Dangerous Warning From A Handyman For Those Seeking To Buy A Home Online

A handyman turned squatter hunter has cautioned prospective homeowners and renters to be wary of housing schemes that could unintentionally turn them into trespassers.

Dangerous Warning From A Handyman For Those Seeking To Buy A Home Online

“Just because you were scammed doesn’t mean that this homeowner should suffer,” Flash Shelton, founder of the United Handyman Association and SquatterHunters.com, said. “Just like if you received a stolen car, that car is gonna be taken away from you.”

Shelton became well-known throughout the world last year after sharing a video online detailing how he evicted squatters who had taken over his mother’s California home while it was for sale. These days, he is consulted by people worldwide and is even hired to remove squatters.

As an example, a man in Pennsylvania paid $1,200 to squatters to vacate his home. While some squatters seem to be taking advantage of the system, claiming to have signed a lease on properties they broke into, Shelton said that others initially start as well-meaning people duped by online rental scams.

Last April, the proprietor of a property management company in Philadelphia said Fox News that con artists would duplicate ads from their website or Zillow, put them somewhere like Craigslist for less money, and then ask for a deposit using a mobile app.

Owner of Anchor Realty NE Walter Lapidus told Fox News that the con artist tells the potential tenant they lost the key and advises them to “just go ahead and get a locksmith” when they arrive at the home. “Either that or they go and replace the locks when the house is for rent and hope to get it rented before we have our next showing.”

“Those are very common in Philadelphia and probably some of the other locations where I guess these people know that the city is valuing their rights above those of a homeowner or a tenant,” Lapidus added.

Every state has different squatting laws, as do the processes for evicting tenants who are not authorized. Homeowners and landlords who live in states where laws prohibit police intervention are left to rely on lengthy and drawn-out civil proceedings to repossess their property.

“I wouldn’t sign anything until I’ve met with a leasing agent, somebody physically, and get their information, get their card,” Shelton cautioned. “I would just check all my boxes and make sure that everything seems right.”

Shelton has little patience, though, for unintentional squatters.

“I wouldn’t lease a property without knowing who owns the property,” he said. “If you happen to be scammed, I’m sorry you got scammed, but that house still should be taken from you.”

Leave a Comment