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Old April 20th, 2009, 02:10 PM
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owner can't evict free-loader

http://www.kxly.com/global/story.asp?s=10205456

Valley couple can't kick stranger out

April 17, 2009 06:55 AM

SPOKANE -- A stranger moves into the backyard of an elderly Spokane couple's property and now they can't get that woman to leave.

The woman has been living in their garage for almost a month but even so police say she isn't trespassing because police say the property owner's son invited the woman to live in that garage.

Once she moved in police say she established residency. Apparently it doesn't take much and it's left this elderly couple with a big mess to clean up.

"I think it's wrong, it's my property, I pay taxes for it, I want it back," Homeowner Don Bain said.

Don Bain built his garage to fix up old cars and make bird houses, however for the past three weeks a stranger has called his haven home.

"I don't even know her, I don't know she looks like a street walker to me," Bain said.

It all started when Don allowed his stepson to move into the garage three months ago.

"He moved different people in, he had as high as eight people in here at different times and we told him no you stay there and no one else," Bain said.

When Don asked for the guests, including the woman to move out there was a confrontation and his stepson was arrested and taken to jail. The woman and another man stayed without a lease and not a dime paid for rent.

"She don't even pay the light bill," Bain said.

Don called police, hoping they'd be forced to leave, but police say the woman isn't trespassing.

"First of all we understand this is a frustrating situation for the Bains, but she was allowed to live in this facility," Lt. Stephen Jones with the Spokane Valley Police Department said.

Police say it doesn't take much to establish residency...

"There's no cut and dry test for this other than she's been living there for a period of time, her belongings are there and the current resident invited her in and allowed her to live there," Lt. Jones said.

So, unfortunately for the Bains, police can't kick her out.

"It is a mess and I would advise people to be very careful about these kinds of situations so they don't get into this mess," Lt. Jones said.

Don Bain has served the woman with an eviction notice and she has to be out by the end of the month but for the Bains it isn't soon enough.

"It's just a stinkin' mess," Bain said.

Police say the best way to avoid this situation is to have a legal lease with anyone who plans on staying on your property even if it's a relative and it doesn't include paying rent.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 03:45 PM
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Re: owner can't evict free-loader

No good deed goes unpunished. He shouldn't have let his stepson move in the garage to begin with. Now he must pay for a lawyer and go through the courts to get an eviction.

My advice would be for him to continue to work on his cars and such in the garage, too. He can make it very uncomfortable for her and maybe then she'd move out. It might be cheaper.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 04:03 PM
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Re: owner can't evict free-loader

I might even have the electricity cut off and water too from the garage. With no lease, can they require him to maintain it? (most rentals require you to have utilities put in your name anyway), then you have to show a lease agreement to have them turned on by the utility company.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:01 PM
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Re: owner can't evict free-loader

1DH, keep us updated, please. I hope these poor people get their home back.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:31 PM
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Re: owner can't evict free-loader

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/200...have-moved-on/

Unwanted tenants may have moved on

An elderly Spokane Valley couple beleaguered by unwelcome tenants in their backyard garage say the people have apparently moved out.

But Don and Peggy Bain say they’re still being advised by police that they can’t go into the garage, which has been outfitted with living quarters.

“The police said it’s still hers, and I’m not allowed to go in there,” Don Bain said, referring to Susan Pierce, a friend of his stepson who’d refused to leave for weeks. “I said, ‘I’m going in. No one’s there.’ ”

The Bains, both 81, have complained that Pierce and several other people they didn’t know have been living in the garage at their home on North McCabe Road without permission since the first of April.

That’s when Peggy Bain’s son, Skippy Ray Davis, was arrested and booked into Geiger Corrections Center for failing to pay fines associated with drug convictions.

Davis had lived there with the Bains’ permission, but when he left, Pierce and several others continued living there. Spokane Valley police refused to evict her, saying she had established residency by showing a piece of mail addressed to her there; that means it would take a court order to toss her out.

Police say they’re acting under the state Landlord-Tenant Act, which is intended to protect people from being thrown out of their homes suddenly and without cause. The law requires periods of notice, a court hearing if necessary and chances for tenants to contest evictions.

Lt. Stephen Jones, of the Spokane Valley Police Department, said that Pierce had lived in the garage with Davis and that once a person establishes proof of residence, the department requires an official eviction proceeding, overseen by a judge, rather than making its own judgments.

The Bains’ attorney, Pete Schweda, said the case is best viewed not as a landlord-tenant dispute, but as a trespassing or burglary. A landlord-tenant relationship never existed – the people moved in without permission, never paid rent or signed a lease, and simply refused to leave. Under the law, a “tenant” is defined as “any person who is entitled to occupy a dwelling unit primarily for living or dwelling purposes under a rental agreement.”

Schweda began formal eviction proceedings against Pierce earlier this month, and a hearing was set for April 29. But Bain said Monday that Pierce has been gone since the middle of last week.

Jones said he suggested to Bain that he allow the eviction to play out before entering the garage. He said that if Pierce were to return and claim Bain had stolen something or damaged property, for example, it could further complicate the situation.

“Let it take its course, let it be completely done,” Jones said he advised Bain. “We want to be real careful and encourage Mr. Bain to let this thing play out. He’s more than halfway there.”

Bain said Pierce has disappeared and returned before, so he’s not certain she’s gone for good.

Bain said he has put a notification on the garage door that he intends to enter, as he would have to do for a renter.

“I told them I’m going to enter, to make that legal,” he said. “I’m the landlord, I guess.”
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Old April 24th, 2009, 05:33 PM
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Re: owner can't evict free-loader

Thanks for the update - those poor people. Anyway, I think its a good thing that they are proceeding with the eviction.
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Old September 19th, 2010, 04:38 AM
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Re: owner can't evict free-loader

I wondered what ever happened with this & found this old article


StoryComments 02May 7, 2009 in City
Judge boots couple’s unwelcome tenant
Shawn Vestal Staff writer

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tags: Don Bain eviction
An elderly Spokane Valley couple’s battle to have a woman evicted from their garage is apparently over.

An eviction order was signed by a judge last week and sheriff’s deputies posted a notice on the door of the garage Wednesday, ordering Susan Pierce off the premises at the North McCabe Road home. Pierce and several others had been living intermittently in the garage despite the efforts of Don and Peggy Bain, both 81, to have her removed.

“Everything’s fine now,” Don Bain said. Pierce is gone, and “she can’t step foot on the property anymore. There’s a big old red tag on the door warning her.”

The Bains had been trying for about a month to have Pierce and the others thrown out, but the Spokane Valley Police Department refused to remove her because she had established residence by receiving mail at the garage, which has been modified as a living quarters. Pierce initially lived there with Peggy Bain’s son, Skippy Ray Davis, who went to prison April 1 in an unrelated case.

Police said their policy is to require a formal eviction notice, rather than having officers make decisions on the spot to throw people out. The Bains began eviction proceedings, but in the meantime police twice allowed Pierce and others back into the garage when the Bains tried to lock them out. There was never a lease or other formal rental arrangement between the Bains and the people in their garage.

The department drew criticism for its decision. And Don Bain said he heard from people all around the country who were outraged after reading about the case.

“I had a hundred calls,” he said. “It just went crazy.”
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