Published by The New York Post | June 8, 2022
An alleged squatter with a bogus lease is refusing to leave a Chicago woman’s house — and there’s nothing cops can do about it, the homeowner said.
Danielle Cruz told ABC 7 she recently put the three-bedroom Chatham pad on the market but when a contractor arrived to make some final repairs to the vacant home, a stranger was shacked up in it.
Cruz immediately called the cops but when officers arrived, the nightmare house guest allegedly whipped out a fake lease and claimed to have already paid $8,000 in rent, leaving cops powerless to kick her out, she said.
“They said, unfortunately, they couldn’t prove she was trespassing,” Cruz told the station, explaining that she now has to go to court and follow the formal eviction process.
The homeowner said she is stunned that law enforcement considers it a civil matter, due to tenants’ rights laws in Chicago’s Cook County.
“I definitely do feel violated,” she said. “I own this house, and it feels like if anyone can just break into your house and kind of take over, that’s a scary feeling.”
And Cruz is not alone. More and more squatters have begun breaking into homes in the area in recent weeks, said local real estate attorney Mo Dadkhah.
Clever crooks can simply print out a fake lease and present it to cops — or change the locks and pose as a landlord renting out the place, he said.
Compounding matters, the attorney said that in most cases, as in Cruz’s situation, police will refer homeowners to the eviction courts — which are currently backed up in Cook County.