A Detroit woman and her one-year-old daughter are being forced to live with a squatter in their own home until a housing court decides on eviction proceedings.
Homeowner Heidi Peterson claims the squatter, former tenant Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair, took over the residence while Peterson was away for a year during extensive home repairs.
After the necessary repairs were complete, Peterson returned last week only find out that Blair had changed the locks. She had also taken the liberty to decorate the house, rework the plumbing and replace appliances.
According to neighbors, Blair had been living in the house for months.
She also discovered Blair had managed to put a lien on the house, which she had told the city was abandoned, reports MyFoxDetroit.com.
Blair, who is a write-in candidate for U.S. President, refuses to leave. And until a housing court evicts her, Blair, Peterson and Peterson’s baby girl are forced to live under the same roof.
“I thought if the house is not safe, how can I come here with my child,” Peterson told MyFoxDetroit. “There’s an issue with that. But should I lose my house to a squatter because I don’t have rights to my property or should I fight to get it back.”
Peterson said that she and her baby had to vacate the house in February 2011 after the boiler was damaged.
“In February 2011, we had to vacate because the boiler was damaged,” she said. “I took all my books and my writings, but my (furniture was) still left in (there).”
When Peterson returned, she discovered Blair living in the house.
According to the report, a squatter does not have a legal right to the property, but under the law the homeowner cannot remove a squatter by force.
In most cases, the homeowner has to file a civil action in court, prove it’s their property and evict the squatter. That is what Peterson is trying to do.
Squatting is nothing new to Detroit, which has been hit hard by foreclosures and has miles and miles of abandoned homes, including the childhood home of Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Peterson said she can’t afford to go anywhere else and is forced to live under the same roof with the squatter until she can legally evict the woman, the report said.