Squatters in the House! Police were called.
I have an REO listing in Antioch, CA, not quite on market yet. I've been working with the former owner so he can get the last of his belongings out of the house first. The bank has been cooperating.
A week ago, the 'owner' was at the house on Sunday, moving more of his stuff out. Stayed till 7pm. The next day he came back at 8am to find the garage door jammed down on a sofa in the GARAGE door. The house was without electricity, so it was probably related to that. The garage door had locked and couldn't be moved from the outside. This happened at 2am, and some of the neighbors saw it. Don't know why the squatters left so abruptly. There was more stuff in the garage, and on the front porch ( front porch all kid's stuff...8-(. The 'owner' pushed the sofa inside the garage and locked it. He has done a good job of clearing his stuff out - went there today to meet an appraiser. The house is 99% empty, in GOOD shape. But the squatter's stuff is still in the garage and on the front porch.
I called the non-emergency number for the Antioch police - they would send an officer out to meet with me. If this had been San Francisco, it could have taken all day. Officer Carter arrived in 45 minutes and apologized for being late - an accident on the freeway. Kudos to the Antioch police!!
I told him the story, and he had some good advice for me. Very helpful. There have been other cases where people have moved in to vacant houses, had the utilities put in their name, and called it their own. Once they have established a length of time in the house it takes cash for keys or an eviction to get them out.
· Have the home rekeyed. Don't use combo lock boxes for the time being - they can be removed with bolt cutters.
· Check on the house at least one a week. If someone has moved in call the police. The longer they are there, the greater chance they have of making more problems.
· Put a NO TRESSPASSING notice near the front door and document it. It is NOT for rent.
· Talk to the neighbors, get them involved. Tell them that no one should be living in the house. Ask them to call the police or you if they see something suspicious. They all want a safe neighborhood.
· At first he suggested I have the squatter's stuff taken out of the garage to curbside. But since that would clutter up the neighborhood and call attention......and the stuff was put there illegally, just have it removed and hauled away, especially since they haven't tried to come back after a week.
· DONE, DONE AND DONE!
John M Scott, Broker / Owner, Scott Keys Properties, Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers (CRB), serving San Francisco and the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area