Homeowner, Squatter Must Share House
A Detroit woman returned home after being away for a year to discover that a squatter had taken up residence in her home. In Michigan, a squatter has certain rights and cannot be evicted until there is a legal proceeding.
As a result, the homeowner, Heidi Peterson, her one-year-old daughter, and the squatter all must now live together under the same roof, reports Fox News.
During Peterson's absence, the squatter even took the initiative and made repairs on the home. The squatter reportedly changed the locks, reworked the plumbing, and replaced appliances. The squatter allegedly put a lien on the house to make the repairs.
Peterson claims that the squatter has the belief that if you fix a home up, you can own it. If true, this belief would be consistent with the squatter's bizarre mindset. It was reported that the squatter, Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair, had at one time been a write-in candidate for president.
Generally, a squatter doesn't have any legal rights to the property. This is good news for Peterson. So someone can't simply find the nicest vacant home in the neighborhood and take ownership by living there.
However, a homeowner also can't simply kick a squatter out by force, reports Fox News. This is bad news for Peterson as she will instead have to file a civil action in court, prove it's her property, and evict the squatter. These steps all take a lot of time. Until these legal proceedings wind down, Peterson and her child live just a room apart from the squatter.
For her part, Blair denies that she is a squatter and says she has a valid lease to live in the home. It's been reported that Peterson did rent out the home to Blair in 2010, but had to evict her when the home was found not fit to live in, reports Fox News.
- Heidi Peterson, Detroit Homeowner, Finds Squatter In House (Huffington Post)
- Evicted Earl Family Breaks Back Into Home (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)
- Adverse Possession: Empty Houses to the Needy (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)