Featured News 2012 Colorado Family Involved in Real Estate Raucous

Colorado Family Involved in Real Estate Raucous

The Donovan’s purchased a home in Littleton, Colorado, but then left it locked up for the winter while they moved to Indiana. The family was two months behind on mortgage payments, and neither parent had a substantial job. While in Indiana, Troy Donovan was able to obtain a temporary job with a race team. The family kept their home in Colorado locked up and waiting for their return, and expected to come back when Troy’s temporary job was finished.

Yet the family has been unable to move in due to a complicated web of legalities, involving two squatters who are currently occupying the property. According to ABC News, the squatters filed for bankruptcy recently, which prevented them from an eviction by the sheriff’s department. The incident has left the Donovan’s without a home as they wait to see what will happen to the occupants who are in their house. Their neighbors told the Donovan’s about the incident when Mrs. Donovan called to make sure that the property was still in order.

Upon hearing about the squatters, the Donovan’s called the sheriff’s office, and state troopers headed over to the property to investigate. When they arrived, they found that the couple in the home had purchased if from a real estate agent for $5,000 after the home had been taken in “adverse possession.” The couple occupying the home was as frustrated as the owners were when they discovered that they were cheated in the housing sale. On July 12th, a judge in the Arapahoe County ruled that the squatters had to move out of the property within 24 hours. In Colorado, adverse possession laws rule that any people who stake their claim to a piece of land for 18 years without any dispute can be owners of it.

Reports of squatters staking their claim in abandoned homes have surfaced during the recession, causing a lot of debate about whether or not it is right to move into an abandoned home. The couple that is occupying the home refused to leave and Mr. Donovan filed his own forced eviction with the sheriff’s office shortly after. In retaliation, the couple in the home filed for bankruptcy just hours before the scheduled eviction would have taken place. The sheriff then declared that they couldn’t proceed with the eviction if a bankruptcy was in question at the moment. In all, they have been waiting to move into their home for over two months now, and believe that they are in the midst of a sort of living nightmare.

The two young girls in the Donovan family have been living in the basement of a relative’s home about 65 miles from where their new home is. The family can’t afford an attorney have had to struggle to come up the $500 in court filing fees and gas for driving to and from legal buildings and offices throughout the process. The couple is trying to maintain jobs while they work through the legal issues. Mrs. Donovan says that she delayed working her job in Colorado because of the complications with the delayed eviction, and she and her husband have had to look for jobs in the small town where they are staying while they wait for their real estate issues to be sorted out. The couple is also dealing with their mortgage company because they are $20,000 behind on house payments.

Donovan’s brother –in-law has even set up an online charitable account to seek financial help for the family. They are also looking for a host home that would allow them to stay while they are still sorting out the legal details. Mrs. Donovan says that she has been contacting the Colorado Legal Services but they keep claiming that they are ignorant of this area of law. Normally, the police do not get involved in matters such as this one because the case is actually a civil matter. Yet in the Donovan’s case, restraining orders and fraud have motivated the police to get involved.

The adverse possessors cannot have ownership of the home if they have not lived there for over seven years, according to the Colorado law. In most states the minimum requirement is at least five-years before an adverse possessor can take possession of the home. The real estate agent that sold the home to the couple that is now living there probably targeted the property because it was on the market for a short amount of time last year. The Donovan’s are hoping to get on with their life and back into their home as soon as possible while the adverse possession and bankruptcy battle rages on.

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