Trespassers who claimed to have paid $6,000 to rent a home in Houston, Texas, have been evicted after their lease was proven to be fake by police.
One of the squatters, identified as Tamisha Holmes-Bey, told ABC13 Houston that she paid a realtor to live on the property, claiming to have a lease with her name, her husband’s name and her children’s names on it.
However, Linda Giang, the owner of the house in Meyerland, said she doesn’t know the family who had moved in and that they had changed the locks without her authorization.
“They broke into my house. They’re trespassing. That should be a criminal trespass. They’re violating my privacy. This is my property,” Giang told ABC 13 last week.
Giang reportedly discovered the trespassers around three weeks ago after receiving a letter from the Meyerland HOA to clear off the leaves on her driveway.
When Giang and her mother arrived at the property, they were shocked to find people living in their home.
“I had the keys with me and walked in and discovered a family of five living in there. And she says she has a lease contract and actually emailed me the lease contract,” Giang said.
The contract did not name Giang nor her husband as landlords, rather it reportedly listed a person who has no relation to the ownership of the home.
A locksmith was captured on surveillance footage changing the locks on the house on Sunday without Giang’s authorization.
“I’m not trespassing. I have a lease, and I paid $6,000,” said Holmes-Bey, who claimed to have moved to Texas from California to “start a new life.”
However, public records show that she had lived in Texas for decades, having been involved in civil and criminal cases in different counties across the state.
Although Houston police initially said the matter was a civil case and declined to take action, they ordered the trespassers to vacate the property after the lease was proven to be false over the weekend.
On Monday, Giang regained access to her property and changed back the locks.
According to home security expert Richard Christian, homeowners can deter trespassers or burglars by making their homes appear occupied.
Security cameras and physical barriers, including a locked gate, are also necessary security measures.
“If you cannot do it yourself, utilizing trusted neighbors or friends who can check your home regularly and make you aware of suspicious activity and challenge people who are suspicious is a huge asset for the owner of an unoccupied home,” Christian told Insider.