'Handyman' Reveals How He Was Able to Flip the Script on Squatters Without Help from Cops
Leave it to a guy named Flash.
Who is a handyman in more ways than one.
A squatter moved into a vacant home owned by the mother of professional handyman Flash Shelton. Shelton called the cops. It being California, they did nothing.
So Shelton did his own version of squatter justice, handyman style.
When the squatter wasn’t there, Shelton became a squatter and moved into the house. When the squatter returned, Shelton gave her a deadline for leaving or he would personally have her stuff hauled away.
So what are you going to do when you’re cheated out of doing something illegal? Call the police? Not likely.
So Ms. Squatter left. No police, no courts, no months-long legal battle, no financial liability, no squatter.
And he had fun in the process.
Shelton, the founder of the United Handyman Association, told his story on YouTube earlier this year. Watch and you can join more than 3 million others who learned how he got rid of the squatter.
It all began upon the death of Shelton’s father. His mother was in no condition to remain in the home, so Shelton attempted to rent it.
A corrections officer wanted to rent the house. “Basically, she didn’t have any money, didn’t have any credit and want to just, like, trade repairs or whatever,” he said. “So we didn’t approve her.”
The woman apparently was already in the process of making some kind of move, according to Shelton, as she had a truck filled with her belongings taken to the vacant house and just moved in, furniture and all, claiming “it was delivered by accident.”
Shelton said he was informed by real estate agents listing the house and by neighbors that the home was occupied. “They were, like, describing her and they were saying, ‘Yeah, you know, they’re here. Lights are on at night.'”
He said he complained to the police department and the county sheriff’s office and was told, “There’s a house full of furniture and there’s someone in the house – there’s nothing we can do.”
“‘We can’t enter,’” Shelton quoted authorities as saying. “‘There’s nothing we can do.’ So I went back and forth with the sheriff’s department and they basically said, ‘I’m sorry, but we can’t enter the house and it looks like they’re living there, so you need to go through the courts.'”
Not thwarted, Shelton made moves to regain control of his mother’s house, as he outlined step-by-step in the YouTube video.
First, he needed a legal foundation, since the house was not in his name, so he and his mother made a contract that designated Shelton as the legal tenant.
“So, me being the legal tenant for the house, all I had to do at that point was do the same thing they did and occupy the house,” Shelton said.
“I’ve heard so many stories about people that have gone through, like, major things with the courts,” he said. “And it takes so long and it’s just, you know, squatters’ rights, so I figured out how I could do it without that delay, without all those problems.
“So if they could take a house, then I could take a house.
“So if they’re the squatter and they have rights, well, then if I become the squatter on the squatter, then I should have rights, right?”
Right. You see why this guy’s named Flash.
Driving 12 hours to where the house is located in Northern California, Shelton arrived at 4 a.m., saw cars in the driveway and waited a few hours until they were gone.
With the keys he had to the house, Shelton entered it. His YouTube post includes video of him entering the house and finding furniture, boxes, clothing and a Department of Corrections uniform.
While Shelton was in the house, the squatter and her granddaughter showed up, and Shelton videoed his meeting with them, where he calmly and quietly informed the squatter she had to remove her things.
“It all has to be out before I leave,” he said. “I’ve got guys scheduled to come take the stuff out later today, so either you take it out or I have to take it out and put it out on the driveway until I get it picked up.”
Shelton also said he was installing a security system in the house.
After confronting the squatter, he said, he spotted some young men in the neighborhood and asked them if they needed furniture. When they said yes, he told them that if the furniture was not out of the house by midnight that night, they could take whatever they wanted.
“If you help me get it out,” he recalled telling them, “if you help me drag it out to the driveway, it’s yours. You can have absolutely anything you want for free. And they’re like: ‘Sure, awesome!’”
The squatter managed to secure a truck and crew and vacated the property a few hours after the midnight deadline.
Shelton summarized his efforts: 1) He made sure he was legal, 2) he waited for the house to be empty so he could be the squatter, 3) he installed security cameras that would allow him to call the police if there were trespassers and 4) he showed up.
“I think that I was there was enough,” he said.
But squatters are a problem, Shelton said. A person can hire a lawyer, call the police and attempt to go through the courts, but “the legal process is so slow and at some point — when they’re in [your house] – you’re going to feel like that they have more rights than you do, and that’s how you’re going to be treated.”
“So even though it’s your house and you’re paying the mortgage, whatever, squatters have – at some point, squatters feel they have more rights than you — so they don’t have incentive to leave until a judge tells them to. … And that could take months,” he said.
In summary, Shelton learned from real estate agents that he could start a successful business using his technique to remove the many squatters in vacation homes in the area.
He said he had no intention of doing that, but he had this to say about his single squatter-removal experience: “It was actually fun to do it.”
As California continues to lead the country into the abyss of barbarism, more people like Flash Shelton will be finding ways to develop creative workarounds.
And maybe have fun in the process.
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