Is there anything called squatters rights?


Q: About 3 months ago my daughter had her heroin dealer and his girlfriend move into my parents (her grandparents) home. Before my parents knew they were drug dealers they all agreed they would pay my parents $200 a week to stay here. My parents have only received $100 up to date. These people are dealing drugs out of my parent’s home, eating all the food, not to mention taking things from them, destroying the house and back yard. My parents told them they must move out, and had an agreement with them to leave on August 2,2017. They are still here and now are completely avoiding my folks. They have built some sort of lab or shop in the back half of the basement and my parents cannot go in there. Now they are stating they have squatter’s rights and don’t have to move out (because the guy was in jail and receives his “bail mail” here). They also say they have the right to live here until they get a written 30-day eviction notice. Please help. (Monessen, PA)

A: As far as I know, “squatters” have no rights in PA. There are several areas of law applicable. I don’t know how old your parents are but they sound like they are being exploited so you can call Adult Protective Services and see if they will do a home assessment. If these people are dealing drugs, call the police. I am not sure how policing is in your community, but it can be quite good. Police can observe, conduct surveillance and they can investigate. Just stopping in may freak these people out. Also, see a lawyer about eviction and securing their financial assets. These people may unfortunately have tenant rights and an eviction may be necessary

Elder Fraud? How to get someone to repay loans given to them by my father?

Q: My 70-year-old service disabled veteran father loaned money to a much younger person who he thought was a friend. That person has a failing business and asked my father for multiple loans, over a year or two, often promising to pay it back the following week. He has never paid back one penny. The loans total $23,000. At the time of the loans my father was heavily medicated for multiple health issues and was not thinking very clearly. The person that requested the loans does not deny that he borrowed the money and has even signed a handwritten document showing the total, however, he has made no effort to repay any of it. He owns a house, land, vehicles etc. that could be used to pay my father back. I’m trying to figure out to proceed. A small-town lawyer told my father that not much could be done. That even if the court ordered him to pay he still might never get it. Any advice you can provide would be much appreciated. I just don’t know where to even begin.

A:  Much more information would need to be know if it would be worth suing this person or not. A lawyer would need to know if this person held any property of value in their own name. If they did, it might be worth suing to obtain a judgment. The judgment could then be executed on the property which could be seized and sold off to satisfy the debt. The problem is that many people are not worth suing because they have no property held in their name only or what they do have is mortgaged or already encumbered by a lien. For example, their house is held in husband and wife name, or their vehicles are also held with a spouse on the title. Both house and vehicles could also be encumbered by a mortgage.