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Family returns from holiday to find strangers living in their home

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    Nat Quinn

    Imagine going away on holiday and returning home to find other people living there.

    It may sound crazy, but this appears to have been the case for a family who posted a video of their ordeal on Reddit.


    Speaking to the owners of the home through a chained front door, the occupiers claimed that the window – through which they gained access into the property, should not have been left open. And because it was, they claimed they now had squatters’ rights to live there.

    As a disclaimer, it is not known whether this situation did actually occur or whether it is a fake video, but among the 2 400 comments are some from people who claim they, or others they know, have in fact experienced similar situations.

    Reddit user ‘nybbas’ wrote: “Happened to my buddies parents (kind of). They had bought a vacation home at a lake in California. Some squatters ended up in the house across from theirs, and were stealing power and water. They called the cops and the cops basically said they couldn’t do anything, and that these people were notorious for going from house to house in the area and squatting.”

    Some other platform users threatened violence on squatters if they tried the same move in their home or any others in certain areas in the United States.

    Another Reddit user wrote: “I live in Florida. A guy had a rental vacation home that had been taken over by squatters in between rental dates. It was less than a month.

    “Since it’s Florida, he didn’t even contact the authorities. He flew down here, dropped by his personal home and grabbed his AR15, pistol, and body armour. All the neighbours knew he owned the rental property, so it didn’t alarm them when he jumped the back fence fully kitted up and busted down the back door.

    “A Haitian family had obviously been told the wrong information about Florida squatters laws. Perhaps they had mistaken seven days for seven years. Regardless, they all went running out the front door and never returned.”

    It is also important to note that this video is not South African. But it does lead one to ask what squatters’ rights are, and what the local law says about them.

    Maria Davey of Meumann White Attorneys says that there is “this general perception” that there is such a thing as ‘squatters’ rights’, but no person or organisation has any right in terms of our law to occupy property without the permission of the owner, or lawful occupier, unless this is sanctioned by a court.

    “Having said that though, if someone is in unlawful occupation of your property, you cannot simply forcibly remove them – and this is where the misconception arises that they do have any right. You need to first get a court order.”

    If the situation shown in the video above had to occur in South Africa, she says the owner would need to get a court order to evict the illegal occupiers.

    “No-one is entitled to claim squatters’ rights unless the court has sanctioned the occupation, and that would not be of private property. If cases like this go to court, it may take some time, but an order is eventually granted and the occupiers evicted.”

    Davey adds that while there have been occupations of vacant land and farmlands in South Africa, evictions eventually take place.

    Furthermore, she says: “I have never heard of anything like that contained in the video.”

    Best of 2022: WATCH – Family returns from holiday to find strangers living in their home (iol.co.za)

    Marlena De Villiers

    Bloody shocking state of affairs. Happening in SA too! You just cannot leave your home unattended!

    Nat Quinn

    The world has gone crazy…..

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