DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Dayton homeowner is frustrated, trying to get squatters out of the home he was all set to sell last week. The squatters claim they’re victims of a rental scam, and attorneys say they now have legal rights.
Homeowner Michael Hammaker says he’s put at least $45,000 into rehabbing his family’s home, but he said squatters have damaged or destroyed much of that work over the past week. He and his realtor are trying to take legal action, but they’re frustrated and unsure of what comes next.
Michael says, “Originally it was near disbelief, you almost can’t think straight.”
Hammaker had a buyer ready to close on his house, but then he says squatters moved in saying they rented the house from someone else. A police report shows those squatters told detectives they sent money orders to someone out of state.
Hammaker says, “Initially they seemed willing to move out, and we told officers we would resolve this with them because we seemed to be on the same page.”
But they’re still there. Police can remove people from a house, but attorneys say that’s rare in this type of situation. Instead, most homeowners go to court.
Attorney Jennifer Bock says, “Typically a court is going to be fine with a three-day notice to get out. The problem is, Dayton Municipal, for instance, it takes four weeks to get a hearing.”
We tried all day to speak with the squatters to no avail.
Bock acknowledges it’s frustrating: “If it were me and someone came in, I would be hounding the police saying this is ridiculous. ‘These people broke into my primary residence. You need to do something to get them out. I want to press charges: breaking and entering, damage to my property.'”
Dayton Police say they’ve been to the home a few times. Detectives say they’re looking into what rights both parties have.
Attorney Bock says there are several things homeowners can do to cut down on the chances of this happening, including notifying police of when you’ll be away or hiring a property manager to keep an eye on things.
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