the case here.

            • AcctbyDay says:

              No sir. Apology accepted. I feel bad for the original squatters for being taken advantage of and wholeheartedly agree in that sentiment until they knowingly continued to aggrieve the other party.

              Everyone can be scammed.

        • Oh_No84 says:

          You cant get adverse possession legally in colorado unless you have been paying taxes on the abandoned property for at least 7 years.
          They knew they did not buy a house for $5K with a deed that said adverse possession on it. They were just deadbeats trying to get a free house.

    • evilpete says:

      Didn’t they pay around $5,000 or so for the property?

      How can they think they got a house for $5k ( other then in Detroit)

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Through adverse posession – a little-known and little-understand relic of American law.

        • evilpete says:

          Oh I know of adverse possession, my neighbor wants to have widest driveway on the block and has decided to try to claim my side yard

          • SerenityDan says:

            I really want to hear the rest of your story

          • axhandler1 says:

            I would also like to hear the rest of your story. Are they basically just paving over grass that makes up your side yard, and is technically part of your property?

            • ZachPA says:

              If this is the case, basically they are daring you to shoulder the cost of a survey in order to prove that they are stealing your land. So, you win in court, having proven your case beyond a shred of doubt, but you still pay the attorney and the survey, neither of which are cheap.

              So, I say fight fire with fire. They say great fences make great neighbors. Fence in your back yard, and while your at it, include a sizable chunk of your offending neighbor’s yard. If he wants his yard back, he gets to pay for the survey, but in the meantime, you get a nice chunk of land to put that compost heap you’ve been meaning to start.

          • AspieMBA says:

            Do tell. Last house we had neighbors that started parking trailers and all terrain vehicles on our side yard. Hubby put in a fence quickly to put a stop to that and avoid any idea they might have of trying to claim adverse possession.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              My neighbors having been doing that, but sadly I can’t put a fence in the area they are encroaching upon.

          • kevinroyalty says:

            Yes, please enlighten us to this interesting development.

  4. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Extremely lucky. Many squatters wouldn’t have batted an eye at destroying the place as retribution before they left.

  5. axolotl says:

    What is the point of having squatters rights laws anyway?? I’ve never understood it, especially in a modern setting.

    • K-Bo says:
      • Kuri says:

        And so a property doesn’t just go to pot.

      • Anachronism says:

        This. Deeds do not have to be recorded to be valid, and they are effective as of they day they were signed. This could mean you could have people that found a deed in a box from some long-gone ancestor that shows he legitimately took title to, say, all of what is now downtown San Francisco in the 1830’s. So, without a law like this, the ancestor that finds the deed then could start legal action to say that they are the legitimate owner of all of that land, and they very well may be the legitimate owners. Can you imagine the clusterfuck? Until at least the lawsuit is settled, everybody involved would have difficulty selling their home, obtaining mortgages, etc., out of fear that they do not have good title to their home.

        And this could happen at any point, because who knows what old dusty, long forgotten deeds are out there? Back when America was a lot less populated, there were plenty of cases where land was undeveloped and owned by somebody that was’t there. Now imagine that somebody sold some undeveloped land to somebody else, who never recorded the deed, the seller then died, and the seller’s kids, not knowing the land was sold, resold it to somebody else to get rid of “dad’s old folly.” The second deed gets recorded, and becomes the basis for hundreds of deed transfers as the land is parcelled and developed. Meanwhile, the first deed, which happens to be the actual legitimate one, is discovered.

        This is why adverse possesion exists, to make these types of issues go away. If somebody uses your land without your objection, and without paying rent or acknowledging your ownership in any other way for the granted period of time (which is generally somewhere around 20 years), they own the property. Thus, people that thought they had legitimate claim to land don’t get screwed over when a generation’s old claim to title resurfaces.

        I like adverse possession laws. I think they serve a needed purpose. I even like people using adverse possession laws to occupy abandoned property under the context of today’s housing meltdown- if the owners (banks holding REO properties or homeowners that have abandoned properties that the banks haven’t bothered to foreclose), are no longer living in or caring for the property, I see no problem with somebody taking and maintaining the property under adverse possesion rules.

        However, your legal ability to occupy a property under adverse possesion rules immediately goes away when the legitimate owner tells you, at any point during the years and years needed to establish ownership under adverse possesion, you have no legal standing and are a complete shithead if you continue to be parked in their house.

  6. tlf0803 says:

    Were there any court fees? Who has to pay for those?

    • Santamente says:

      When it happened to us – because the couple we were renting from disappeared – the legal costs were on us. Luckily we found a renter’s rights group in town that was able to help us out with some of it so we could keep the legal bills down a bit.

    • iesika says:

      I’d like to know who paid that, as well. Court fees probably ran at least a few hundred for something like this, and if they hired an attorney, they’re out one to a few thousand, minimum.

  7. crispyduck13 says:

    This makes me very happy. Bet the homeowner and family won’t be taking any vacations for a looong time.

  8. axhandler1 says:

    In situations like these, what’s to stop the family from just moving back into the house? It’s not like the squatters can get them evicted.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      The people who were ‘squatting’ thought they bought the house fair and square. Therefore, I believe they were living in it as normal people do – with stuff, cars, tv, utilities, etc. You can’t really ‘move in’ if someone is already living there.

      • axhandler1 says:

        That’s my point. If it came to the point where the squatters were informed they had not actually bought the house and simply didn’t believe it, just start moving all your stuff back into the house. Sleep in their (your) beds. Park your car in the driveway, blocking them in. Plop down next to them on the couch while they are watching tv and change the channel. Explain that this is just the way things are done in your house. I’m wondering what would have happened if the owners did that. Would the squatters have called the police? If so, what would have happened when the police arrived and both families had documents showing they “owned” the house? That would have been a really shitty day for the cop who answered that call, no doubt, but I wonder what the ultimate resolution would have been.

        • who? says:

          Presumably, what would happen is exactly what did happen. The legitimate owners wouldn’t get very far at moving their stuff in before the squatters, thinking that they’re the legitimate owners, would call the cops. The cops would come, and be presented with a bunch of documents from both sides that they’re not qualified to sort out. They would see that the squatters have clearly been living there for awhile, and would tell the legitimate owners to get out and let the civil courts handle it. Which is what happened, eventually.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        You can if it’s own house!

      • dolemite says:

        Yeah, but the judge, police and everyone else eventually notified them they needed to go, and instead they stayed, then tried some scummy tactics like declaring bankruptcy.

  9. Santamente says:

    As easy as it is to go after the squatters in this case, having been on the other end of this one, I can actually sympathize.

    Back in the mid-90s my ex-wife and I were looking at condos in our downtown area. A woman that she worked with told her that she and her husband had a condo in the downtown area and they were looking to move out and do a rent-to-own deal on the property. they gave us a lease to sign, they did the background checks and we moved in. A few months later the woman quit to work for another company, so we only saw them when they came to collect rent.

    About six months into our lease we were wanting to paint the condo. We contacted the couple, they said it was okay, and the wife started in painting while I went to work. A few hours after starting a woman walked in the front door and asked the wife what she was doing painting her condo. After a lot of heated disagreements we found out we’d been conned. The couple had been renting the condo from this woman, didn’t want to get penalized for moving out, and had put together a false lease for us. We paid them more than the condo was going for, they paid the woman and pocketed the rest. Until they fell behind on bills and started pocketing our rent money instead. The woman had shown up to tell they needed to move out, and found us instead. Insert costly and time consuming legal stuff here. so yeah, it happens.

  10. dolemite says:

    Although the squatters got taken advantage of, I have a really hard time feeling sorry for them. Everyone from this family to our legal system said they were in the wrong, and they still stayed.

  11. Press1forDialTone says:

    Ugh, I couldn’t touch any surface in that home.
    I hope they clean it up (barf) and sell it.
    Coooooties!

  12. Rockfish says:

    DISH Network also sends direct mail through the United States Post Office which you CANNOT stop unless you file USPS Form 1500 – Application for Listing / Prohibitory Warning.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibitory_Order
    http://www.awakeningblog.com/uploads/5/1/9/7/519776/form_1500.pdf

  13. Kuri says:

    I applaud the actual homeowner’s patience.

  14. SilverBlade2k says:

    Finally.

    I do hope that the rightful owners get compensation for it. Multi-millions.

  15. MarkFL says:

    OK, if we have learned only one thing from this saga, it’s this:

    Don’t get involved with adverse possession in ANY WAY until you consult an attorney.

  16. iesika says:

    Fences are expensive, but sledgehammers and chisels are pretty cheap, and breaking up concrete is great exercise.

  17. Ashman says:

    Wait is this not new information. the squatters thought they bought the home? I don’t remember that from the original story, and now new information about two men are accused of racketeering theft and other crimes….

    Glad the Family got their house back.

  18. 420gabriel says:

    If there is someone illegally in my home I will use force to get them out. There is no reason for it to have taken more than a few minutes to remove them from the premises.

    • human_shield says:

      The reason is that the cops would come and arrest you. This is what is so FUBAR about this story.

  19. Rhinoguy says:

    Personally I would have disconnected the utilities in such a way that they could not be easily turned back on. I would padlock the valves on the gas and water, removed the main breaker from the power box (outside in NC) and called the phone company to never hook up any lines. Yes, the squatters will just use wireless, not a problem. Apply pressure, not violence. Oh, and call the police to report drug dealing at the house on a Sunday.

  20. Derek Balling says:

    If that was me, I’d’ve just drilled the locks, re-entered my own home, and dared someone to try and tell me I couldn’t drill the locks on my own door, or live in my own home, and if that made Johnny Newcomer a little unhappy, well, that’s on him.