Veronica Fernandez-Beleta and Jose Rafael Leyva-Caraveo Squat in Colorado

It was bad enough that Veronica Fernandez-Beleta and Jose Rafael Leyva-Caraveo were inside someone’s home, squatting there, refusing to leave when told that their presence was not legal. They stayed there squatting for 8 months after being informed that they had to leave.  But it got worse when, in another illustration of the stupidity of the justice system and the way it invites scams, the owners of the home were blocked from evicting these squatters, once Veronica filed for bankruptcy.

A marvelously stupid law protects squatters and enables them to stay put, if they simply file for bankruptcy. Who wouldn’t then just file for bankruptcy to block the eviction??

“The sheriff’s office will not proceed with an eviction if there is a bankruptcy in question,” Arapahoe County Undersheriff David Walcher told CBS4.

See the article here:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/bankruptcy-stalls-squatters-eviction-article-1.1127296

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Frances Moore Wont’ Leave when Evicted in Oakland

Frances Moore is refusing to leave her apartment after receiving a legal eviction notice in Oakland, and being feted as a heroine.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, as in many urban centers on the West and East coasts, the costs of housing are rising and the supply of affordable housing is dwindling. At the same time, the media and tenant and housing activists decry the “gentrification” of neighborhoods. This and the fact that many legal aid societies exist to provide free legal aid to low-income tenants, means that many renters, after receiving an eviction notice, are enabled to remain on the premises both by the prevailing “anti-gentrification” attitude, as well as by free assistance received from the legal aid groups (which do NOT provide free legal assistance to low income landlords) In essence these renters often have the attitude that the property they rent belongs to them, rather than to the property owner, or that the month to month or year lease that they signed, really meant that they were entering a lifelong rental contract — yet there exists no such contract.  And the tenant legal aid agencies  support this entitled attitude.

While it is certainly true that some property owners will try to illegally evict renters simply in order to raise the rent, it is nevertheless still true (even in the progressive Bay Area!) that people have a right to live in their own property.  You wouldn’t think so from some of the articles you read, like this one

https://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/pending-eviction-of-former-black-panther-aunti-frances-highlights-just-cause-loophole/Content?oid=11538952

or this

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/12/oakland-gentrification-eviction-black-panther-francis-moore

Here a woman is attempting to move into her own building and live on her own property, and the media are describing her desire to live in her own building and choose her tenants,  as a “legal loophole.”

East Bay Express writer Sam Lefebvre is in the above article arguing that the property owner has no right to live in her own building and/or choose her housemates/tenants. The  slant of the article is that this eviction of Frances Moore makes use of a “loophole”, rather than a property owner’s legal right. While it may be true that in some cases a landlord will only pretend to move into the building in order to evict someone, absent any evidence indicating that this is occurring, it is wrong to make such an accusation. In Oakland, (and we hope, everywhere else) it is still legal to evict someone in order to live in your own property. It is also legal for a property owner living in a duplex or triplex in Oakland, to decide whom they want to live with on their property, as opposed to being held prisoner on their own property, forced into a years or decades long relationship, by a prohibition on evicting a tenant. This is not a “legal loophole”, it is an owner’s right.

This East Bay Express article seemingly seeks to build support for another kind of ownership, one based on political correctness. Apparently, Frances Moore has the “right” to stay in property which she does not own, and fight to prevent the owner from living in her own property, because Frances Moore is black, and has been a community activist and longtime doer of good deeds in the neighborhood. By contrast the property owner is apparently (so one article suggests) a young white person who was assisted by her parents in buying her first property. The article not so subtly implies that those who are white, are the villians, the gentrifiers, the intruders. Natalia Morphy apparently has no right to buy property in a black neighborhood with the intent to live in it. Much less to choose who will be her housemates.

Simon-Weisberg (Frances Moore’s attorney) said she has seen a sharp increase in these kinds of evictions – sometimes from young white landlords in their 20s who purchase properties with their parents’ help.

Most of the articles on this site, are profiling those who engage in serial squatting or scamming of landlords, rather than in a single case of fighting an eviction. But in this case, the situation is so distorted, with Frances being portrayed as a victim and hero, while the property owner victimized by the tenant is being portrayed as a villian and “gentrifier”, that it seems there is a need to clarify…Frances Moore has been served with notice of a legal eviction, and has not left the premises. Thus as I see it, she is squatter.

Frances Moore gathered a crowd to publicly shame this poor property owner and voice her intent to stay on the premises:

On Sunday, Aunti Frances led more than 100 supporters — the preschoolers again, plus activists associated with organizations including POOR Magazine and Anti Police-Terror Project — from Driver Plaza to Natalia Morphy’s doorstep, banners and a marching band in tow. The chant went, “Which side are you on, Natalia? Which side are you on?” Her blinds were drawn. A cat eyed the demonstrators from the window. Aunti Frances knocked and shouted, “I will not be removed.”

So once again, here’s the simple truth that is being suppressed: Frances Moore is refusing to leave after being served with a legal eviction notice — which in the opinion of many of us, is the definition of squatting.
The legal aid agencies which support her, enable malfeasance against property owners, and cause property owners enormous expense. Wanting to live in one’s own property and choose one’s tenants, is not a legal loophole, it is a legal right.

 

Shontay Jordan, Squatter in NYC

Shontay Jordan will not leave the apartment she got into using a Section 8 Housing Voucher, even though her voucher has expired.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/09/16/staten-island-alleged-squatter/

See the video about the news report on this, here:

http://cbsloc.al/1Jcl892

The owner is trying to evict her, but the process is extremely slow:

Lim is trying to get a housing court judge to issue an eviction order – one of the most painfully slow bureaucratic exercises in New York City.

Beth Rifkin, Squatter in San Francisco

This article tells the story of Beth Rifkin, who tried to illegally squat and remain past the end date of her Airbnb reservation without paying rent in an Airbnb host’s home in San Francisco. The host had her removed by the police, after which she obtained help from a tenant attorney in SF to try to sue the host for “illegal eviction.”

http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Airbnb-blurs-lines-between-visitors-tenants-5535061.php

Beth Rifkin had formerly been evicted and refused to leave the property when legally required to do so, necessitating an unlawful detainer suit to extract her from the property owner’s property.

These screenshots show the very long series of court actions required to get her out of the property where she was illegally squatting.

From the date the unlawful detainer was filed on June 17 2011, it took 8 months until Beth Rifkin was removed from the premises with the writ of possession issued on February 24 2012. So she squatted for 8 months on that property.

In a separate legal action, apparently Beth Rifkin’s former roommate had sued her over a security deposit not returned.

Maksym and Denys Pashanin, Squatters in a Palm Springs Airbnb

These two individuals, Maksym Pashanin and Denys Pashanin, made the news when they booked a stay at a Palm Springs Airbnb listing, a condominium, and then refused to leave when their reservation was over.

When the owner of the condominium pressured them to leave, they threatened her saying they would be “pressing charges.”

These stories appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle;

http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Squatters-don-t-sit-well-with-Airbnb-hosts-5631952.php

http://blog.sfgate.com/techchron/2014/08/21/airbnb-squatters-leave-palm-springs-condo/

Lori Chase and Jessica Delfino, Squatters

Lori Chase and Jessica Delfino

These two women, who were girlfriends, stayed at San Diego Airbnb host’s home, in 2015 — the stay was booked by Alfred and Sharon Chase, for their daughter Lori and her girlfriend Jessica.

Host’s first mistake was accepting a third party booking.

https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2015/sep/09/feature-when-your-airbnb-guest-wont-leave/?page=1&

It began back in January, when a couple whose Airbnb profile is listed as “Alfred and Sharon” contacted Kristen Lang through the online community marketplace about her room for rent. “We are signed up for Airbnb but we are seeking a month’s stay for our daughter and her girlfriend who are moving to San Diego and will be looking for jobs,” the message began. Their intention was to pay for their daughter Lori, 38, and her girlfriend Jesse, 30, to stay for one month, in order “to help them out.” Well instead of “helping them out” it seems that perhaps the more likely story was shoveling a problem from one place to another.

Lang checked out Alfred and Sharon’s profile, and saw only positive reviews from past connections made through the site. “I thought, okay, this seems fine. .”

But it wasn’t fine, when the two women refused to leave at the end of their reservation.

Struggling to find a way to encourage the women to depart, Lang changed the Wi-Fi password, and the women “lost their minds,” she says. “They’re addicted to World of Warcraft.” In a text message to Lang, Lori wrote, “We see that you turned off access to the internet for us this morning. This is also illegal. We view your actions and conversations as hostile, please be advised that any further verbal conversation with us will be recorded via audio/video.” In a separate text, Lori also said, “We do not want to live with you, but we will exercise our rights to the full extent of the law.”

 

John Kaipaka, Serial Squatter, Destroys Apartment, Causing over $20k in Damage

John Kaipaka is a serial squatter who has done massive damage to at least one apartment.

In October 2013, an Oakland landlord who had an apartment building, rented a studio apartment there to John Kaipaka, who was being sponsored by a Berkeley agency called Shelter Plus Care, which helps chronically homeless people by providing them subsidies to obtain housing. After moving into the premises, John Kaipaka gradually destroyed the whole apartment, apparently stealing parts of it (fixtures) and selling them. He removed half the ceiling, disconnected the plumbing and flooded the apartment (which later caused mold damage). Even the toilet and sink were removed by John and sold off, apparently to feed his methamphetamine addiction, says a source who knew him personally.

John Kaipaka:

Even though she became aware of the destruction of her premises in summer 2014, and filed an unlawful detainer suit in August 2014, it was not until 7 months later in March 2015 when the Oakland landlord was finally able to get him out of her property. This delay in the eviction process was caused by the East Bay Community Law Center, which gives “help” to low-income tenants, including, apparently, criminals and serial squatters. The apartment was a complete loss and she had over $20,000 in property damage as well as attorney and court fees.

It was later discovered that John Kaipaka had been evicted 7 times previously as there were 7 previous unlawful detainer lawsuits filed against John Kaipaka.

He also had criminal charges, as found on court records.

In sum — John Kaipaka, who was a low income tenant and thus recieved free legal aid, was enabled by the East Bay Community Law Center and other agencies to effectively steal 3.5 years of rent/accomodations from 8 different landlords.

The entire story is told here:

https://homelessquandary.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/she-tried-to-help-the-homeless-ended-up-with-over-10000-in-damaged-property/


He removed half the ceiling from the apartment:

removed the flooring from the bathroom, removed toilet and put a broken toilet in its place: (etc)

Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair, Squatter in Detroit

A homeowner was away from her house for several months, and when she came back, there was someone living in her house, who refused to leave. This someone was “Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair”

Bizarrely, and in another example of the horrendous laws that give not only malicious tenants but also squatters far too many “rights”, the homeowner was not allowed to have the squatter removed!

A squatter doesn’t have a legal right to the property, but under the law the homeowner cannot remove a squatter by force. In most cases, the homeowner has to file a civil action in court, prove it’s their property and evict the squatter. That is what Peterson is now attempting to do.

Since Peterson has spent all of her money on the house, she said she can’t afford to go anywhere else, and so until she can legally kick the woman out, they are forced to live under the same roof.

How tragically ridiculous that anyone would have to file a court action to “prove” that their property is their own property.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/10/10/forced-to-live-alongside-squatter-in-my-detroit-house-woman-says.html

2nd article about this situation:
https://detroit.curbed.com/2013/1/9/10286996/woman-who-lived-with-squatter-is-not-happy-with-detroit

“Missionary Tracey Elaine Blair” — a malicious squatter:

However, some new laws have been passed to help protect property owners in Detroit, after squatting became particularly problematic there.

See this article about 2 new laws passed in 2014:

https://detroit.curbed.com/2014/8/18/10059508/there-are-some-new-squatters-laws-on-the-books-in-michigan

The new laws:

1. HB 5069/PA 223 amends the revised judicature act to allow a landlord to use force (but not including assault) and self-help when recovering possession of premises from a person who came into possession by trespass (squatting).
Translation: Previously, an eviction action (unlawful detainer) had to be filed in court to remove all occupants even if they did not have a valid lease. Now, for occupants who are there illegally or as a result of trespassing the landlord can use “self-help” to remove the sqautters. (This does not apply to residents that had a lease that has expired). This allows the landlord to change the locks and remove items belonging to the residents. Physically removing a person is not allowed as that is technically assault. However, combined with the other new laws that make squatting a crime, you could have a squatter arrested by the police.

2. HB 5070/PA 224 makes squatting in a single family house or a duplex a misdemeanor for the first offense, with a $5,000 maximum fine and 180 day maximum sentence; and a felony for second and subsequent offenses, with a $10,000 maximum fine and a 2 year maximum sentence.
Translation: This is a new law. Squatting was not a crime before, other than trespassing, and in fact, Michigan also has a law allowing adverse possession, otherwise known as “squatters rights.” Previously the real owner had to file charges for trespassing.

3. HB 5071/PA 225 identifies the felony for second and subsequent squatting offenses as a class G felony with a 2 year maximum sentence.
Translation:A legal expert at the city explains that that this law is tougher, but not to expect many more convictions. “For the most part most squatters are doing it because they need to. However, I think it will make it much easier for property owners to take over foreclosures and auction properties if they don’t have to proceed through the whole eviction process for every new property they acquire.”

HEre is a video about some freeloader squatters who just “grabbed” an abandoned house and started living there:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UraeMncpkhc

Jesse Gubb: Serial Illegal Subletting, Turning Homes into Hostels

Jesse Gubb claimed that he wanted to rent out the beautiful Toronto home for himself and his family. But once he moved in, he began his real career as a serial fraudster. He began turning the home into a hostel, illegally subletting space and cramming 20 to 25 people into the 4 bedroom home.

“It was horrifying,” says Verma. “I barely recognized it as my own home. Walls had been put up everywhere. We couldn’t tell which room was which. The basement, which had been renovated the year before, was unrecognizable.”

Since 2013, he has fraudulently secured leases for at least four houses and rented them out to as many people as he could squeeze in. Based on his Lakeview earnings, multiplied by four houses, he would have been raking in roughly $200,000 a year.

See the articles:

https://torontolife.com/real-estate/jesse-gubb-the-tenant-from-hell/

http://nationalpost.com/news/toronto/couple-who-leased-out-their-toronto-home-shocked-to-discover-it-was-turned-into-illegal-boarding-house

Mike Lemke, Scammer and Bully in Toronto

Mike Lemke is a serial scammer.

As reported in the article on the CBC news, this Toronto man has engaged in numerous rental scams in a certain trendy downtown neighbourhood of Toronto, where he has allegedly ripped off multiple landlords and prospective roommates for tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid rent and cash deposits.

Mike Lemke, 33, allegedly used fake references to rent three high-end Liberty Village condos, only to stop paying rent shortly after moving in.

Landlords say that, when confronted, Lemke was evasive and aggressive, remaining in the condos for months as the eviction process moved through the Landlord and Tenant Board of Ontario.

In at least one case, during the eviction process, Lemke also engaged in illegal subletting. he advertised a bedroom for rent in the unit — without permission — and allegedly took cash deposits from interested renters, only to tell them the room was no longer available just days before the move-in date.

In at least one case the deposit, which exceeded $2,000, has not been returned to the interested renter.

Two of Lemke’s former landlords put up posters of him in the area in an attempt to gather more information.[/quote]

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/liberty-village-tenant-1.4400262

Tales from the Landlord Side