LIFE

Homeowner Is At Work, Then Neighbor Spots Strangers Moving Into Her House

by Emerald Pellot
Emerald Pellot graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a degree in Writing & Popular Culture. She worked as Senior Editor of College Candy for 2 years, covering feminism, popular culture, and college life before joining LittleThings in 2015. Based in New York City, Emerald covers a wide range of topics from human interest pieces to celebrity news.

Reena Chandi is a homeowner who rents her space out to others. After her tenant moved out, the home was vacant for about 10 days.

Then she got a call from her neighbor.

The neighbor noticed people moving into the home. They were quickly moving in a washer, a dryer, and a refrigerator, along with all their belongings.

“Basically everything a house needs, they were even putting up their decoration pieces,” Chandi said. “And they had changed the locks.”

The people moving in were squatters. Chandi quickly called the police. When deputies arrived, the squatters were right in the middle of moving their things in.

Under the California Tenant Law, squatters are legally allowed to take refuge in vacant homes.

“Once they’re in that property, in some cases it is very hard to get them out of that property without legally evicting them,” said Ray Pruitt from the sheriff’s office.

But eviction can take months, even years. Police often cannot do much about squatters if they present paperwork that looks like a legal agreement between them and the homeowner. However, many times the paperwork is fraudulent.

“They know the system and they know how to play the system,” Chandi said.

Fortunately, Chandi had the paperwork to prove that she’s the rightful owner of the home and the squatters had no legal standing.

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