By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Although some housing markets have recovered from the 2008 crash, some locations are still feeling the pain of abandoned homes and condos. Banks are still slow to complete foreclosure sales on thousands of properties, so they languish and rot where they stand.
The vacancy problem was created when developers built too many homes and condos, too fast. When market values dropped dramatically, many buyers and investors just walked away. Some developers declared bankruptcy. Remaining homeowners have been left to deal with the aftermath.
HOA boards are somewhat powerless to combat this problem without support from local law enforcement. It can take months or even years to clean up a neighborhood taken over by lawlessness. In some cases, the property can be trashed beyond repair, and the city must condemn homes or condominiums.
But all those abandoned properties provide perfect shelter for squatters, and a place for alleged identity theft criminals and possible terrorists to hide.
Here are two shocking reports, one from an upscale HOA in Hunstville, Alabama, and another one from a Las Vegas low rise condominium.
Note: Thanks to Andrea for passing along the Las Vegas update below.
HOA response to squatting, investigation into possible terrorism in neighborhood
Cat Reid email@example.com, Sep 14, 2016 (WAAY 31, ABC)
People who live in the Lake Forest subdivision, where squatters were allegedly running a massive fraud and identity theft ring, want to know why it took so long to remove the suspects.
One neighbor told WAAY 31 she’s been reporting the squatters to the homeowners’ association for two years. Another, who just moved into Lake Forest, told us she went to report to the HOA and was told they were already aware of the situation.
We wanted to give the HOA a chance to respond to her claims, so we called the main number listed. The woman who answered said the board would not allow anyone to give a formal statement. However, she did say the board is relieved the squatters are gone, adding that they’ve been trying to evict them for a while.
Read more, watch video: www.waaytv.com/
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
CONTACT 13: Investor leaving Las Vegas because of squatter problem
Darcy Spears 2:45 PM, Sep 21, 2016 (13 Action News)
LAS VEGAS (KTNV)
Thousands of people are living illegally in homes and condos all over the valley. Breaking in. Taking over. Bringing crime. Trashing properties.
Contact 13 peels another layer off Southern Nevada’s squatter problem — showing how it’s impacting our economy by scaring investors away.
Casa Vegas was once a modest but solid community near Maryland Parkway and Vegas Valley Drive but squatters have turned it into a living hell. Residents are scrambling to get out. Realtors can’t rent or sell available units. And investors are seeing their money go down the drain. Just how bad is it?
Read more, watch Video:
UPDATE: Neighbors armed after problems with suspected squatters
Marissa Kynaston, KTNV
5:58 AM, Sep 27, 2016
After an early morning house fire, some people in a North Las Vegas neighborhood aren’t taking any chances with what they’re calling dangerous squatters. Some have started to carry around their weapons.
According to neighbors, the previous residents moved out about two months ago. Since then, they believe squatters have moved in. They fear the suspected squatters may have gang affiliations.
Some graffiti on the home appears to read “Crip or die”.
Read more, watch video: