'Finally they're out': Squatters living in SW Houston home move out after living there for 6 months

Miya Shay Image
Monday, June 19, 2023
Home where so-called 'professional squatters' took over now empty
For the first time in 2023, a realtor whose property was taken over by so-called "professional squatters" finally got to go inside a now-emptied home.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After a full year, a Houston public school teacher and her family have officially moved out of the home they were reportedly squatting in.

When ABC13 began looking into the issue of squatters in Houston, we were contacted by realtor Shanequa Garrett, who couldn't go inside a house she was authorized to sell because Amberlyn Prather and her family were living inside.

ORIGINAL REPORT: 13 Investigates: How squatters use the system to live in homes for free

"It's insane," Garrett said when we met her a few months ago. Garrett had to go to court several times, and the constable's offices insisted the issue was civil.

Finally, on June 15, the HISD school teacher and her family left. Once the house was empty, Garrett was able to go inside and figure out how the family broke into the home.

"They could climb on a trash can and climb on the roof," Garrett said from a second-floor bedroom. "From this window (which was loose), they can just open it from the outside and jump in. Because we kept getting the house rekeyed, and they kept getting in."

In May, ABC13 went to eviction court. We saw a judge agree with Garrett that Prather's lease was fake and ordered the fourth-grade teacher to move.


Eyewitness News can confirm that the squatters on Balmforth in Meyerland were told to leave the house they squatted.

Still, even though the judge ruled they should never have been in the house, it took weeks to remove the squatters.

"Finally, they're out," said Garrett with a sigh of relief. "Now it's to keep the squatters out completely. We don't want another situation like this."

Legal experts have told ABC13 that it's often expensive and tedious to get out squatters once they have moved in.

Therefore, it's crucial that houses up for lease or sale are secured and no trespassing signs posted.

Experts also recommend placing security cameras inside the home and visiting the empty property at least once a week.

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