The Squatters Next Door: Part 2

, Written by Kyle Aevermann, Posted: Tue, May 14 2013 at 6:07 PM, Updated: Tue, May 14 2013 at 6:07 PM

In a tough economy, the number of foreclosed homes has skyrocketed.

And with it, the number of squatters illegally taking advantage of the recession and making their neighbors crazy.

So how are squatters forced out?

There's one house that's a little different from the rest on Oakview street in Grants Pass.

"At one point, it was a really nice house, now it's the sore eye on the block," said Danny Perez, a resident on Oakview street.

That's because after being foreclosed on, squatters moved in and practically destroyed the property.

A squatter is a person who settles on land or occupies property without a title, right, or payment of rent.

And trying to remove squatters can be a difficult task, just ask Danny Perez.

"I know right now our police department, there's isn't anything they can do," Perez explained.

But contacting your local law enforcement agnecy is the first and best step to take.

They are able to determine if the squatters are breaking any laws, and if they are, they will be forced out.

"We always tell people if they see something that looks suspicious to them, don't hesitate to call us," said Detective Dan Evans, Grants Pass Department of Public Safety.

For the squatters on Oakview, neighbors realized the home was a hot spot for drug trafficking.

Perez and his neighbors organized a neighborhood watch program and worked closely with police, alerting them of all activity.

Including when our cameras were rolling as 37 year old Kelly Calcaterra was arrested from the home in February on a warrant in connection with unlawfully manufacturing, delivering, and possessing heroin.

But even though law enforcement was involved it wasn't enough.

"They are doing everything they can," Perez said.

If you own the home and a squatter is inside, you can contact a real estate lawyer who will be able to prove you own your home, provided you have all the legal documents in your possession.

"If it's a bank owned home, there are always phone numbers on the windows you can call," Alice Lema, a realtor for John J. Scott.

The bank will be required to take matters into their own hands, as they did on Oakview, however, even that has proven to be difficult.

"According to our police they were given $2,500 to move out and they turned it down and we said why would you turn it out. And she said to us that because they are living for free, if they took the money they'd have to leave and pay for someplace to live."

After speaking with the bank in April the Josephine County's Sheriff's Office was able to force the Oakview squatters out.

Residents on Oakview are now able to take a sigh of relief.

This past weekend, neighbors hosted a block party, celebrating their victory and thanking officials for all of thier efforts. They hope no one will ever have to deal with a squatter in their neighborhood.

"Now we can actually look back and go, 'we didn't back down, we fought the fight, and we've won the fight,'" explained Perez.

As frustrating as squatters rights maybe, the majority of the time the owner of the property does eventually prevail.

But officials say the longer a squatter lives on your property, the more rights they are likely to have.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Kyle Aevermann

Kyle Aevermann reports weekdays and anchors NBC 5 News Weekends. He joined NBC 5 News in March 2012 as a morning producer and reporter. Prior to joining KOBI, Kyle interned at KISL-FM on Catalina Island, CA. He was also a regular contributor to CNN's citizen journalism program.

Originally from the Chicago-land area, Kyle moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2009 to work in the social media industry. Kyle enjoys hiking, traveling, learning about cultures, and has a serious love for food.

Catch Kyle anchoring weekends on NBC 5 News at 6pm and 11pm.

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