Army reservist from Houston claims battle with squatter is costing her $50,000

Miya Shay Image
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Army reservist wants renter to pay unpaid dues or get out
A townhome owner is facing the challenge of a potential squatter situation while she's supposed to focus on her Army reserve duty.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- When Mikiya Barber signed up to serve in the U.S. Army Reserve, she never imagined her biggest battle would be over her own house in Houston.

"One person has cost me over $50,000," the 26-year-old first lieutenant said. "It's been emotionally draining to the point where I've had therapy. I wouldn't wish this on anyone."

Barber was just 25 years old last fall when she purchased a modest townhome located off Highway 288 and the South Beltway. She posted joyous photos on her Facebook page while her mother proudly showed off decorating her daughter's home.

Shortly thereafter, Barber said she was called up for active duty in Florida. That's when she decided to put her home up for rent.

Barber found a tenant, Natasha Timmons, and ran a background check on her. Things looked clear, and Timmons signed a lease. The rent on the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home was $2,000 a month. Timmons paid for two months, but that's it.

ABC13's complete coverage of Houston-area squatters

"Then, it started going downhill," Barber said. "I tried to make a payment plan for her. Then, she started threatening me to file bankruptcy and making sure I go through this process."

Court records show Timmons had a theft conviction back in 2003. More recently, she has filed four identical bankruptcy cases. Two filings came after she moved into Barber's home. Despite declaring bankruptcy, neighbors showed ABC13 video of Timmons and others in the home driving luxury cars and even washing the vehicles in the driveway.

Timmons on Monday appeared for a hearing via Zoom while Barber appeared in person at Harris County Court No. 3 in downtown Houston. Timmons told the judge that she no longer had any bankruptcy cases. The judge then ordered that she begin paying back the rent right away.

The judge also set a hearing for Monday, Sept. 18 at 1:30 p.m., where Timmons may be slapped with an eviction.

ABC13 tried talking to Timmons on Tuesday after the court hearing. She answered the door but quickly slammed it when Eyewitness News began asking questions.

"She is living in the house and making it known she's not leaving my house, but I'm excited for (Monday's hearing), and she'll be out soon," Barber, who looked visibly relieved after the latest court hearing, said.

Despite nine years in the Army Reserve, Barber said she was unprepared for the complexities and legal hurdles involved in getting a squatter out of the home she owns.

"I don't know why she doesn't want to let go of my home. I have even tried to do agreements with her," she said, adding she doesn't even care about the money at this point if Timmons would simply move out. "I'm not going to let this deter me."

Barber is due to head back to Florida to resume her job with the Army in a few days.

For news updates, follow Miya Shay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

SEE ALSO: NW Harris County neighborhood worried about 'illicit activity' after squatters take over home

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