Velma Kellen, Washington Homeowner, Reportedly Had Squatters Living Under Her House

Squatters tend to go for abandoned homes and buildings -- but the crawl space under a 73-year-old woman's house?.

Velma Kellen, of Yelm, Wash., said that she was curious as to why she would always find her backyard gate open after she closed it and why she smelled pot wafting through her house from time to time. It was when Kellen (pictured below) called a repairman to fix her furnace that she got an explanation.

The repairman went into the crawl space underneath Kellen's house to check its heating ducts, and found several beer bottles and a liquor bottle -- apparent evidence that someone had been living down there, KATU-TV in Portland, Ore., reported.

The reason Kellen's heat wasn't working? The squatter or squatters had cut into a duct and redirected it so that heat would fill the crawl space instead of her home.

In recalling her conversation with the repairman, Kellen told KATU: "He says, 'Well, I've got good news and bad news. I've got your ducts fixed, but somebody's been living under your house.' "

"I was just amazed when he came in and told me," Kellen continued. "I couldn't believe it. I thought, golly sakes."

See the video on KATU-TV.

It's not clear how long someone might have been living under Kellen's house, and no arrests have been reported.

Obviously, it's not lawful for someone to take up residence under an occupied house -- but squatting in an unoccupied house can be a different story.

In states such as New York, a squatter who moves into an abandoned building and performs the functions of an owner -- including maintenance work, receiving mail at the address, informs neighbors that he or she is the owner -- can legally own the property after living there for 10 years without being evicted. Squatters can also obtain a "deed of adverse possession," which legally allows them to take ownership of property that has been abandoned.

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Velma Kellen, Washington Homeowner, Reportedly Had Squatters Living Under Her House

A couple in Salem, Idaho, decided to walk away from their home when they discovered that thousands of snakes were slithering in the walls and the siding of the house. Amber and Ben Sessions said they could hear the scales of the snakes against the house and saw track marks all over the place where the snakes would slither.

An estimated 10,000 bats reportedly took up residence in a foreclosed home in Tifton, Ga., driving neighbors up the walls with the stench. Bats' natural habitats have been eroded by urban development, which could be one explanation for why the home became a bat cave.

A man in Omaha, Neb., was living in fear in his own home -- because it was infested with venomous brown recluse spiders. After finding 40 of the dangerous arachnids in his apartment, Dylan Baumann said that he would shake his towels before drying off after a shower, shake his clothes before putting them on and check his shoes before wearing them. Baumann said he plans to move out in September.

A Miami teenager came home to find her father dead in his house, which was swarmed by 60,000 bees. The house was reportedly under renovation, and it was said that the man may have been trying to get rid of the bees when he died.

Photo: Flickr/fra-NCIS

When Susan Minutillo of Hudson, Fla., ran out to run an errand, she didn't expect to come back and find that her home had dropped into the ground -- after a giant sinkhole under her house suddenly swallowed half of it. Minutillo ran to her neighbors' house, but their home was soon evacuated, too, due to the danger posed by the sinkhole.

After vandals trashed a foreclosed home in Huntington Beach, Calif., an army of mold took over the house, causing $250,000 in damage. Appliances had been removed and water from the Jacuzzi bathtub had been left running. When the water was left to sit, mold grew on the walls, furniture and under tiles.

Brian Dyer intended to dig a hole for a pool in the backyard of his Lakeland, Fla., home. But that hole and two others that contractors attempted to dig were already filled -- with mounds and mounds of trash. Tires, washing machine tubs, debris, metal parts -- even a lawnmower -- were found buried 3 feet under the soil in his backyard.

A pack of coyotes moved into a burned-out and abandoned home in Glendale, Calif. The owners were set to demolish the home and gave the city permission to trap the animals. But the home's neighbors were frightened to even walk outside.

Photo: Flickr/justinjohnsen

A Palmetto, Fla., homeowner walked into her bathroom to find a 7-foot-long alligator on the floor. Apparently, the gator crawled into the woman's home through the cat door. The alligator was removed without incident -- but the woman removed her cat door.

A man in Dayton, Ohio, said that he was battling 50 to 60 roaches a night inside his home and that they were coming from the foreclosure next door, where the walls were "alive" with them. 

Photo: Flickr/steve_lodefink


But how do you get squatters evicted from a property? Well, it's tedious, to say the least. Property owners have to prove in court that they have the legal right to ownership of the property, and they have to prove that they intend to use the property for a certain purpose. That can be difficult to do if considerable time has passed with no official occupancy of the home. Such was the case for a Colorado couple who found a family living in their home when they returned months after leaving. The case was caught up in court wrangling, and the couple was forced to live in a relative's basement during the court battle.

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