Friday, September 24, 2010

Squatters in mansions? Say it isn't so!

I read an article on MSNBC about squatters living in mansions in high-end areas of cities such as Seattle, St. Louis, Chicago and Los Angeles. The focus of the article was Randy Quaid (of National Lampoons Vacation fame) who was "squatting" in a home he used to own in Montecito, California.

Normally, the issue of squatting is the domain of low-end homes and areas where there are so many vacant homes it's hard to keep track of who owns what. The problem still exists and in some cases the occupants are quite open about it, even being interviewed in local news stories about living rent free while their foreclosed home gets sold. Evictions take time and money which isn't something the "out of area" REO agents are often unwilling to do.

So as I'm reading this I'm thinking, "Is this really a problem or is it just another piece of bad news pumped out by the mass media?" Then I read the story and realize it really is just a load of crap.

There's an advocacy group in the Seattle suburbs that squats in mansions intentionally to draw attention to the plight of homeowners overall, not just the high-end. However, the article really only cites four instances of what amounts to trespassing. Is this a major issue? NO!!

As far as I know, and I'd say I'm fairly well connected, there are no cases of this here in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Atherton, Palo Alto, or the other high-end towns around here. There are certainly boatloads of "mansions" on the market around here and I have yet to hear of one having a squatter.

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