BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A woman in Northwest Bakersfield caught a group of squatters trying to move in to her vacant home.
"I saw about 20 people on my property trying to move in as quickly as they could, so I called the police," said Reena Chandi.
The home, off of 7th Standard Road, had only been vacant for about 10 days.
The previous tenants had moved out and Chandi was in the process of getting the home ready to rent it again.
Last week, she received a phone call from a neighbor telling her a group of people we're trying to moving into her home.
The squatters had moved in a refrigerator, washer and dryer and boxes of their belongings. They had already changed all the locks in the home before Chandi showed up.
Chandi said deputies were able to keep the squatters from taking up residence in the home because they could not come up with any legal documents or rental agreement.
"At that moment, the deputies told me it was my word against their word," Chandi said. "I had to prove to law enforcement that I owned the property which, luckily for me, I had the paperwork with me." .
One of the deputies told Chandi that if the squatters had completed the moving process, it would have been more difficult to remove them.
According to Sheriff Department officials, many squatters get fake legal rent agreements and present them to law enforcement after the property owner calls to report someone illegally taking up residence on the property.
"I don't understand why squatters have more rights than home owners," Chandi said. "If I didn't catch these guys in the act, I would have had to gone through the court system to get them removed."
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