Imagine buying your dream home, arriving at it to move in, and finding out there's a squatter that won't leave.
That was the case for Tracie and Myles Albert, who recently bought a 4 bedroom home in Riverside, California and found out the hard way that the seller wasn't quite ready to hand over the keys.
More than a year after buying their home on January 31, 2020, they have yet to be able to get inside their property. "It’s just draining, emotionally and financially," Tracie told Fox 11.
Chris Taylor, the real estate agent who sold the home to the Alberts, said: "He needed $560,000 from the sale of his house in two weeks and he called me on a Sunday, so in traditional real estate there's no way of doing that unless the buyer’s a cash buyer."
He continued: "It’s genuinely unfathomable to me that we live in a state where something like this is even possible. They closed escrow on this home January 31, 2020."
Myles Albert said: "It took us scrambling to get everything we had, our life savings put together and a hard money loan on top of it to make that happen. We own the house, outright. That's our house and it's all in a contract, written, legal, done. He's been paid the money in his account. How could we have no rights to go into our home?"
He continued: "They have this case under a COVID tenant situation, of no evictions when it doesn't fall under that at all. This transaction went through in January 2020 before any of that, it isn't a renter who was getting thrown out. It's the guy who collected all of this money."
Tracie said: "I tried watering the lawn one time and he came out and ripped my sprinkler lines, ripped all the wires. The Palm trees are dying, everything was beautiful and everything is dying." Law enforcement told her husband: "If you were in Arizona, if you were in Nevada, this wouldn't be a problem, you would just go take your house back. But in California, like our hands are tied, even though we're on your side, there's nothing we can do."
And the Alberts aren't the only such example of this type of situation. Attorney Dennis Block told Fox: "This year alone, we’ve handled at least 7 maybe 8 cases of this exact type of situation."
"This person is not a tenant, it’s a previous owner who is enjoying the benefits of the money that was transferred to his account but of course doesn’t want to move out of the premises that he no longer owns," Block concluded.