Family forced to live in hotel after squatters take over their home

·3-min read

A family has been forced to bounce from hotel to hotel for five months after squatters moved into their home and changed the locks.

Peter Dover says he, his wife, Leah, and their two children became homeless earlier this year when a group of strangers took over their two-bedroom condo in Colorado Springs, US, while they were out of town.

The disabled military veteran told local publication KOAA News 5 this week he had travelled out of state in February to be with his mum before she tragically passed away from cancer.

His children were with his mother-in-law at the time in another state.

Peter Dover and his wife Leah are pictured at their hotel.
Peter Dover says he, his wife, Leah, and their two children became homeless earlier this year when a group of strangers took over their two-bedroom condo. Source: News 5

The family left their belongings in the home despite it not being lived in full time, Mr Dover told the publication.

The dad-of-two thought about selling the home, but decided to keep it and hire a “professional organiser” to declutter the home so they could return to a tidy property.

However, Mr Dover claims the woman they hired to pack and move unwanted items to a storage unit later moved herself and other strangers into the condo.

"I got a call from my wife because she had been out of town and she let me know they decided to move our stuff out, minus a few clothing items and moved their stuff in," he said.

“I called [the police] to see what I could do about it but by that time, they had been there 2-3 days and had established what they [police] said was residency and there was nothing I could do about it except going through an eviction."

Pictured is the outside of the Dover family's condo.
The family left their remains in the home despite it not being lived in full time, Mr Dover said. Source: News 5

A News 5 journalist said they told Mr Dover about a law passed in 2018 that protects homeowners against squatters, promising paperwork to remove them is processed within 24 hours.

Mr Dover told the publication no one had informed him of Senate Bill 15.

"They told me that I needed to evict them and that it's a landlord-tenant situation,” he said.

The dad said he initially tried to file a protection order against the invaders but it was not enough for an eviction.

Pictured is the damaged home, with beer bottles and a sleeping mat on the floor. Source: News 5
The squatters have since left voluntarily, but have damaged the home and left dirt, beer bottles and a sleeping mat. Source: News 5

On Wednesday, Mr Dover filed the appropriate eviction paperwork under Senate Bill 15 and it was processed.

The squatters have since left voluntarily, but have damaged the home and left dirt, beer bottles and a sleeping mat.

The family has moved back in but is now in urgent need of furniture and mattresses to rebuild their home.

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