Squatters cause problems for former homeowner

September 4, 2012 5:04:41 PM PDT
One local woman is locked in a real estate headache. She moved out of her home to avoid foreclosure and now she says someone is squatting in her former house. That's causing big problems with the mortgage company.

Days after she moved out, Katrina Collins says she got a call from her mortgage company, questioning her as to who she let move into her home. She had no idea what they where talking about. Now she knows. They're squatters refusing to leave.

Collins moved out of her home of 14 years last month. Days later, she discovered a squatter had settled in and refused to leave.

"She said, 'I'm not going to argue with you, but I'm not going anywhere. If you want me out you need to evict me.' That's what she said to me," Collins told Eyewitness News.

Collins was in a financial bind and to avoid foreclosure she agreed to a "deed in lieu." The mortgage company paid her $2,000 to relocate and they took possession of the home. After she moved out, the mortgage company learned someone else moved in, and even brought the family pet.

"I got a call from the mortgage company asking me had I leased out the property because there was someone living here that said that they were leasing the property from me," said Collins.

The squatter wouldn't come to the door, but claimed to Collins she filed adverse possession on the home. It's a real law, but doesn't allow for someone to just move in.

"There is such a doctrine, such a law in Texas, and if you live somewhere for 10 years adverse to somebody else's interest, you can acquire an interest in the property, but you have no right to simply live there during that period," said Richard Alderman, The People's Lawyer.

The squatter has changed the locks and is in the process of being evicted. Collins says they're not squatters, just thieves.

"I think that they are fraudulent and they are stealing a place to stay. They don't have any rightful ownership to this property. They don't have the right to be here. They saw an empty house, they took advantage of it and they just moved in," Collins said.

The mortgage company has settled with Collins and she has moved to a different area. As for the squatters, they still refuse to move out, so the mortgage company is having to legally evict them.


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