The nightmare of a Queens couple’s squatter situation highlights the flaws of New York’s “tenant protections”

Susana and Joseph Landa, both 68, were delighted when they purchased a $2 million home in Douglastown, Queens last October. They considered it a perfect find, as it was located near a family who could provide assistance in caring for their adult son with Down Syndrome.

However, they have not yet moved into the property, despite being obliged to pay taxes and maintenance fees.

According to court documents, Ben Flores, a former caregiver to the deceased previous owner, has been squatting on the property since January 2023 and adamantly refuses to vacate.

St. Louis Homeowners File Lawsuit Against City for Allegedly Refusing to Remove Disturbing and Offensive Homeless Encampment in Front of Their Residence

A group of homeowners in St. Louis has taken legal action against the city, claiming that their repeated pleas to remove a homeless encampment from the vicinity of their house have been ignored. The residents argue that the encampment has become a source of fear and discomfort due to its unsanitary conditions and the presence of individuals engaging in illegal activities.

According to the lawsuit, the homeowners have made numerous complaints to local authorities, citing concerns about the safety and well-being of their families. They describe the encampment as “scary” and “smelly,” asserting that it not only poses a risk to their physical health but also affects their mental and emotional well-being.

The homeowners maintain that they have reached out to the city for assistance on multiple occasions, requesting that the encampment be relocated to a more suitable location. However, their pleas have allegedly fallen on deaf ears, leaving them feeling neglected and abandoned by the very officials who are meant to represent and protect their interests.

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The situation has reached a breaking point for these homeowners, forcing them to take legal action in an effort to have the encampment removed. Their lawsuit seeks to hold the city accountable for its alleged failure to address their concerns and to provide a safe and peaceful living environment for all residents.

This case sheds light on the ongoing challenges faced by both homeless individuals and homeowners in communities across the country. While it is essential to address the issue of homelessness with compassion and empathy, it is equally important to find a balance that respects the rights and concerns of all community members.

As this legal battle unfolds, it remains to be seen how the city of St. Louis will respond to the homeowners’ claims and whether a resolution can be reached that satisfies both parties involved.

There are even reports suggesting that he is attempting to rent out rooms in the house.

City law in place provides certain legal protections known as “squatters rights” that complicate the process of evicting individuals who assert their lawful occupation of a property for a minimum of 30 days. This allowed Flores to contact the authorities when the Landas and an insurance inspector attempted to enter the home that they own.

The family has made five attempts to remove him through civil court. However, during a hearing in early January, he appeared without legal representation. According to the law, this resulted in the proceedings being halted rather than him having to act as his own attorney or forfeit his case.

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A Queens couple recently purchased their dream home for $2 million with the intention of providing a comfortable and accessible living space for their disabled son. However, their excitement quickly turned to shock and frustration when they discovered a squatter residing in the property. The couple’s plans to create a loving and supportive environment for their son were abruptly interrupted by this unexpected intrusion.

In a more recent development, the owner has filed for bankruptcy, which, according to city law, once again prevents the owners from proceeding with the case to remove him.

The Landas will have to wait until April for another hearing, leaving uncertainty as to what new loophole he might exploit by then.

They are currently facing the frustrating situation of having to pay thousands of dollars in utility bills for the house. It seems that he purposely left the windows open throughout the entire winter, causing the costs to skyrocket.

In 2022, an elderly couple residing in the Upper West Side fell victim to the abusive actions of a rogue tenant. Similarly, in 2021, a Bronx house was occupied by squatters involved in drug dealing.

Progressives in the Legislature continue to advocate for the passage of “Good Cause Eviction,” a law that would further complicate the process of removing problematic tenants throughout the state. Additionally, this proposed legislation would enforce statewide rent control measures.

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