BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) -- A renter in Baytown says a squatter has moved into her home rent-free and refuses to leave.
Brittany Ramirez rents a home on Glenhaven Drive and told ABC13 she went out of town for a few days for business and asked a woman whom she knew through her neighbor to feed her dogs.
She came back and said the woman broke into her backdoor, moved in, and refuses to leave.
"She is sleeping on my bed in my bedroom, and she has taken everything I have of value in my home and either gotten rid of it or sold it," Ramirez said.
According to Ramirez, she has never given the woman permission to stay at her house and never gave her keys. Ramirez said she has an 8-year-old so she decided to move out because she doesn't want her child in the same home as the woman who won't leave.
ACTION 13: Submit your Renters' Rights questions
ABC13 knocked on the door and the woman answered.
"Do you pay rent for this house?" ABC13's Brooke Taylor asked after the woman accused of squatting.
"We are taking over the lease because what happened was, is she didn't want to live here anymore," she said.
However, ABC13 obtained the rental agreement from the property owner listed as Sterlchee Corp. According to the agreement, Ramirez is listed as the tenant until May 2023, and the owner said she has never spoken to the woman living there now. She said she has not received rent and is not interested in collecting rent from anyone not listed on the lease.
ABC13's Brooke Taylor asked the woman what she has to say to people who consider her squatting.
"I'd say look up the definition because squatting is finding a vacant place, deciding you are going to move in there and stay there, and that's what you are going to do," she said.
When asked whether that's what she's doing, she said no. She called the accusations "insanity."
"You don't just go and find somewhere and say, 'Oh, hey, I'd love to move over there, and the person that lives there is going to move out.' That's insanity," she said.
However, that is exactly what the homeowner and current tenant are accusing her of doing.
"She broke into my computer and somehow downloaded all my files and companies' files onto an external drive, gotten into my credit cards, changed my bills and internet settings," Ramirez said. "It's just crazy."
Ramirez has called Baytown police several times but says the woman staying there is telling police they had some sort of agreement and may have forged other documents.
ABC13 has contacted Baytown police about why she is allowed to stay there, despite no legal documents listing her as the tenant.
On Tuesday, Baytown police responded to our requests for comment with the following statement: "The Baytown Police Department is aware of the situation. We have been working with Ms. Ramirez to assist her in resolving this issue. After further review, it appears this incident is a civil case and must be reviewed in civil court."
While the owner is going the legal route to evict the woman, legal expert Steve Shellist tells ABC13 this is clear criminal trespassing and he does not understand why police have not charged her.