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‘I was in shock’: Homeowner starting eviction process on his own house to get rid of squatters

<i>WBBM</i><br/>A Chicago homeowner is forced to start the eviction process at his own house. He said he's out of options because people he doesn't know are squatting there. CBS 2's Lauren Victory spoke with the people staying in that home --- and it wasn't a pleasant discussion.
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WBBM
A Chicago homeowner is forced to start the eviction process at his own house. He said he's out of options because people he doesn't know are squatting there. CBS 2's Lauren Victory spoke with the people staying in that home --- and it wasn't a pleasant discussion.

By Lauren Victory

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    CHICAGO (WBBM) — Only on 2: A Chicago homeowner is forced to start the eviction process at his own house.

He said he’s out of options because people he doesn’t know are squatting there. CBS 2’s Lauren Victory spoke with the people staying in that home — and it wasn’t a pleasant discussion.

A voice behind the door threatened CBS 2 and told the homeowner to take this to court. Eviction court takes place in the Daley Center. It’s a months-long process many hope to avoid.

Kendal Nowling showed the paperwork proof: The property near 91st and Williams is his. How did he feel when he first bought the home? Nowling was thrilled.

“I felt excited. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life,” Nowling said.

He walked in with a plan: to renovate, then rent the home. Nowling and his father swapped out the floors, gutted the bathroom and more.

“We definitely put in a lot of time, a lot of work and a lot of money into this,” Nowling said.

The house was his baby. So imagine his surprise when he checked in one night a few months ago.

“You could see people upstairs sitting down, and it was total, my heart just dropped,” Nowling said. “I was confused. I didn’t know what was going on,” Nowlings said when he found out several strangers were living in the home.

“I think I was in shock, period.”

His mother Rhonda Duncan helped her son confront the uninvited guests.

“What are y’all doing in our house? She’s like ‘what you mean your house? This is our house. We’re renting out this house,'” Nowlings said.

“You could tell that they had started setting up furniture and everything,” Duncan said.

It was unclear if the people getting cozy inside were scammed, confused or something else. So CBS 2 tried to get to the bottom of it. Someone recorded CBS 2 from behind the door. A woman said she pays rent. When asked who the lease is from…

“It doesn’t matter,” said the woman. He has to go to court to take, to get me out. Bye b****! Get away from my door.”

Then the woman called police. Officers spoke with both sides, but ultimately told the homeowner what he’s been told before.

“Unfortunately with the laws that are in place, Chicago police cannot do absolutely nothing. We’re gonna have to go through the legal process and everything,” Nowling said, adding he has no idea how the people got into the home in the first place.

“Police have to make a split second decision.”

Eviction attorney Michael Zink explains why a stranger living inside a house that isn’t theirs isn’t automatically considered trespassing.

“Often times, the police will not take any action if the tenant comes there and claims they have a lease with somebody. the police don’t know who is telling the truth.”

A judge needs to decide. Nowling filed for eviction last week.

“Unfortunately, if you have someone who has taken possession of your property and has no right to be there, you still have to go to court,” Zink said. “And it’s going to be another five to six months before you can get them out.”

He’s seen an uptick in what he calls “squatting” cases – and he’s not the only one. After spending thousands on renovations, the homeowner is at a loss. Nowling doesn’t know how the people got in or how else to get them out. The whole family is upset.

“I am so angry, but I will follow the law. But stuff like this shouldn’t happen in the United States of America,” said his grandfather.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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