A Florida retiree said lesbian squatters, who own up to 15 pit bulls, caused $38,000 worth of damages at her rental property after lying to police saying they paid a deposit and had been scammed by the landlord.
Patti Peeples and her co-owner Dawn Tiura discovered they had two people illegally living in their Jacksonville rental home more than 40 days ago and believe the unidentified squatters had been there since March.
They discovered the female couple – who haven’t been named, and who were evicted on Tuesday – living in their home after Peeples sent a handyman to carry out routine repairs after their previous tenants left.
‘I had sent a handyman over here to repair some minor items. And when he went up to the house, he saw that there was a pit bull’s mother with 10 to 14 small puppies on the sunroom porch. And at that point, I came over to investigate what was going on,’ she told News 4 Jacksonville.
The squatters (pictured: one of the women) claimed they signed a rental lease after finding the property on Zillow
A dramatic video clip showed the same woman hurling abuse at Peeples while ordering her to leave the house that was being squatted in
Patti Peeples (pictured) and her co-owner Dawn Tiura discovered they had two people illegally living in their Jacksonville rental home more than 40 days ago and believe the unidentified squatters had been there since March
They showed Peeples a receipt showing they paid $3,330 for first and last months’ rent as well as a pet fee for their dogs
When she tried to get into the sunroom door, located at the front of the house, she was unable to, so she walked around the back of the house to use the backdoor before she realized she could be putting herself in danger.
When she did confront the two women, they presented her a receipt, showing that they had paid their first and last months’ rent and a pet fee for a total of $3,330 after finding the home on Zillow and signing a rental lease.
‘I said: “This is a fraudulent lease, the house is not for rent,’ Peeples told Fox News’ Lawrence Jones Cross Country.
Peeples and Tiura would confront the women several times and on one occasion, one of the women would shove Peeples out of her own home. One also threatened ‘break your phone’ if Peeples didn’t leave, and a clip showed the woman threatening to call the police.
It took more than a month before they could evict the women the from the home, but what they found inside was much worse. The two women had left around $38,000 of damage behind as they ripped down drywall, smashed tiles, and ripped doors off its hinges.
They caused nearly $40,000 worth of damage to the property before the retirees could evict them on Tuesday, leaving behind huge holes in the drywall
They also destroyed the tile above the fireplace in the home
Several walls had damage (pictured). The homeowners were told they were not allowed to forcibly remove the squatters or they’d be arrested
‘Your heart just drops [when you see it], and you just wonder what type of people can do this,’ Peeples told Jones. ‘It’s just wrong.’
The two homeowners face even more complications as their insurance might not cover the damage if it is ruled that the squatters hadn’t occupied the home. If a property is not occupied for 60 days, owners need to have vacancy insurance and if it is ruled the squatters were not actually occupying the home – despite living there – insurance would not have to cover the extensive damage.
However, Peeples and Tiura were not allowed to barge into the home and forcibly remove the squatters, as they would have been arrested, they said.
The women ripped a door off its hinges before their eviction
The woman could face felony charges for the damages because they caused more than $1,000 worth of damages
‘We were told that very clearly,’ the two women said. ‘Do not attempt to remove them.’
Peeples and Tiura had bought the rental property to help fund their retirement, the former told Fox News.
The woman could face felony charges for the damages.
A local attorney told News 4 Jacksonville that ‘anything that involves damage more than $1,000 is a felony, below that it’s a misdemeanor.’
‘We called our attorney to see what our rights were. And he indicated that this had progressed now to grand theft and a criminal matter,’ Peeples told News 4 Jacksonville.
‘We need to recognize that a squatter is not a tenant and that a squatter is committing a criminal act,’ Peeples told Fox News.