Squatters File Bankruptcy To Keep Homeowners Out Of Their Own House

Earlier this month, we told you about the Colorado family that, after 8 months of trying to evict squatters who had moved into their temporarily vacated house and falsely claimed “adverse possession,” finally convinced a judge to order the squatters to leave. Seems like all was resolved. Not exactly.

To recap for those just coming into this story, the Colorado family relocated to Indiana last summer when the husband took a new job. However, they didn’t sell their house. Instead, they winterized it with the goal of returning in the spring.

But shortly afterward, a neighbor called to tell them a family had moved into the house. These squatters claimed they had purchased the property, claiming adverse possession — an antiquated and oft-misunderstood law that allows people to eventually take possession of an abandoned home if they maintain it and pay all the taxes and utilities.

After trying to get the police involved, the local authorities deemed it a civil matter. Thus, the rightful owners of the house were forced to live in a friend’s basement for months while they waited for their day in court.

Finally, earlier this month, the just gave the squatters two days to leave. But then the squatters successfully filed a temporary restraining order against the homeowners after the husband entered the unlocked house to take photographs and document the condition of the property.

Since the family couldn’t go near the house, when the 48 hour deadline had come and gone, they called the local police to report the squatters. Once again, a dead end.

“Littleton police officers did everything possible within the limits of their authority.” a rep for the town tells CBS Denver. “Circumstances of eviction are civil matters and enforcement is done by sheriff’s offices, not by local police agencies. It is really unfortunate that there are two families who are victims in this case.”

It took almost two weeks, but the county sheriff was finally about to get around to the eviction. But then, in the eleventh hour, one of the squatters filed for bankruptcy.

“The sheriff’s office will not proceed with an eviction if there is a bankruptcy in question,” said the Arapahoe County Undersheriff.

Which means the whole issue must now go before a Federal Bankruptcy Court, and we’ve heard a rumor that these court have been a bit busy of late. So it could be the fall before the homeowners even get to explain this outlandish situation to the court — again.

Squatters Remain In Littleton Home Despite Judge’s Ruling [CBS Denver]