Homeowners confront squatter as he climbs through a window

Wednesday, April 3, 2024
 – A video captured the moment Texas homeowners confronted a squatter as he climbed through a window of their new San Antonio home while the intruder’s accomplice stood outside telling the homeowners he had rights to the property.

Abram and Yudith Mendez bought a property after which they hired an acquaintance to complete tile work then they drew up a contract allowing the man to stay at the house short-term.

Now, they say, he won’t leave.

“Squatters breaking into my house again through the window,” Yudith can be heard saying in a dramatic video the couple shared with News 4 San Antonio.

In the footage, the man is straddling a window in the couple’s home while a woman stands outside.

“He has rights. I can show you his rights,” the woman replies to Yudith before stepping through the window.

Abram showed the station a handwritten contract signed by the squatter, who told them he could do the tile work but needed a place to stay for a few days. In the contract, the man agrees to do the work and leave the home. Instead, he has torn apart the front room and barricaded the entrance, all while refusing to leave, the couple says.

“I believe today would be a month,” Abram said. “And he had his long game already in mind.”

While the man claims squatter’s rights, attorneys in Texas told the station that he has not met all the requirements to claim adverse possession, which would allow him to gain ownership of a property even without the owner’s permission.

Homeowner Abram

Someone can claim adverse possession in Texas if they occupy the property with “color of title” (a legitimate claim) for at least three consecutive years; they occupy the property and have a recorded deed in their name, pay all property taxes and cultivate the land for at least five consecutive years, or they occupy the property and improve the land for at least 10 consecutive years.

So while the man could be considered a squatter, he can’t claim adverse possession of the property.

The Mendez family says they plan to move forward with an eviction.

“The intent behind adverse possession is to reward people who take care of the property and put it to good use,” said Nohl Bryant, a San Antonio attorney. “It is not designed to reward bad behavior.”

In New York state, squatters can claim a legal right to remain on a property without the owner’s permission after 10 years of living there. However, in New York City, a person only needs to be on the property for 30 days to claim squatter’s rights.

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