Detroit homeowner, squatter forced to live under same roof until court decides

A Detroit woman says when she returned to her home last week after being away for a year, she found a woman living there who neighbors say has been staying in the house for a few months, reported.

"She thinks that this is a program in Detroit to take people's homes and fix them up and then she gets to keep them," Heidi Peterson, who bought the home in Detroit's Boston-Edison District for $23,000, said. "I don't know what her capabilities are. We're afraid of her mindset of entitlement."


Peterson claims the squatter, who was a tenant of Peterson's and leased the home in 2010, changed the locks, reworked the plumbing, replaced her appliances, put a lien on the house and will not leave. So now they are forced to sleep one room away from each other, Peterson with her 1-year-old daughter.

"I thought if the house is not safe, how can I come here with my child?  There's an issue with that.  But should I lose my house to a squatter because I don't have rights to my property or should I fight to get it back," said Peterson.

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The alleged squatter's name is documented all over the house as Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair, a write-in candidate for president. She denied that she was squatting and said she has a lease.

"I have a construction lien for the repairs that I put into the house. Someone had (broken) into the house on July the 4th and they stripped the radiators and I made a report," she added.

"In February 2011, we had to vacate because the boiler was damaged," she continued.  "I took all my books and my writings, but my (furniture was) still left in (there)."

A squatter doesn't have a legal right to the property, but under the law the homeowner cannot remove a squatter by force. In most cases, the homeowner has to file a civil action in court, prove it's their property and evict the squatter. That is what Peterson is trying to do.

Since Peterson spent all of her money on the house, she said she can't afford  to go anywhere else, and until she can legally kick the woman out, they are forced to live under the same roof. reported that Peterson leased the house to tenants in 2010, including this alleged squatter, but had to evict everyone when it was found not fit to live in.

The station also reported the alleged squatter filed papers with the city claiming the property was abandoned.

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