Finally in possession of 'dream home,' Riverside couple may flip it

It sounds like you should have gotten more legal advice at the start. Getting what you can is the name of the game. You should just learn your lesson and move on. What you suggest doing is just ridiculous.

As much as Fox News would like it to be about “rampant California liberalism” this was more about the normally grind-y workings of city bureaucracy being gummed-up by Covid restrictions. Not restrictions on evictions, as you’ve pointed out, but on the normal operating procedures. Owners can’t risk getting into a violent confrontation by removing the squatters, so they call the Sheriff. Sheriff can’t do anything without a court’s approval. The courts weren’t even operating for parts of last year, and are working through a backlog now, so no ruling was forthcoming.


Long ago when I was renting an apartment, an especially noisy, offensive couple in the complex got the attention of many of us tenants. Complaints were made to management. Asking about it, the managers told me that the couple (self-described as “exotic dancers”), having paid first and last month’s rent, had been stiffing them for the monthly’s, and — per the law (this is in L.A. County) — could only be evicted after 12 months of residence. They went on to say that the couple had likely stiffed previous renters and hence would continue in that way. Professional scofflaws.

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Moving chains can get pretty complex if there’s a blockage up the chain.

In Montreal, it’s insane because all the rental agreements start/end July 1st.


That tells me to look for where the squatter hastily repaired walls.


… previous landlords?


100% the case in CA where this took place. CA tenant law is extremely weighted in favor of tenants. This is great, because landlord/tenant is a relationship with a very bad power balance otherwise. However, it does mean there is some abuse by unscrupulous tenants, and it can take months or even years to evict someone. There are people here that never pay rent. They just move place to place and wait out the eviction clock, always looking for the next naïve landlord who doesn’t do credit or background checks.

Those people are a tiny minority, of course. By and large strong tenant law unquestionably does the most good for the most people, which is what government is supposed to do.


Agree completely. Property laws being weighted in favor of tenants is the way it should be; landlords hold an inordinate amount of power over their tenants and that needs to be balanced. It’s just a shame that there are people who take it upon themselves to exploit the system like this.

All too often when I hear stories like this, it isn’t the big and evil property management companies or slumlords that are getting screwed, it’s everyday people that don’t deserve it.

It’s also a shame that the housing situation here is such that people feel like this kind of rampant fuckery is their best option.


This is SoCal. They can put it on the market today and have 5 cash offers on it tomorrow at well over asking price.


Like putting fresh meat|fish|etc in the walls and covering it up, blocking up all the toilets, and/or intentionally putting a tiny leak in a wall to mold it up.

(not that I would do anything like that…)

Sounds like he’s more than qualified to run for President on the Republican ticket!

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It doesn’t matter if there were any rental agreement or not. If the seller just doesn’t leave after closing, he’s in adverse possession of the property, and the only way to kick him out is through the courts via eviction. And even though the buyer is the rightful owner, they cannot take the law into their own hands and do anything like changing the locks, shutting off utilities, or any other manner of self help designed to force the squatter out. Legally, they have to go through the courts. The eviction moratorium may not have applied to this case (I don’t know the details of the moratorium), but, initially, the courts were all closed, and when they opened back up, there was a huge backlog. And early on, it’s even possible that with just the normal workflow of the courts, they couldn’t get the eviction done before COVID shut everything down, even if they didn’t delay trying to get him out after closing.

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They were always going to flip it.

That’s a good point. I was thinking that it’s simple trespassing if there’s no rental agreement and the police could be called to remove the squatters. But it sounds like that’s not now it works.

Yeah adverse possession is kinda weird. It exists because our legal system hates property sitting unused. It hates property that’s not productive in some way. So if property is just sitting there unoccupied, even if someone owns it, and someone else comes along and says “mine!”, takes possession, and starts using it, and if no one ever stops them, eventually it becomes their property legally. So because of this system, and because of landlord/tenant laws, law enforcement won’t kick anyone off property they have possession of without a court order. I think if I saw any signs of current occupancy during final walkthrough before closing, I’d put the brakes on the closing. I know they had stuff boxed up, but the boxes were still in the house. It’s a shame you can’t trust people better than this.

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My sellers required a 30d rent-back, which is super common so we didn’t think twice about it. In hindsight, there’s a huge amount of trust involved in that. I did ask the realtor if we should have a rental agreement drawn up, and she said “I suppose you could” in a way that strongly implied nobody ever does that and she definitely didn’t want to. We left it at that because the family selling the house were clearly very nice people and I had spent time with them by this point. But you never know for sure, I guess.

I guess it works out fine 99% of the time, but that 1% is a nightmare.


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