Photo: Colorado Family Struggles to Regain Home After Squatters Move in While Family is Out of State
A Colorado family is currently battling a confusing and frustrating battle revolving around house, a shady real estate agents, and illegal squatters.
The Donovan family had fallen on hard times. Both and Danya and her husband Troy were unemployed and found themselves two months on their mortgage payments.
In August 2011, the Donovans traveled to Indiana with their two daughters when Troy got a temporary job with a racing team. They made sure their home of 13 years was prepared to make it through a Colorado winter, locked the house up, and left.
While in Indiana, however, Danya said she had a feeling something was happening with the house so in March of this year she called a neighbor near the Littleton home.
It was then that she learned someone had inexplicably moved into her home. The Donavan’s returned to evict the people immediately and called the police to assist them.
Upon arrival though, Veronica Fernandez-Beleta and Jose Rafael Leyva-Caraveo, the people occupying the home, presented officers and the Donavans with an affidavit proving “adverse possession” of the property.
Under Colorado law, an “adverse possession” deed is given when possessors claim property after openly using it for 18 years without dispute.
Fernandez-Beleta and Leyva-Caraveo refused to leave the home, claiming their “adverse possession” affidavit, given to them by real estate agent Alfonso Carillo, in exchange for $5,000, meant they owned the home.
Fernandez-Beleta has since told reporters she is very sad and confused as to why she has to leave a home she believed was hers.
In July, a judge ordered Fernandez-Beleta and Leyva-Caraveo, squatters in the eyes of the law, to exit the home and give it back to the Donavans.
The Donovans were relieved by the judge’s ruling, but things were not that simple.
On July 20, Fernandez-Beleta filed for bankruptcy. Because of this, the eviction has been halted.
Arapahoe County Undersheriff David Walcher recently told a local CBS affiliate, “The sheriff’s office will not proceed with an eviction if there is a bankruptcy in question.”
The Donovan family is currently living in the basement of a relative’s home about 65 miles from their Littleton home.