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The Tale of the Accidental Squatter

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Curbed Horror Stories are firsthand reader reports about terrible Los Angeles apartment experiences past and present. This week, in honor of Renters Week, we're having a rental horror story showdown. We'll post a few horror stories each day with a vote for the best on Thursday. The winner will advance to the national round of our network-wide contest (and the nationwide winner gets a free month's rent!). Horror stories to, if you please.

I was renting a Guest House/Converted Garage in a fairly upscale neighborhood. The people living in the front house were also renters. Everything was wonderful and then one day they were gone. I didn't think too much of it. I wasn't friends with them and had just assumed they moved on, no big deal. I continued to send in my check to my landlords PO Box for two or three months and the landlord cashed all the checks. Still, no one moved into the front house. After a particularly long day at the office I came home around midnight and noticed everything was dark. The motion light on my patio didn't turn on as it usually did. I got to my front door and the deadbolt had been removed and a padlock had been placed on the door. There was also a note stapled to the door saying that I had been given notice of eviction 90 days prior and was now illegally squatting in the house.

I called my landlord, the line was disconnected. It was the middle of the night and everything I owned was dead bolted inside. I luckily found a window that was unlatched and was able to crawl inside and find a flashlight. It was clear that someone had been in the house, I'm guessing trying to find out who I was. I gathered a few things, laptop, change of clothes, my lock box with important documents etc. I checked into a hotel but couldn't get to sleep, I was worried about everything I owned being rummaged through/confiscated the next morning. I had no idea what was going on. So I went back to the house and slept in my car out front. The next morning I called and rented a storage unit and with the help of a friend moved everything out of the house. Still no way to get in touch with my landlord. I called the people that lived in the front house, that had moved out months ago, and it turns out they were given the notice of eviction but didn't tell me. They apologized and thought that I had been served too. The person that served their papers told them that our landlord hadn't paid on the mortgage for well over a year, before I had even moved in. I never was able to figure out how to get in touch with the landlord.
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