Friday, September 16, 2011

Cops Caught In Middle Of Dispute In Alleged Home Hijacking Scam; Owner In Foreclosure Has The Deed, Unknown Occupants Have Lease, Rental Receipts

In Bakersfield, California, KERO-TV Channel 23 reports:

  • Kern County deputies were called to a home where squatters may have taken over, but the people in the home will get to stay there for now.

  • The home near Morning Drive and Niles Street went into foreclosure. When the owner couldn't keep up the house payments he moved out and tried to give it back to the bank. He says the bank wouldn't take it so he remained the legal owner of the home even though he wasn't living there or making house payments. Then he discovered people living inside the house.


  • When Kern County deputies showed up Tuesday, the owner showed them his deed. Deputies said they also verified with the bank that the man is the legal owner of the house. But the people living there said they have a lease.

  • "They produced rental receipts, a rental agreement and receipts that they have paid since December of last year,” said Kern County Sheriff’s Office Senior Deputy Paul Leonard.

  • Deputies said that since the mortgage crisis began, cases of squatting have become more common. They said because they can’t prove who is right and who is wrong, the people living at the home can stay until the courts can figure it out. "Based upon what they have told us and he has told us and the documents that has been provided, it appears that it is a civil dispute," Leonard said.

For more, see Man Says Squatters Took Over His Empty House (Alleged Squatters Moved In During Foreclosure Process).

For follow-up story, see Alleged Squatters Say They Are Victims (Renters Say Fake Landlord Scammed Them):

  • [Purported tenant Jessika] Vapnar and her roommates say they moved in after driving through the neighborhood looking for a house to rent. They say they found a woman in the front yard of the house who said she was the owner and the house was for rent. The renters say she had keys to the house so they thought everything was legitimate.


  • She says they only have contact with the woman they pay rent to when she comes to get the rent once a month. The receipts they have for the $900 they pay every month are signed with only the first name Gloria. [...] Vapnar and her roommates say the do have a signed rental agreement with the mysterious woman. Deputies took it as part of their investigation. They say they are continuing to investigate the case.

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