(WSVN) - When he went to a house he owned, he found a family living there that he says had broken in. When he called the police, he was told it was a civil matter, and he had to sue the people. Is that right? It’s why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
This is how Sam Druin makes his living.
Sam Druin: “I buy distressed properties, and I fix them up. I’ll either rent them out or I’ll resell them.”
And after Sam bought this one, he went to work.
Sam Druin: “Put on a new roof, fresh paint. We put in some appliances.”
Then, on a Saturday, Sam stopped by the house and saw that someone had posted a “no trespassing” sign in the window.
Sam Druin: “I went to the front door and noticed that the locks were upside down. I don’t put locks in upside down, so obviously somebody had broken in and changed the locks.”
The lock on the back door had not been changed.
Sam went in.
Sam Druin: “My stomach dropped. I hear a loud dog barking in the back. I had some new appliances; the appliances were destroyed. There were dog droppings and pee all over the bedrooms and stuff.”
Sam started loading the property onto a truck. A woman and two teenagers pulled up.
Sam Druin: “I get jumped by two teenage boys and this woman screaming at the top of her lungs. ‘You’re not the owner. I don’t have to give you. I don’t have to leave. I don’t have to do anything. This is my house. Leave.'”
Sam called the North Miami Police.
As their bodycam footage shows, the woman, named Shaneria Josey, told them she had rented the house from a person but didn’t know how to get in touch with her, and then she pulled a lease out of her pocket.
Sam Druin: “How many people run around with the lease of their house in their pockets? Some of it was printed, signed by a Miss Ramos or something, not even my name. They didn’t even try to, you know, use me, the actual owner.”
North Miami Police told me , “In cases like this, unless we can prove the lease is not valid, we err on the side of caution.”
And so they told Sam he had to leave. The woman could stay in his house.
Sam Druin: “‘Well, this is a civil matter. If you want to get her out, you have to go to court.'”
Believe it or not, it gets worse for Sam.
When you check the court records, Shaneria Josey has faced nine evictions over the years.
Sam and I both talked to the last property owner who had evicted her.
Sam Druin: “And then he said, on her way out, she dumped concrete down her his pipes, and he said that the cost to him was over $100,000.”
Sam bought this house to fix up and sell.
Now, people are living here for free. Sam feels helpless.
Sam Druin: “She knows what she’s doing, and she’s milking a system that I believe is very broken and is stacked against homeowners in such situations.”
Well, Howard, does Sam have to wait weeks or months for the courts to evict someone?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “If you go through the courts, yes, but there’s a little-known state statute that allows the police to remove the squatters if the owner provides a sworn statement that the person is a transient with no legal right to be there, and in my opinion, that should have already happened in this case.”
We tried to talk to Shaneria Josey.
No one would open the door, just peek out the curtains.
Josey then left me a voicemail insisting she paid someone to rent the house.
Shaneria Josey: “Like the police already explained to me, we are both victims. I live a private, conservative life on Christ, and I am not going to deal with his coming out to the property violating me and my children’s rights and grandchildren’s rights. I don’t have time for that with that man.”
Sam Druin: “I’ve never seen something like this.”
Sam now waits after asking the police to use the law Howard mentioned that gives them the authority to remove the woman.
Sam Druin: “And they damaged the door too, look at that.”
Waits and worries about what’s happening to his house.
Sam Druin: “What happens when she leaves? And then who goes to pay for that $20,000 to $50,000 worth of damage? I don’t have that money.”
Well, we’ll see if the courts or the police can quickly straighten this out.
Josey told us she is religious. Let’s see if she shows it by not causing any more damage to someone else’s house.
We will definitely let you know what happens in this case.
With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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Reporter: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com
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