Beware of the plotting squatter in your own home…
Homeowner Heidi Peterson has found herself and her one year old daughter in the unenviable position of having to live with a squatter in her own home until a housing court decides on eviction proceedings.
According to Ms Peterson, the squatter, former tenant Missionary-Tracy Elaine Blair took over her residence whilst she was away for a year in which she was preparing on extensive home repairs.
The repairs finally completed Ms Peterson had the shock of her life when she returned to the house only to find the locks changed by Blair.
Yet what is beguiling is the fact that according to neighbors is Blair had been living in the house for months, something Ms Peterson was unawares of or should have at least been aware of (one wonders if neighbors at the very least informed her of Ms Blair’s presence).
If that wasn’t all enough, Ms Prentice then discovered to her further horror that Blair had managed to put a lien on the house, which she had told the city was abandoned. Which at the end of the day puts Ms Prentice and her one year old in the awkward position of being forced to live with Ms Blair who for the time being refuses to leave until her case has been heard by a housing court or at the very least she is issued an order to evict. The lien courtesy of Ms Blair is sure to make it particularly messy and time consuming to have Ms Peterson get rid of her.
What also makes this story fascinating is the fact that Ms Blair happened to have been Ms Prentice’s tenant two years ago and at the time did have a lease. Yet that lease was terminated in February of 2011 after it was deemed the house was deemed unfit for habitation.
So now here’s where things get tricky, cause I can all hear you homeowners in the background hyperventilating: According to the law, a squatter does not have legal rights to the property but that said if the squatter happens to exist there a homeowner is forbidden to remove a squatter by force.
The way it normally works is that Ms Peterson, like any homeowner (and I must apologize to every homeowner I have put through hell as I was rising up the ranks in my formative years as an aspiring writer and a vigilant squatter or at least what some would have argued at the time, but I’ll spare you that story for now)must file a civil action in court, prove it’s her property and then allow the court to take actions to evict the squatter.
For her part Ms Blair has argued that she is forced to remain where she is because she can not afford to go anywhere else and that she refuses to leave until the court requires her to do so, which forces the question where will Ms Blair end up living then? As an aside Detroit is no stranger to individuals squatting abandoned properties as well the city is no stranger to a huge dearth of poverty and ineffectual housing options for displaced individuals.
Ms Blair who coincidentally is on the ballot as a write in president of the United States (yes I thought that might make you choke on your soda pop) is now advocating as part of her political campaign a platform for ‘affordable housing.’
For the time being Ms Peterson and Ms Blair will be living under the same house but I’m guessing as far as possible from each other as possible….