A handyman turned the tables on suspected squatters who took over his mother’s Northern California home.
“If they could take a house, then I could take a house,” Flash Shelton of the United Handyman Association said in a YouTube video. “They’re the squatter and they have rights. Well, then if I become the squatter on the squatter, then I should have rights, right?”
Shelton’s video detailing his quest to reclaim the California home has garnered more than two million views on YouTube.
Shelton said his father recently passed away, and his mother couldn’t live in the house on her own. So they put it up for rent.
A woman who identified herself as a prison guard asked to rent the house, according to Shelton, but she didn’t have any money or credit so he said no. Then he learned a truckload of furniture and other belongings had been delivered to the home.
“She said that it was delivered by accident and she was getting rid of it,” Shelton said.
Instead, the handyman started hearing from realtors that the house was full of furniture and people. Neighbors said the lights were on at night. Shelton called the police, but like many Americans facing squatters, the answer he got was unhelpful.
“They basically said, ‘You know, I’m sorry, but we can’t enter the house and it looks like they’re living there. So you need to go through the courts,'” Shelton recalled law enforcement telling him.
“Even though you’re at your house and you’re paying the mortgage … at some point squatters feel like they have more rights than you, so they don’t have incentive to leave until a judge tells them to,” he said. “And that could take months, six months, it could take years. I don’t know. I didn’t want to take that chance.”
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