Colo. homeowner can’t evict squatters because they declared bankruptcy

This is every homeowner’s nightmare.

A man and his wife left their Colorado home for an extended 8-month trip. When they returned, they found that a realtor had sold their house to another family for $5,000. But the squatters can’t be evicted because they’ve declared bankruptcy!

Homeowners Troy Donovan and wife

Zachry Floro and Mandi Woodruff report for Business Insider, Aug. 1, 2012:

Two Colorado squatters managed to skirt around a court-ordered eviction notice by filing personal bankruptcy, according a local CBS affiliate.

Last month, a judge ordered the pair, Veronica Fernandez-Beleta and Jose Rafael Leyva-Caraveo,  to turn the property over to the rightful owners. 

But before the county sheriff could evict them, they used the one loophole they had left: filing bankruptcy. “The sheriff’s office will not proceed with an eviction if there is a bankruptcy in question,” Arapahoe County Undersheriff David Walcher told CBS.

It’s another blow for the original owners, Troy Donovan and his wife, who came home after an extended trip to find the house taken over by a new family.

In their eight-month absence, a realtor named Alfonso Carillo allegedly sold the property to the new owners for $5,000. Carillo claimed they could buy the deed under “adverse possession,” an umbrella law for squatters rights that can be invoked if property owners fail to claim their land for a certain stretch of time. The law varies state by state, but requires 18 years of possession in Colorado.

Since the squatters filed bankruptcy, a court will have to determine ownership of the house all over again, a process that could take up to a few months, according to CBS.

Abandoned homes are easy targets for schemes like these, and foreclosed properties are even more susceptible with no homeowners around to defend their turf. In the Donovans’ case, they lucked out when neighbors became suspicious of the new owners and tipped them off.

As with any extended vacation or time away from your home, it’s wise to have friends, family or neighbors check in on the property from time to time.

H/t FOTM’s beloved Joseph!

~Eowyn

12 responses to “Colo. homeowner can’t evict squatters because they declared bankruptcy

  1. I’ve gone through too much similar agony recently, and let me warm you fellow do-gooders, do NOT do as I did: never allow them into your actual residence. Not ever, NEVER NEVER NEVER!! I fell for a fellow’s sad story in February when he responded to my advert for a house-share, room & board $850/month. I won’t go into the nightmare it became, but even after I went to the police, they just said it was a civil matter [Of course it was! He hadn't attacked me yet!!] and to deal w/it on my own.

    He demanded $2000 in wages he said he had coming for work he’d done to compensate for his inability to pay the R&B. In the end, he settled for $200 cash and departed under his ‘friends’ [fellow drug addicts] looking on as he gathered his pathetic belongs. I should have called Chicago and got my cousin Chuck “the cleaner” Lucchese to fly up and remove the scum.

    I realise this lowers my standing as a christian in the eyes of the world, but after I do the “seventy times seven” and the scum keeps rising, keeps coming on, what’s next? It looks as if I got the part about being “as gentle as doves,” but was behind the door when “wise as serpents” was handed to us….

    • Many thanks, GF, yr words are wise and they help. But no, I can’t change the locks, as my landlady just sold my house from under my lease, so I’m coping w/that as best I can. A friend recently told me that my address, 4037, was bound to bring on misfortune, according to what he says is “Tibetan Numerology”. He says he should have told me two yrs ago when I moved there…. Yeah, hindsight’s pretty flawless, isn’t it?

    • What a betrayal, Joseph.

      Hugs….

  2. A very serious Redemptorist priest once told us the following:
    If a a man breaks into your house & breaks your arm, you are called to pray for him, & forgive him,…but you are NEVER called to invite him back into your house.

  3. What a nightmare…

  4. Joseph…you showed more restraint than I would have. I’d have
    bought a kegger and invited my biker buddies over for a bash,er,
    business meeting.Sure ,the damage might have been substantial….
    but once you run out of beer and entertainment , bikers leave….
    and unwanted guests vanish.If I didn’t have any buddies,I’d make
    some. (bikers are like Indians at teapartiers in Boston Harbor….
    they all look the same and rely on their reputations…wink-wink)

    • Seems reasonable enough, in hindsight! I didn’t go into the litany of tools he damaged or supplies he wasted. Even though he knew I was asthmatic he smoked downstairs and it drifted up into our areas, then lied about it. I can’t lie today, because my Dad smacked it out of me a long time ago, although I sometimes wish I could, as speaking truth has gotten me in too much hot water! His fatal act was trying to bully me: I grew up in Chicago, where the first thing boys & girls learn is one NEVER gives in to a bully, as it will only get worse. Stand up to them: 90% of the time they fold their hand and say they were “only kidding”! And if one can get a few good licks in, so much the better!!

  5. WTF?? I think this “realtor” needs a visit from Chuck the cleaner!! This is disgusting and I guess that is why it is catching on so fast!

  6. If it were my property, the invaders would be out by this afternoon.

    -Dave

  7. So now the owners of property/houses can’t go on trips anymore, for fear of coming home to a house full of illegal immigrants, (sorry but look at both the names of the squatters and the name of this so called “realtor” who sold a house – for $5,000??? And the county clerk saw that as legit???), and no way to get them out? This world is fulla something that sure doesn’t smell right… Guess that comes from having an illegal alien in the WH. Nov 2012 can’t come fast enough, and then the wait to find out whether our chimp-in-chief decides to spring a “December surprise” and create a “national emergency” to keep being president anyway. You watch, he isn’t gonna give up all so nice and pretty…

  8. If it were my house, I would move in and squat and make their life miserable until they moved out. They do not have any standing. Any law that advocates for squatters is just plain wrong.

  9. I did not abandon my home nor was it in foreclosure. What I had was a bum ass property manager that did not do her job. I am in the military and was stationed overseas for the last five years and had a property manager that was doing the most. I didn’t even no that my tenant had moved out until 5 months later. Short story..law suit coming… My house was vandalized by the people she put in there and the squatters who came later. I found my house to be a freakin disaster unbeknownst to me!!!! And, my insurance would not pay because they said my home was vacant for more than 30 days! Had them for 12yrs no claims!! They getting fired too! PLEASE READ POLICY PEOPLE… SHIT HAPPENS.. I HAVE LEARNED!!!

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