My business partner put together a video recounting the events of last week with one of our Short Sale properties.
Look for part two of Squatterville coming soon.
I am a real estate broker and I currently have a short sale vacant property in Woodland Hills, CA. I have been working on this short sale since December 2009. Yes, it’s BofA/Countrywide who I am negotiating this shortsale with and they are the worst bank I have every worked with. I finally received a verbal approval and I am currently waiting for the approval letter.
I decided to drive by the property yesterday and what do you know, I noticed that the gate was open to the property. I got off my car and walked up to the front door and noticed that the door locks had been changed. I looked inside through the window and I saw beds and furniture in the house. I went around the house and found one of the back doors open. I walked into the house and the water and lights had been turned on. I called the homeowner to see if she had leased out the house to someone without letting me know and she told me that she had no Idea who had moved in. I felt as if I had just walked into the Twilight Zone. I walked around the house and I noticed that they had just moved in. There were mattresses, clothes and shoes scattered throughout the house. I looked in the garage and it was full of furniture. I looked around to see if I could find a paper with someone’s name and I found a U-Haul reciept with Nicole’s name. I will leave her last name out for now. I then notice that there was a lease on one of the beds. The lease had the address of the property and It said that Michell Upland was the landlord and that she was leasing the house to Nicole and Pablo for one year at $1,700 a month.
I was thinking to myself, how could this be if I’m about to open a 30 day escrow in one week. I’m expecting to close this short sale in 30 days and collect my commission check. But someone just lease this house out for one year. That’s when things were getting strange. I looked at the U-Haul reciept again and noticed that Nicole’s phone number was refrenced on the U-Haul reciept. I called the number and Nicole picked up the phone. I asked her who she was and why she had moved into my clients house. She told me that she did not know what I was talking about. I asked her for Michell Upland’s number, the Land Lord whom she had signed a lease with and she told me that she was going to have Michell call me. Two hours passed and I did not hear back from them. I proceeded to change the lock at the gate and posted private property signs on the gate. I called the police and I filed a breaking and entering complaint and requested that a plolice officer meet me at the house. Two hours passed and no police. Finally, a car pulled up and Nicole and Pablo walk up to the gate and demand that I let them in to the house. They showed me a new lease contract and stated that they were going to call the cops on me because I was preventing them from going into their house which they had paid a $1,700 deposit. They also said that all of their belonging were in the house. I told them that they did not need to worry about calling the cops becasue I had already called them. As we were getting into a heated argument, the police finally drives up to the house. During my conversation with Nicole and Pablo and the Police, I requested to get the information of this Michell Upland whom they had signed the lease with. Nicole and Pablo stated that they had met her at a restaurant and that they they had given her $1,700 cash. They only had her phone number but that she was not returning their call. I let the cops know that I was the listing broker of the property and that I had talked to the owner of the property and that she did not know who Michelle Upland was. The cops told Nicole and Pablo that the lease was invalid and that they could not occupy the home. Nicole and Pablo started to put on a show about how they got scammed or that there was a possibilty that I was the one that was scamming them. The cops told them that they had to meet up with a detective to file a complaint aginst Michell Upland. I gave Nicole and Pablo my business card and told them to call me when they were ready to move all their things out so that I can unlock the gate and give them access. They called me today and told me they they were going to pick up their stuff tomorrow.
I was lucky that I found out about this before they were completely moved in because it would have been really hard to kick them out and they would have killed my pending short sale. I will keep everone updated with this story as it developes.
Did Nicole and Pablo get scammed my Michelle or Are they Squatters with a fake contract?