New York couple who bought $2 million dream home find they're powerless to evict squatter

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By Asiya Ali

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A couple's dream to move into a $2 million home has been shattered as they're unable to evict a squatter who claims they had an agreement with the previous owner.

Last October, Susana and Joseph Landa, both 68, purchased a residence next to family members in the NYC neighborhood of Douglaston, Queens, as reported by ABC 7.

The proximity to their family was an added benefit as the elderly couple takes care of their son Alex, who has Down syndrome, as he could then easily be looked after by family members if something was ever to happen to them.

"I just want to know that I can die tomorrow and he’s next to his brother," Susana said, per the outlet.

However, the Landas have not moved into the multimillion-dollar home - despite signing the deed four months ago - as they have been unable to get rid of squatter Brett Flores, who has taken over the home.

ABC 7 reported that Flores was hired by the former elderly homeowner as his caretaker until the man passed away in January 2023. He was paid $3,000 a week to care for him and has reportedly been given a "license" to stay in the house from the previous owner.

"We couldn't believe it, we could not believe it," the mother of three remarked. "I wake up and I go to sleep about the same thing, when is this guy going to come out?"

In New York City, squatters have rights after living on the premises for 30 days, and it is "unlawful for any person to evict or attempt to evict an occupant of a dwelling unit who has lawfully occupied the dwelling unit for thirty consecutive days or longer," as noted in the New York squatters’ rights page.

The couple has been forced to deal with the bill for all the utilities and maintenance to keep up the large property - despite not living there at the moment.

Susana claims that Flores has been "leaving windows open 24 hours," which has racked up a staggering heating bill. "It’s very crazy, our system is broken," she said. "I never would imagine we have no rights, no rights at all, nothing, zero," with her husband adding: "It makes me feel completely forgotten in this legal system, unfair and not able to do anything."

While their home-to-be has descended into chaos as the Landas family still can't move in, they also alleged that Flores was advertising rooms on rental sites. In the listings - which have been deleted - Flores promoted "The Prince Room" for $50 a night to males, females, couples, families, or students looking for a place to stay, per Daily Mail.

The couple has had five hearings in civil court since they bought the home, but the process keeps getting delayed by the squatter's stunts. He attended court without an attorney and filed for bankruptcy on January 9 - which prevented any legal proceedings from going forward.

The couple are taking Flores to landlord-tenant court in hopes of getting him ousted, but the next court date is not scheduled until April.

Featured image credit: Grace Cary / Getty

New York couple who bought $2 million dream home find they're powerless to evict squatter

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

A couple's dream to move into a $2 million home has been shattered as they're unable to evict a squatter who claims they had an agreement with the previous owner.

Last October, Susana and Joseph Landa, both 68, purchased a residence next to family members in the NYC neighborhood of Douglaston, Queens, as reported by ABC 7.

The proximity to their family was an added benefit as the elderly couple takes care of their son Alex, who has Down syndrome, as he could then easily be looked after by family members if something was ever to happen to them.

"I just want to know that I can die tomorrow and he’s next to his brother," Susana said, per the outlet.

However, the Landas have not moved into the multimillion-dollar home - despite signing the deed four months ago - as they have been unable to get rid of squatter Brett Flores, who has taken over the home.

ABC 7 reported that Flores was hired by the former elderly homeowner as his caretaker until the man passed away in January 2023. He was paid $3,000 a week to care for him and has reportedly been given a "license" to stay in the house from the previous owner.

"We couldn't believe it, we could not believe it," the mother of three remarked. "I wake up and I go to sleep about the same thing, when is this guy going to come out?"

In New York City, squatters have rights after living on the premises for 30 days, and it is "unlawful for any person to evict or attempt to evict an occupant of a dwelling unit who has lawfully occupied the dwelling unit for thirty consecutive days or longer," as noted in the New York squatters’ rights page.

The couple has been forced to deal with the bill for all the utilities and maintenance to keep up the large property - despite not living there at the moment.

Susana claims that Flores has been "leaving windows open 24 hours," which has racked up a staggering heating bill. "It’s very crazy, our system is broken," she said. "I never would imagine we have no rights, no rights at all, nothing, zero," with her husband adding: "It makes me feel completely forgotten in this legal system, unfair and not able to do anything."

While their home-to-be has descended into chaos as the Landas family still can't move in, they also alleged that Flores was advertising rooms on rental sites. In the listings - which have been deleted - Flores promoted "The Prince Room" for $50 a night to males, females, couples, families, or students looking for a place to stay, per Daily Mail.

The couple has had five hearings in civil court since they bought the home, but the process keeps getting delayed by the squatter's stunts. He attended court without an attorney and filed for bankruptcy on January 9 - which prevented any legal proceedings from going forward.

The couple are taking Flores to landlord-tenant court in hopes of getting him ousted, but the next court date is not scheduled until April.

Featured image credit: Grace Cary / Getty