A while back, I wrote about some squatters that had moved in next door to me. Here is the “Rest of the Story” as the late Paul Harvey would say.
After many months of haggling, the owner’s parents were able to get a judge to order them out after a certain period of time. The notice was attached to their door. (They would never open the door if someone knocked.) When the time came, of course, they made no effort to move out. They asked through the door for a time extension. The owners were advised that this would open a whole new can of worms and they demanded their property back. Next step, the police were called: four cars and maybe a half dozen officers.
They still refused to open he door. Finally a locksmith had to be called. The officers put on their bulletproof vests and waited for the door to be opened, which it finally was. Out came the apparent husband, who we were not sure ever existed because no one had seen him in some time. The reason? He rode his motorcycle right into the living room through the front door when he arrived home late in the evening. There was a rather nice car parked in the driveway which we later learned was a leased or rented car which had never had any payments applied to it — in other words, a stolen car.
Step back a moment. When they first moved in we went over to welcome them to our beautiful neighborhood. When we asked where their two children went to school we were advised that they were home schooled. Of course! You do need a legitimate address to register a child in school. They informed us that they were renting the house.
Once I learned that they were in fact squatters, a part of me felt sorry for them. Had they reached such a state of misery that their only hope was to steal a home and live there for free? Were they that desperate? Once the police got the door opened, they were told to remove all their belongings and take them with them as they left. The remainder was to be left on the front lawn and they could pick it all up the next day. One of the policemen found in the house a shotgun that had the stock cut away — hardly used for shooting Quail.
I was still feeling a bit sorry for them, especially because there were two children involved and what kind of explanation could the squatters give to them?
Once I was allowed to enter the house, I lost any and all sympathy I had had for these people. The kid’s room was as disgusting a place as I had ever encountered. I have seen kennels in better and cleaner shape. The shower was completely covered in mold; a situation that could have been remedied by a $2 bottle of Clorox. All of the seven sliding glass doors had been broken and repaired with duct tape. How anyone could allow themselves to live like this baffles me.
The worst part of all this is that the police that were called say they have to do this all the time. There are so many of these squatters around that it is consuming a disproportionate amount of their time. Just take a look as you drive around. Either everyone is expecting a hurricane or these boarded/shuttered houses are abandoned and have yet to be foreclosed on. The banks, I am told, do not want to foreclose because that shows up on their balance sheets and that is not what their stockholders want to see.
I was at a meeting the other day when Miami-Dade Commissioner Lynda Bell advised us of a new problem with housing. People were happy that foreigners were coming to our area and buying houses. What is really happening is that they are coming up here with bags full of cash and paying higher prices than what the houses are worth. This now excludes local buyers who must get a mortgage (remember those). What bank will turn down a cash offer rather than grant a mortgage. Good luck to anyone expecting a deal on a foreclosed house.