Wronged By Squatter’s Rights

, , , , , | Legal | August 22, 2018

(I live in a dense and popular neighbourhood where a lot of gentrification has been going on — old houses coming down and flashier new ones going up. I live next to a house which has been gutted in preparation for tearing it down. It is locked, since it is really old and the floors are collapsing, so it is very unsafe to go inside. I have detailed knowledge of the house structure and condition, since one of my cats constantly climbs up on the roof. We have to get a climbing crew in to get him down, since he only has one eye and no depth-perception, so he gets scared to come down. We do this about once a week. One day, I look out of my window and see a man forcing the way in with a crowbar. That door is about three metres from my window, so I see it very clearly. I call the police:)

Me: “I am calling to report someone breaking in into my neighbour’s house.”

Police Officer: “And how do you know he us breaking in and not just going in regularly?”

Me: “Well, you know when you watch someone breaking into a house in a movie? They do not have to caption what is happening for you to know.”

Police Officer: “Well, I would not like to come over and then have that be a good friend of the owner.”

Me: “He is opening the door with a crowbar.”

Police Officer: “Maybe he has the permission of the owner?”

(I do not recall what I said, but I managed to convince them to come out. They did come out, but by that time the wannabe squatter was inside and had closed the door behind him. The police stood around idly for a few minutes and decided all was good. I did not want to come out because I was scared the squatter might be aggressive, so I just seethed from my window. Apparently, somebody else called them again and they came out and so did the owner. They went in and took the squatter outside, and I could hear the discussion. The squatter saying it was open, and the policemen kept saying they had no clue who the real owner was, the squatter or the owner, and “they were not the court to decide that.” Having had enough, I went outside and told them that I saw him open the door with the crowbar and that I knew for certain that the door was locked because otherwise I would go and take my cat down on foot and not call climber crews every week. The police, however, just shrugged and moved on. The owner gave the squatter a look and told him that the house would be coming down in a few days, with or without him in it. After that, I always tell people not to be afraid someone will rob their home, but rather that someone would just come in and not leave.)

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