Couple: Squatters living in Detroit home being purchased - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Couple: Squatters living in Detroit home being purchased

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A couple says squatters are living in this home on Detroit's west side.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) A couple says squatters are living in this home on Detroit's west side. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

"This is my house.  I worked so hard to get this house," said Orna Spencer.

It was supposed to be a happy day.  The papers signed and time to move into a home on Five Points Road on Detroit's west side.  Spencer, her husband and infant daughter were supposed to be living there, but squatters moved in.  The couple and the real estate agent were left standing outside baffled as to what to do with a house full of strangers.

"There were chairs on the lawn.  There were curtains in the window.  We knew that there were people in the house, but no one was supposed to be there," Spencer explained.  "I broke out in tears because I was supposed to move into this house on Monday."

The Spencers called the cops, but police can't just kick people out of a house, even if it's yours.  Real estate attorney Rod Dunlap explained why.

"If they have evidence that clearly this person's a trespasser, then they will sometimes be willing to kick the person out, but if there's any type of a legal issue on it, a lot of times you'll have the police officer saying this is a civil matter.  Let's let the courts make a decision on that."

The Spencers said they've had talks with the couple that is now squatting in the house.  The couple told the Spencers they bought the house for $10,000 from a mystery man.  Now HUD is in the process of evicting this couple, but that could take anywhere from three to six months.

"Their claim to us was that they paid $10,000 for this house to some gentleman that has no paperwork, no proof of anything, and if it's going to put them on the street, yes, I feel bad for them, but I can't feel bad for them more than I feel bad for myself because I have to take care of my family," Spencer said.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has taken the house, so the Spencers don't have to take the squatters to court.  HUD is now mowing the lawn.  They've also posted an ultimatum on the front door, but the door on this matter isn't closed yet.  It's another issue regarding squatter's rights.  If they stay for too long, their rights have to be considered by a judge.

"It definitely takes time.  No doubt about it.  In the meantime, if the person's a squatter, a trespasser, that's to their advantage because they're staying somewhere for free," said Dunlap.

"When we get here, they're telling us that they bought the house.  There is no way that you could buy a house that is owned by HUD, and I have the proof and the paperwork," said Spencer.

There's more paperwork to be done before the Spencers move in for good.

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