I recently ran into a new wave of squatters. If you don’t know what squatters are, please refer to a past article I wrote titled “How to Evict Squatters.” I was hired to sell a house on 64th Avenue, in Oakland, and to my surprise I was successful evicting the squatters. However, I say that with much hesitation—here’s why!
On the day of the eviction, instead of finding only a few squatters, my team encountered some new variables. Instead of one group of squatters, we encountered 9 people consisting of 2 separate groups and 8 pit bulls at the residence.
Complicating matters, we had no contingency plan for all the animals situated at the property, and neither did the sheriff.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s office did an awesome of not just evicting the squatters from the residence, they were incredibly professional at helping us remove the 8 pit bulls by getting animal control to the residence fast, thereby ensuring the safety of both the personnel and the dogs.
Oakland squatters are very aggressive and clever and can be violent at times. Problems started days later when the property was boarded up, secured and locked down. When I drove by, things appeared to be quiet around the property, but to my surprise the squatters had returned to the property, hiding out in the backyard and breaking into the house via the back doors.
This presented a new challenge because in the past when I had evicted squatters they left and never came back! To solve matters, I needed to think “Old School” because time was running out: the client had a mortgage on the property, and the buyer of the residence needed to close escrow quickly.
A new job was created: “Homeboy House Sitter” for the rough and tough neighborhoods of Oakland. I had to find someone to sit in the house and prevent the squatters from returning, because their goal was to reoccupy the property again. The house sitter was able to guard entry, keep squatters out and alert my team if anything happened.
Now there was an additional problem. The backyard was full of debris because the squatters had built an encampment at the residence, helping them take over the property while at the same time “subleasing” my client’s property to other squatters for cheap while creating a public nuisance at the residence.
Pressure was mounting even more to clean up debris left by squatters when the City of Oakland inspectors started making threats to us about it. In the end, we won the battle and the house was “Sold,” but these stories tell how we dealt with a wild group of squatters in Oakland, California, recently.
Lastly, safety is key. Always seek legal help and support from the proper authorities. Our firm works the rough, tough areas of the bay area, so we are used to certain issues.
Jonathan Fleming runs a real estate services company located in the San Francisco Bay Area; his company handles Sales, Leasing and Management of residential and commercial properties throughout Northern California. Contact him on his private line at (510) 250-0946, Ext 7.