Washington real estate owner says squatters returned after SWAT raid: ‘I’ll give up’
Squatters who took over a Washington state property during the coronavirus pandemic were finally removed by a SWAT team this week, only to return to the property shortly thereafter, according to the property owner.
About 30 officers participated in Wednesday’s raid of a property in Lynnwood, Washington, which had been taken over by squatters as part of an investigation into the stolen vehicle trade. Police say 52 cars, some stolen, were found at the property along with drugs and firearms. KIRO 7 News reports.
The property owner and neighbors told the outlet they have been dealing with the squatters for several years, dating back to the height of the coronavirus pandemic, when evictions were banned by the state and federal governments.
“A bunch of criminals,” said Laleh Kashani, the owner of the property. “They took over the house and we couldn’t collect a dollar in rent and get a mortgage.”
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Squatters reportedly returned to the site shortly after the property was vacated, although Kashani had a contractor replace the locks after the raid.
“We changed the locks and they even broke that. So they should at least be arrested for burglary, and they didn’t,” Kashani said.
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Lieutenant David Hayes of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office told the outlet that 5 arrests were made during the raid and that “several people” lived on the property, both “short-term and long-term,” who had “no property” and were in “unhealthy and unstable conditions.”
Fox News Digital spoke to Lieutenant Hayes, who said ensuring the squatters don’t return is “largely a matter for the property owner.”
“The sheriff’s office will respond to property owners’ complaints that people have returned, and if we have an opportunity to legally move people off the property, we will do so,” Hayes said. “What it may require for the owner is to get a court order to move people from there, and often that is necessary.”
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Hayes said he had no “personal knowledge” that squatters broke into the property and had not heard from law enforcement, but had seen reports that said they had. Hayes couldn’t confirm the problem has been going on for several years, but acknowledged the homeowner is in a “very bad situation”.
“We don’t know who has legal title to the property and who doesn’t,” Hayes continued. “And that’s really an unfortunate thing and not unique to Washington state to my knowledge, but when it comes to the Landlord Tenant Act and the civil aspect of tenancy or residency, law enforcement can’t just go to a property and say yes , you belong here and not.”
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Kashani says the frustration over the years is driving her to tears and she is considering leaving the state altogether.
“I’m literally crying,” she told the outlet. “I’m going to give up, I’m going to lose my house.
https://www.foxnews.com/us/washington-property-owner-squatters-returned-swat-raid Washington real estate owner says squatters returned after SWAT raid: ‘I’ll give up’