A reader sent this in – beware of vacant houses being re-occupied by the bad guys! 

Hi Jim,

My Uncle retired this year and moved out of his house in Long Beach, California to live in Palm Desert.

He put his home up for sale a few months ago.  My Father lives fairly close and checks on the home, along with the Realtor from time to time.

My Dad received a call this morning from the Realtor asking that they meet at the home.  When they arrived they found the For Sale sign gone along with the lock box.

They also found about 10 people living in the home.

The Realtor called law enforcement and there began a huge discussion on the front lawn, where the husband produced a lease, mentioning that he gave $7500 cash for first, last, and security deposit, etc.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about something like this happening; either these people are scammers, or they were scammed by a 3rd party.

To make a long story short, the police did not kick out these breaking and entering trespassers, and have told my Uncle that he needs to move to eviction proceedings.

Evidentially scammers have rights!?  It doesn’t sound right to me.

Any thoughts or guidance you can give Jim?

I don’t mind if you post this for others to learn from.

Thank you for the great blog,



JtR response:  The best thing to do is offer them cash-for-keys, and make it a large enough amount that they not only accept, but they leave immediately.

My free-renters in Oceanside that were suing Countrywide/BofA for the last four years just left with a $7,000 bounty.

In your case, if they have solid proof of handing over $7,500 to somebody posing as the landlord, then returning that, plus some extra, should be enough – maybe $9,000?

Why get them out immediately?  Damages and theft could hit five figures over a weekend.

If that solution is unbearable, then hire a lawyer who specializes in eviction law.  For those in the North SD County Court jurisdiction, call attorney Jim Burmeister, (760) 729-3052.

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