Thursday, June 01, 2023

Squatting: The Left’s Latest Solution for Solving the Homeless Crisis

Maybe leftist Democrats have finally realized that bums sleeping in the streets and defecating on the sidewalks of American cities are a real problem. True, any scheme that rewards slothfulness and punishes ordinary American property owners is diabolical, but at least it’s an acknowledgement that there is something horribly amiss in modern culture.

Squatting is the newest fad in the homeless community, and it threatens anyone who owns a vacant house or a vacation home.

How Squatters Gain Control of a Property

The squatting con is centered around locating currently unoccupied homes. Perhaps it was a death in the family, an out-of-state employment-related transfer or a second vacation home, but for whatever reason, the property is vacant and can be discovered in public records. There may be repairs and upgrades that delay the sale. All of these circumstances create an opportunity for squatters to move in. Often, it’s simply a matter of breaking a window, climbing into the house and unlocking the door.

That’s when the horror begins.

The common perception is that squatters are just trespassers who can be removed quickly by local law enforcement, but there is a distinction in the law that makes all the difference. In the typical first confrontation, the owner shows up at the property and demands the squatter immediately vacate the premises, but the squatter refuses to comply. The owner contacts local law enforcement, and an officer is dispatched. When the squatter is confronted by the police, he then produces some sort of falsified evidence, typically a forged lease, that gives him rightful possession of the property.

While the officer may suspect the lease, receipt or utility bill is bogus, there is nothing the police can do legally. At the moment proof of rightful occupancy is produced, the dispute becomes a matter for the civil courts, and the squatter cannot be evicted.

What follows is a two month to several year legal entanglement. Linda Giang, a Houston landlord, experienced this seemingly endless nightmare when squatters claimed a property she was previously renting out for $3600 a month. The squatters produced a fake lease and changed the locks, which left the police powerless to remove them.

In Florida, two female squatters took over a rental property for over a month, causing $40,000 in damage. Every time the owners attempted to confront them, the squatters hurled bricks and human feces at the landlords, Patti Peeples and Dawn Tiura. Like Linda Giang, the squatters used a fake lease receipt to avoid eviction by the local police.

The Legal System Benefits the Squatters

As we know, our legal system is in shambles, and the squatters know it too. The process involved in removing squatters is long, costly and detailed. The victim must immediately hire an attorney and file for notice of eviction. The squatters rarely cooperate and almost never show up for court dates, causing further delays and postponements. The frustration level for those victimized by the scam can be extraordinary. The loss of income, coupled with the legal fees, mortgage loan obligations and damage to the property can lead to bankruptcy and divorce in some instances.

Successfully removing a squatter can be one of the most stressful situations a homeowner may ever face. Remarkably, the most obvious and expedient methods most of us would use could result in serious civil and criminal charges. Actions such as cutting the utilities, intimidating the squatter or hiring someone to remove them are illegal and aggressively prosecuted.

Adverse Possession as a Method to Take Your Home

As if this dystopian activity isn’t bad enough, some squatters are using loopholes to gain lawful ownership of the property they are inhabiting illegally. Homeowners, especially with properties in different states, could be victims of a legal concept known as adverse possession. Depending on state law, squatters who openly live in a home for a prescribed period can be awarded legal ownership if they can produce a fake deed, documented improvements and receipts for property tax payments.

It may be hard to believe, but there are websites that actually walk the squatter through the adverse possession process.

Who is Behind the Squatter Movement?

It’s hard to imagine squatters developed this sophisticated strategy on their own, so we’re left to wonder who is assisting them in callously trampling property owner rights. As usual, if you take the time to dig through leftist muck, you can bet there will be woke lunatics at the epicenter.

The San Francisco Tenants Union (SFTU) is representative of other leftist non-profit organizations across the country advocating for squatters. In fact, the SFTU devotes an entire page on their website to detailing strategies for squatters to gain control of properties. This includes encouraging the squatter to establish “tenants’ rights” by performing some sort of work on the property that the squatter can later claim was tantamount to a rental agreement.

According to the SFTU, any sort of receipt, bill, or mail received by the squatter at the property address can be used to establish tenants’ rights. This unprincipled organization even advises squatters of a police training bulletin that outlines the limitations of law enforcement in these matters.

“If any material showing a right to possession is produced, however arguable it may be, the burden shifts to the property owner or agent to prove the elements required for a trespass violation… members should not presume a person to be a trespasser.”

The squatter’s goal is to force the police to categorize the dispute as a civil matter. In other words, use any tool at your disposal to establish your right to live in someone else’s house rent free.

SFTU advises the squatter to make improvements to the property, whether authorized or not, and establish a utility in their own name. If the case goes to trial, the squatter can argue the owner allowed them to live on the property in exchange for services but has changed his mind because he received a better offer, probably for higher rent. If the case is heard by a leftist judge, and the squatter portrays the owner as a greedy miser, who knows?

While STFU doesn’t openly promote the fake lease strategy on its website, it’s not hard to imagine that some of these radical non-profit squatter advocacy groups would privately endorse the idea in the name of addressing the “immoral” homeless crisis.

If you have a vacant home or rental property, I would watch it like a hawk. Squatters in possession of your house is just the latest chapter in the left’s bizarro world nightmare we can’t seem to wake up from.