According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a squatter is someone "that settles on property without right or title or payment of rent," or basically, a freeloader.
Squatters are bad enough on their own, but there are some of a particular fashion, that take things a step further and declare squatter's rights.
And that's essentially what a Redditor by the name of Riley and her boyfriend, Tim, did when a couple of squatters tried to pull a fast one one them when subletting a room in Tim's new house.
Strap in, because this one going to be one heck of ride down a path involving stolen belongings, broken locks, and more than enough federal crimes to go around.
This story, like most, started out innocently enough when Tim's dad bought his son and his son's girlfriend a house after coming into a small fortune. It wasn't anything crazy — "a beautiful three bedroom, two bathroom" as Riley put it.
Wanting to help out a friend and make a little extra cash, Tim and Riley decided to sublet one of the bedrooms to some of Tim's old friends, Ed and Karen, for around $300 a month.
Riley was hesitant because of Ed and Karen's less than stellar track record, writing, "I had heard terrible things about both of them, they were very rude and entitled, and also both have disgusting criminal records."
But Tim insisted and Riley thought, hey, Tim is just trying to be a good friend.
"Maybe I had misunderstood these people, and I was willing to give them a chance," Riley recalled.
Riley, however, soon discovered that she was right to be hesitant, as she quickly discovered that all of those nasty things she had heard about Ed and Karen were true, and then some.
"It took maybe a week before Ed and Karen started getting very entitled," Riley explained as she detailed the laundry list of the infractions by the two former friends.
This included everything from leaving huge messes (that they would not clean), smoke pot in the house around the clock, and even blaming Riley and Tim for letting Ed and Karen's cat out on purpose, when actually it was the deadbeats who forgot to close the door.
It probably won't come as a surprise, but neither Ed nor Karen paid a "dime of rent" for the three months they lived at the house because Ed didn't have a job and Karen was "too pretty to work." And why didn't Ed have a job? Well, it's easy to see that he was a lazy, good for nothing leech of a human being that thought if he wasn't making money, he didn't have to pay rent. So he literally quit his job so he could be even lazier than he already was.
And to even better illustrate Ed's true character, or lack thereof, he also lost custody of his three children after he was accused of domestic and child abuse. If a man doesn't care for his kids, what will he care for?
It might be hard to imagine, but things would only get worse from here.
"About a month later, they started treating me and Tim like lepers," Riley recalled. "They let his cats outside and lost them on purpose, threw all of our [stuff] on the floor in the garage and into this old, dirty farm truck, and changed the locks and locked us out of the house."
Yeah, Tim and Riley were locked out of their own house by a couple of freeloading squatters who had failed to pay rent in months. The homeowners did what anyone in that position would do — they served them "multiple notices and eviction."
And even though Ed and Karen would put up a fight and try to argue their way out of it, Riley said the couple eventually left.
But that's not the end of it. No, it's just getting started.
Shortly after Ed and Karen left Tim's house, Tim asked Riley to err on the side of caution and change the locks on all of the doors. This precaution, though Riley made sure to follow Tim's advice, would prove to be for nothing as the former "tenants" would come back the next day, rip the locks from the doors, thew all of Tim and Riley's belongings back into the garage, and set up their stuff in their place.
All the shiftless couple had was an old air mattress and a couple of suitcases. In a lazy attempt to "prove" that they'd been there the whole time, Ed and Karen tossed some laundry into the washing machine. Riley was absolutely sick of this song and dance, so she decided that it was best to just call the cops and stop this once and for all.
"We talked with a cop and his partner, and they agreed that once an evicted tenant leaves, they can be charged with trespassing/breaking and entering if they return, even if they still have a key," Riley recalled. Strangely enough, this couple who'd had so much trouble with the law in the past didn't take this threat of criminal charges very seriously.
Riley and Tim went back to the house once again, this time with the intention of confronting the couple and asking them to leave. Here's how it all went down.
Tim: "You were served with eviction and chose to leave, you cannot come back now. We will call the police unless you pack up and leave now! This is your last warning."
Ed: "No! We don't have to leave, this is our house! We are renting from you and have every right to be here! My kids are coming to live with me, we are going to start a new life here. I won them in a custody battle."
Tim: "I don't care. You already left, and you were served with eviction. We went to court. Even if you weren't, I never said your kids could live here. The other two rooms are ours!"
At this point, Riley had more than enough of Ed, his lies, and the games he was trying to play, and so she jumped up and joined the fight.
Riley: "You don't even have your kids, we know that's a lie. No court would give you custody over them when you have no job or residence."
Riley admitted that she was ticked off (she had every right to be), but she was tired and fed up with Ed and Karen and all of the unnecessary drama that followed them like a black cloud.
The homeowners' frustration would only get worse when Karen decided to throw her unwanted two cents into the ring. Looking Tim right in his face, she had the audacity to say, "You didn't even want the house! Tim's dad only bough it for you because you're freaking spoiled and this dumb bimbo want it. Just let us live here!"
And with that, Riley and Tim were done. There was no point in trying to explain to the Karen and Ed that they weren't welcome there, it was illegal for them to be there, and they needed to leave.
And that's when Tim and Riley decided to call the cops back.
The cops got there nearly as soon as Riley got off the phone, and with their arrival came what would hopefully be the final chapter of her fight with the squatters.
Riley remembers Ed and Karen being scared stiff as soon as they saw the police cruiser pull into the driveway, almost as if they knew the gig was up and it was time to face the music.
"They were both on probation and in possession of numerous substances that are illegal in our state," she wrote. "The cops looked around and it was obvious to them that Ed and Karen had moved out and only came back to be pricks."
Then the cops turned their attention to Ed, who was about to find himself caught in a web of lies in the bottom of the hole he continued to dig for himself.
Cop: "So, you were evicted. You left and the owner changed the locks and moved his property back in, correct?"
Ed: "No, I didn't change the locks, I just took theirs off and put our old ones back on."
Yeah, that wasn't a mistake. Ed just admitted to changing the locks to the house while not really knowing that he was admitting to changing the locks. That's the level of intelligence we're dealing with here.
Cop: "So, you did change the locks?"
Ed: "Well, yes, but not really because-"
Cop: "Yes or no, you changed the locks?"
Ed: "TECHNICALLY, but-"
Cop: "Yes or no, ONLY!"
Riley recalled Ed looking defeated, embarrassed, and nervous as he prepared to answer the cop's question. Finally, he let out a timid, "Yes."
Cop: "Clearly you moved out. I have all of the paperwork for notices and evictions served to you. You have no right to be here now. Pack up your stuff and leave!"
Anyone in Ed's position would give up at this point and accept the fact that they lost the fight. Not Ed, though. For some reason, Ed not only continued pushing forward in a fruitless campaign, he turned it up a notch. Everyone was about to see just how out of touch Ed was.
Here is how Ed tried to handle this situation.
Ed: "We didn't move out, we just removed all our stuff and took it to a storage unit. They don't even need the house! Tim didn't even want it, that dumb broad (referring to Riley) did! I have three kids, they will be homeless now."
The cop, who had more than enough opportunities to look into Ed's checkered history, knew this was far from the truth.
Cop: "No, you don't. I know your record. Grab your stuff and leave now."
Ed — no surprise here — wasn't the biggest fan of being called out on his lies, and so he did what any rational person would do in a situation where they are face to face with an armed police officer... he started yelling and making "violent hand motions."
Ed: "The court hasn't ruled on it yet, we don't have to leave!"
Cop: "I know the case, I know the law. Leave or-"
Ed: "No! I know my rights! My kids need this house!"
Ah, there it is... the squatter's rights declaration. Who knew that someone who didn't pay rent, didn't have any right to be there, and didn't have an honest bone in their body had so many rights?
Well, the cops didn't really care about Ed's "rights" or "children," and continued to push the whole "leave or we'll make you leave" line of statements.
Finally, Ed budged and asked the cops how long he had to get his stuff out of the house. Riley thought it would be an hour, a day, or longer, but no, the cops said Ed and Karen had "five minutes" to leave before they were placed under arrest.
After all of this, the arguments, months of no rent, huge messes, lies, cops, and threats of arrest, Ed and Karen finally "begrudgingly packed up," and left the house for what Riley and Tim thought would be the last time. They definitely thought this would be the case after the cops told the squatters that if they ever set foot near the property again, they could be arrested and charged with multiple felonies.
And they left. They actually left.
In the weeks and months following the incident, the court ruled on the case, and no surprise here, the judge ruled in favor of Tim and Riley.
Despite a few missing items from the house, Tim and Riley could move on with their lives now that the terrible entitled squatters were gone and out of their lives.
And with that, we come to the satisfying conclusion of our story of squatter's rights and the mess they make for homeowners. Or is it?
Not so fast. In the months following Ed and Karen's disappearance, Riley and Tim started to notice something weird at their newly cleaned and repaired home.
"Tim's brother noticed that Ed was driving around our neighborhood in a suspicious way," Riley recalled.
The couple decided it was better to play it safe and installed a few security cameras and other measures around the house to prevent these squatters from coming back and ruining everything once again. But then they realized that they were already too late. Much too late.
"We noticed why he was hanging around," Riley wrote. "Tim checked the mail and found that Ed had used our address as his mailing address, despite moving out nearly half a year ago, and had a few packages sent there."
The couple remembered seeing a few pieces of strange mail over the previous months, but didn't think too much of it until everything started to add up.
"Tim and I had previously seen the odd piece of mail every now and then, but they seemed to just be old bills or spam, so we marked them as 'return to sender' and put them back," Riley wrote. "But this was definitely different; ED had ordered packages and used our mailing address to ship them."
Riley and Tim quickly learned that what Ed was doing was not only a crime on the local or state level, it was now a federal crime. Everyone knows how crazy the postal service is about tampering with mail and mailing addresses, so now the couple had more than enough to get back at the squatters.
Now they're just waiting to catch Ed or Karen in the act of coming to retrieve the mail from their mailbox, and once they do, Riley is convinced they will have all the evidence they need to put these two where they belong — prison.