Neighbors upset over technicality allowing squatters

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by WHITNEY WARD & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 7:48 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 18 at 8:01 PM

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -- Homeowners in one Spokane Valley neighborhood are growing more frustrated because they say squatters took over a duplex. Authorities admitted on Monday that there is little they can do.

Deputy Craig Chamberlain said that’s because the property is in limbo.


The owner of the property had been living on one side until his 2011 death. Neighbors said that the owner rented out the other side of the duplex to a man and woman. Those tenants now admit to living there rent free.

Neighbors told KREM 2 News that a group of squatters moved in and are bringing down the area.

“It's been a nightmare,” said neighbor Vickie Merriot, “these people party all the time, there's been fights in the street. We've called police 20 times.”

However deputies said that their power is limited in this situation.

“When you talk about an eviction process, who could start that when the owner is dead? If the bank has a lien on the property, it would go back to the bank and would go into foreclosure,” said Dep. Craig Chamberlain.

Wells Fargo does hold a lien on the property according to court documents.
 

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