When Detroit homeowner Heidi Peterson returned to her home after being away for a year for extensive repairs, she was shocked to find out her former tenant had changed the locks, and had been living there for months.
According to My Fox Detroit, Peterson purchased the home in Detroit’s historic Boston-Edison District for just $23,000, but was forced to vacate the home in February 2011 because of a damaged boiler that deemed the house uninhabitable.
But somehow, Peterson’s tenant — Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair, a write-in candidate for President of the United States (LOL, no really, she is!) — took over the residence while Peterson was away, and will not leave.
Peterson claims that Blair not only changed the locks, but also reworked the plumbing, replaced her appliances, put a lien on the house and refuses to leave the premises.
When Peterson, who lives in the home with her 1-year-old daughter, was asked whether she feels safe, she told My Fox Detroit, “I don’t know what the capabilities are. We’re afraid of her mindset of entitlement.”
“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,” Peterson said.
According to law, while a squatter doesn’t have legal right to the property, Peterson can’t remove her by force. She has to file a civil action in court and prove that the home is hers, and at that point, she can evict the squatter … which is exactly what Peterson is trying to do.
But the alleged squatter denies that she is squatting, and says that she has a lease, as well as a construction lien.
“I have a construction lien for the repairs that I put into the house. Someone had (broken) into the house on July the Fourth and they stripped the radiators and I made a report,” Blair told MFD.
“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).”
Peterson is said to have leased the house to tenants in 2010, including this alleged squatter, but as previously mentioned, had to evict everyone in 2011 when the home was found not fit to live in.
Peterson says she can’t afford to go anywhere else, and until she can legally kick the woman out of her house, she and her daughter are forced to live under the same roof as the squatter.
“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.
Blair was asked if she believes a program exists where anyone can go into Detroit, take over an abandoned home and live there claiming it as their own. Her response?
“I’m an advocate for affordable housing. That’s a part of my campaign. I’ve believed that since the first time I met her when I was running for state Senate (in) 2010 and she was also running for a political office, that was a part of my belief. I signed an oath pledging that I would fight for affordable homes.”
Peterson is prepared to fight Blair in court, but papers filed with the city by the latter claiming that the house was abandoned, as well as her so-called construction lien, will definitely make things difficult for the former.