COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - One realtor never dreamed that a new listing would turn into full blown investigation over the past couple of weeks. Katie Deehr told me that she went to a vacant property to take pictures of it and discovered the locks had been changed and someone was living inside the property. I asked her what her first thought was and she told me, "A little confused. I called my client and made sure he didn't rent it out to someone. He was also confused."
Katie tells me there was some furniture inside the townhome and a dog that was barking inside the property. She says she met Ethan Eaton who told her that he had been in the property for three months. She immediately called Colorado Springs Police. Eaton and another man, Bryan Jensen have been identified as the pair who Police accuse of trespassing inside properties, changing locks and renting out the properties to unsuspecting families. Katie tells me that after he left the property she found a whole bunch of receipts in drawers, "A lot of food receipts, a ticket to an Air Force Academy football game and a concert at the Broadmoor." I asked her if she thought he was living high on the hog? She agreed that he was based on the receipts she found.
Last week I introduced you to two families who say they were bamboozled by Bryan Jensen and Ethan Eaton. Both told them before renting out properties that they could use the real estate law of Adverse Possession. Simply put, it means you have to keep up an abandoned property and pay taxes. In Colorado for adverse posession to take hold, one of the key points is that you have to be there for 18 years.
Katie Deehr has a warning to anyone with vacant properties. She says it's not enough to just have friends driving by and checking on the properties. She says put wooden dowels in your windows, get a a security system and have a friend physically walk inside to make sure no one is living inside.