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Colorado Family Kept Out Of Home 8 Months By Squatters Claiming Adverse Possession

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  • Colorado Family Kept Out Of Home 8 Months By Squatters Claiming Adverse Possession

    July 13, 2012

    Imagine coming home after being out of town for a few months only to find that your house has been taken over by squatters who claim they now own the property. Now imagine waiting eight months for a court to finally kick those squatters out. One family in Colorado doesn't have to imagine this horror story because it's their true story.

    This all goes back more than a year, when the husband landed a job that required him to relocate to Indiana. He moved away and the rest of the family followed last August. They tried to sell their home of 12 years before leaving, but opted to just turn off the utilities and winterize the house, with the goal of revisiting the real estate market later.

    Not long after they had departed for Indiana, a neighbor contacted them to say there was a new family living in the house.

    The couple came back and tried to talk to convince the squatters that they were the rightful owners of the house, but to no avail. The squatters claimed they had paid $5,000 to a third party -- a former real estate agent whose license had been revoked -- for a deed of “adverse possession."

    For those just coming into this whole adverse possession thing, it's a hold-over from a time when people who went broke would just abandon property they owned -- often failed farms -- because they could no longer maintain it. Adverse possession laws, which are different in every state, allowed people to take control of abandoned property on the condition that they maintain it and continue to pay utilities and taxes.

    Adverse possession has had a renaissance of sorts in recent years as people who think they are clever have tried to use it as a way to lay claim to houses abandoned by people who couldn't pay their mortgages. What most of these people don't understand is that adverse possession laws all give some sort of grace period for the rightful owner to reclaim their property. So even though there is an inventory of empty houses out there, the property is almost always still owned by a lender that foreclosed on the property.

    That isn't the case here, as the actual homeowners were still in possession of the home -- just living a few hundred miles away. They have been living in a family member's basement for the last several months.

    "I told her ‘What you’re doing is wrong, it’s illegal. I would really like you to move out of the home or we will take legal action against you,’" the wife tells CBS Denver.

    Yesterday, a judge in Colorado finally sided with the homeowners and gave the squatters 48 hours to get out.
    "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

    "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

  • #2
    Considering how many vacant foreclosed houses there are here--some, which have been untouched for years, and don't even have any "for sale" signage, etc.--I am surprised more people haven't come up with the idea of squatting in them. I'm sure most of these houses are in rather poor condition, but we have a very large homeless population here, and many people are struggling to pay their rent as it is, so the idea of free housing--even with the risk of arrest for trespassing--should be worth it to a lot of people. And a person caught squatting in a foreclosed house may not even be arrested if they come up with a convincing story, such as they are renting the house from a person on Craigslist, etc.


    • #3
      Interesting, but something doesn't add up. Adverse Possession in CO takes 18 years to mature (e.g. you need to be in possession of the property for 18 years). In any event, sounds like the squatters probably made some sort of good faith argument which may have tied it up in court...but who knows.


      • #4
        interesting. at least they got their house back.


        • #5
          So sad for everyone involved. I wonder what the inside of the home looks like? sammie
          Plan Completed 10 months early 09/24/2014 Discharged 11/04/2014

          Filed Ch 13 Aug. 2012 341 Meeting 09/12/2012 Confirmed 10/23/2012


          • #6
            One thing that doesn't make sense. Presuming that the doors were locked, wouldn't someone need to break into such an abandoned house before living in it - with that being a crime? (Perhaps in this instance, the real estate agent had a key - but then that would seem to impugn that agent.) I mean, this isn't like a piece of land out in the country where someone pitches a tent.


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