Dealing With Abandoned Home Squatters
DETROIT, MI – The Great Recession magnified some of the biggest ills in our society. Problems that those who have a nice home, good stable job and food on the table every day just don’t look at or want to see. Some are issues that are hidden, even whispered about. One of the most basic needs in life is housing. So what are we to do if a person or family moves into an abandoned home on your block?
If you have never worked in the real estate industry, then this article might open your eyes a little to what takes place on a daily basis in the Detroit metro area. There are so many stories that could be told in this space about the unbelievable foreclosure process that pits property owners and banks against each other. But lets focus on where the property owner has walked away from the property and the bank now owns it. This is where the bank will then have a licensed real estate person “manage” that property.
Managing a property for a bank means that the real estate person will ensure that the home is locked and secured with new locks. The property is cleaned out of any debris that is left behind by the previous owners. In many cases this means large dumpsters filled to overflowing with nothing but unwanted trash. Depending on the neighborhood and the parcel, it could also mean having the windows boarded up to secure the structure even further. Lawns must be cut. Snow needs to be removed. All so the property can be placed up for sale and look the best that it can for the prospective buyer.
So once the real estate person has made sure that they have followed the guidelines of what is required by the bank, it is not enough to put the house on the MLS. They must keep a watchful eye on it at all times. Drug dealers love to use these properties, so they will break in and setup shop. If the house is nice enough, an individual or family will break in, change the locks, unboard the windows, hook up the electric illegally and call it home.
On one hand you cannot help but have your heart go out to these people because all they want is to have is a safe, secure home to call their own. On the other hand, as the real estate agent handling the day to day problems with the house, you become upset and angry because you feel like you are being taken advantage of, disrespected by those who have no right what so ever to be on the property. Then it gets worse.
As the person who is contractually legally responsible for the property, you must be ready for anything. And I do mean anything! You make it known to those in the house that you want them out immediately. From that point several things can happen or a combination of things.
- The door is slammed in your face
- An argument ensues where those occupying the house state that they have a right to be in the property because they have bought it or rented it. They produce documents of their claim. Obviously they have been ripped off by someone wanting their money. Happens all the time.
- A gun is placed to your head and all you want to do is get the hell out of there – ALIVE !
- Those occupying the property know that the law is on their side for the most part and you as the managing person have to swing the law to work for you.
Calling the police will not result very often in the desired result unless you as the person who owns or is responsible for that property can produce documents from the courts evicting those who are currently in possession of the house. But wait ! That was done when the original owners were told by the courts they had to move because they no longer owned the property. Your back at square one but with a whole new set of problems and people. The ugly revolving door of foreclosures and peoples lives.
Obviously this whole situation involves the rights of the banks and the rights of people who have basic human needs. As a society we can and must do better for those who are in need. It should not matter if it is one person or an entire family. We must find a way to not let them fall through the cracks. Laws also must be strengthened or rewritten to protect real estate professionals and the banks.