Update: Man accused of squatting in Queens home faces judge as couple fights to evict him

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Friday, April 19, 2024
7 On Your Side: Squatter arrested after standoff with homeowner
Dan Krauth has details on a Queens squatter arrest following the arrest of a homeowner in March.

QUEENS, New York (WABC) -- The former caregiver accused of squatting in a couple's $2 million Douglaston, Queens home faced a judge Thursday morning in Queens Housing Court.

A 7 On Your Side Investigation first uncovered the story in February.

Susana and Joseph Landa bought the home last year and haven't been able to move in.

"It has become a nightmare, a total nightmare," Josepha Landa said.

Former model and caretaker Brett Flores refuses to leave.

He was paid $3,000 a week to take care of the previous owner and after he died, Flores hasn't left the property. Flores claims he has a right to be there.

RELATED | NYC squatter arrested after standoff with homeowner in 7 On Your Side Investigation

Dan Krauth has details on a Queens squatter arrest following the arrest of a homeowner in March.

The Landas were told by police they have no choice but to take Flores to housing court to get him evicted, even though he doesn't have a deed or lease to be on the property.

"No agreement, no lease, nothing," Susana Landa said. "He is just technically an ex-employee, he worked for the guy that passed away, that's it."

Flores showed up for hearings without an attorney, which delayed the court process. He then filed for bankruptcy which caused additional delays.

On Thursday, Flores added a new attorney to his team and a new judge was assigned the case. Now Flores's attorneys are considering a possible trial by jury.

His attorney told Eyewitness News that the Landas agreed to pay Flores $140,000 to help with the sale of the home and that his client needs the money. The Landas said they did offer Flores money but only after months of court delays and hearings, but Flores refused it, asking for more.

"He needs the money to procure adequate housing for his family and once he gets that money there's nothing more he wants to do there," said Anthony Gentile outside the courtroom Thursday.

"I wake up and I go to sleep about the same thing, when is this guy going to come out," Susana Landa said.

Meanwhile, the Landas have been paying all of the bills, including thousands of dollars in utilities.

In New York, squatters have rights after 30 days. It's against the law to turn off the utilities, change the locks or remove a person's belongings.

"It's very crazy, our system is broken," Susana Landa said. "I never would imagine we have no rights, no rights at all, nothing, zero."

Dan Krauth has the latest developments on NYC's recent squatter incidents.


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