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Homeownership

Texas cops can’t remove squatter despite his trashing property, annoying neighbors

When a squatter sets up shop in Texas, authorities can’t always just swoop in when the chain of title is convoluted, no matter how awful the tenant is.

Crazy tales of squatting are nothing new, but a Dallas area neighborhood is up in arms as a renter disturbs residents and claims to not be a squatter. Most argue otherwise.

“We can’t sleep, and my daughter has to listen to music at night to drown out the dogs,” one neighbor tells CBS DFW.

But it’s not just noise. Others note he refuses to care for the yard, the house is in disrepair, and the noise is unbearable. There is no longer running water to the house, there are holes in the roof, the bushes are dead, there’s trash that isn’t picked up, and the fence continues to collapse.

The city says the resident tapped into the water illegally, so they shut it off, determining that he was a squatter.

dallas-house

So who actually owns the home?

But herein lies the problem – the police can’t kick him out because it is unclear who actually owns the house. The tenant says he’s paying rent (by giving a friend money who gives it to an agency), but as the home remains “in some sort of mortgage limbo or ownership limbo,” a detective explained to CBS, adding, “Where the money would go from there isn’t clear.”

Law enforcement says there are two couples involved in the ownership, both of whom deny responsibility for the numerous code violations, which are now being directed to the man who says he’s there legally.

Squatter laws in Texas are more complicated than some other states, putting law enforcement in a tight position.

This is why consumers must be dubious

Let’s say that this renter found a listing for this beautiful brick home online and ponied up a deposit and is sending off money to who he thinks is the appropriate party. Perhaps he’s the one that got scammed here.

This reinforced why consumers must be dubious of rental listings and go directly to a verifiable source – the MLS or sites like realtor.com which doesn’t allow “for rent by owner” listings, only listings verified through the MLS. This layer of scrutiny then allows the potential renter to meet with the listing agent (whose photo is most likely associated with the listing or at least Google-able), lending verification to the process by using a licensed real estate professional who is accountable to licensing boards.

Here are some other crazy squatter tales:

We’ve told you many squatter tales in years past, some are scary and others are excruciatingly frustrating just to read:

#Squatter

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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