Tenants or Squatters?

Here’s the real life scenario: You list a house and it is vacant.  You place a lockbox on the property thinking it is secure and only REALTORS will have access.  You receive offer ✔ Negotiate offer ✔ Everyone happy ✔ Proceed to closing ✔  Last step before the closing: Walk-through ✔  As you approach the front door you find the lockbox is gone ~ The locks have been changed ~ Electricity is on ~ Someone has moved into the property and it’s not your buyers!   The people living in the house claim they have a lease signed by someone unknown. Now what do you do?

This scenerio is happening all over the country but probably more prevalent here in the Miami area.  The  lockbox was actually cut off…go figure.  Police are called and they say there is nothing they can do.  The owner is now forced to obtain the services of an attorney.  At this point in time the attorney has to go to court to get the “unwanted tenants/squatters” evicted.  This entire problem, I am told is happening over and over again.  Our county, I am told is aware of the problem and they are writing laws to adress this increasingly more prevalent issue.  In the meantime, the Seller has to go to more expense and if the buyer won’t wait, then the process of selling the house starts all over again.  I am not sure what we as REALTORS can do.  How can anyone call a locksmith and claim they own the house and get into a vacant home and change the locks?  What are we coming to and where is our industry going if this is happening consistently?  What would you do?  Let me know what’s happening in your market and how you’re fighting this scam.

Here’s some articles I found about this very issue and some variations on this scam:

Renters: Beware of new twists on an old scam

Watch out for foreclosure rental scams

Rental scams target vacant houses in Central Florida

Tourists shell out thousands for South Florida rental homes

…and just a reminder:

Until next Monday…

This entry was posted in 2012 Secretary, 2013 Treasurer, Conversations, Foeclosure and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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