Family can't get squatters out of home
Colorado residents come home to find strangers living in their house. Eight months later, they are still waiting to get back in.
Here is your worst nightmare: You go temporarily to another town for work, and when you come back, another family has taken over your house.
That happened to the Donovan family of Littleton, Colo. The Donovans have been pursuing legal action for eight months to get their home back.
Back in March 2011, Troy Donovan got a job in Indiana, and his wife, Dayna, and two daughters moved with him. After months of trying to sell their Colorado house, the family gave up, winterized the place and turned off the utilities, expecting their vacant home to be waiting for them when they returned.
But to their surprise, it was not. Neighbors informed them other people had moved in.
Post continues below
"We show up at the house, and we say, ‘Look, I’m Troy Donovan, this is my wife, Dayna, we own this home,’" Donovan told CBS4 in Denver. But the occupants refused to leave.
Veronica Fernandez-Beleta and Jose Rafael Leyva-Caraveo said that the home was theirs and that they had paid Alfonso Carillo $5,000 for a deed of "adverse possession," according to the TV station. It's unclear whether they believed they could really get a house for $5,000 or if they were making additional payments. "I am sad and confused and distressed," Fernandez-Beleta tearfully told CBS4.
According to the TV station, Carillo, a former real-estate agent who was stripped of his license, has been part of at least a dozen schemes throughout the Denver area. Carillo has refused to talk to the TV station and has filed federal lawsuits against law-enforcement agencies accusing them of harassing the Hispanic residents of the homes. Carillo is facing criminal charges.
The homes taken over included a property worth nearly $1 million and the home of a man who was in a hospital for several months, who had to hire a lawyer to have the occupants evicted.
"I thought it was my house and all I had to do was come down and say, 'This is my house. Get out.' And it didn’t turn out that way," said Larry Asbery, who has since died, to CBS4 earlier this year.
Adverse possession is a legal mechanism through which someone gains control of another's property by "hostile, open and notorious" use for a period of years – 18 in Colorado, or seven if the occupants pay the taxes. The doctrine is used most commonly in border disputes.
But there have been a number of schemes nationwide in which squatters have claimed they could take over vacant homes through adverse possession, as well as schemes in which people sold or rented homes they didn't own.
The Donovans have been living in a relative's basement and were elated Thursday when a judge ruled in their favor.
"We get to get out of the basement, get a full home to live in," Dayna Donovan told CBS4. "A home we created and worked very hard in, as well."
But as of Sunday, the Donovans were still waiting. Troy Donovan wrote on the CBS4 website:
Yes we had a Judge rule in our favor and gave them 48 hrs to vacate. They aren't budging. They are STILL living there and won't move out!! They were aware that they were being scammed the second we got back to Colorado because we told them. That was 6 weeks ago. Let alone when we found out they were living there in March we sent Littleton PD over to our house and that's when they produced the phony documents and were allowed to stay there. They have had plenty of time to move. They are running this thing to the very very end. We now have to pay Arapahoe County Sheriffs to evict them, but we can't do anything until Monday then we will get a date of when they will go there and physically remove them. So in short, NO WE DID NOT GET OUR HOME BACK IN 48 HRS. This is an outrage!!!
Oh my hell! Now it's Obama's fault. Do you people not have brains to THINK?
Nice to see some intelligent responses other than mine. Thank you. As far as uneducated racists who love to be outlaw vigilantes, Texas grows a lot of them. Wouldn't hurt my feelings to see the state secede from the Union. If they had done it 20 years ago we'd wouldn't have had the debacle we did under Texan George W Bush.
Some of you responding are unbelievable. The only thing worse than stealing is hate and murder which some of you are suggesting! No wonder this world is in the state its in. There's no question these people should get their home back. But violence, hatred and using their race as a reason is ridiculous. Trust me, Americans have done WAY worse things than this. The law will get it sorted out, I applaud the Donovans for doing it the right way! Be patient and you'll get it back!
So I get it, you can be scammed of the most expensive asset you will EVER purchase, and have to pay to rectify the situation. Makes sense to me - NOT ONE BIT !!!!! I have had to deal with some pretty insane real estate issues this year myself and was ready to blow . . . but this is the ultimate slap in the face. Maybe there is a loophole re the eviction so the REAL homeowner will not have to pay. Personally I would be hauling their s**t out the house in a heartbeat w/the sheriff at hand!!!!!!!!!!! Good Luck Donovan's . . . ;)
Digging deeper... There MUST be people working on the inside of utility companies that alert these
'fg' scammers as to who has moved out and turned off electric etc..
How else would they know a house is vacant unless they just 'happen' to see a vacant house - NOT likely
in most circumstances.
These people knew what the hell they were doing or at least the husband did!
The law needs to be changed so this can't continue to happen!!!!!!
They just moved into a fully furnished house ..... yeah right!
OUR LAWS NEED TO PROTECT US... NOT THEM!
This story grates on every level. The homeowners have had to pay legal fees and now will have to pay to have these people physically removed. Why is it that those who are wronged end up having to bear the financial burden of having the law enforced?
Who is naive enough to believe that a house can be purchased for $5000 when that amount doesn't even pay for a year's rent? They know they're being dishonest and are stealing from the Donovans; they should be jailed for disobeying a court order, at the very least. And as other posters have pointed out, the crooked realtor should be jailed for fraud...why isn't he? Why is it that this kind of dishonest act isn't prosecuted?
Responding to the multitude of comments on here re: illegal immigrants--where does this article say that these squatters are illegal immigrants??? The article indicates the squatters are Hispanic. Millions of Hispanics are US citizens.
For Christ's sake, peeps, either take a reading course or sober up.
This is part of Obama's new aggressive plan to take from people who've earned anything and give it to potential voters who feel entitled to other's possessions.
I'm sure in his dying days Obama will openly laugh at American's for electing an anarchist to the position of president as they were too afraid of not being politically correct and voting for a person based on their ethnecity alone.
gather as many ppl as u can freinds family neighbors anybody willing to help. go into the house start moving there stuff to the street what the cops gona do arrest every1 involved u get enough ppl they wouldnt b able to arrest everyone. get the other ppl things put out in the street move ur stuff in change all locks post ur property violaters will be shot... sit on the front proch with ur gun in hand till there gona. they step on ur property give a warnng shot or 2 then plug em in the **** with it. or seeing how it is ur place take over the yard the drive way make living there completely impossible for them. shut off the utilities do what ever u can by all means. throw parties every night mke sleeping there impossible. they made your life hell so return the favor make it completely impossible for them to do anything there.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.