Squatters Sue NYC Couple After Taking Over Their Property

Squatters are suing a New York couple after taking possession of their property. The Queens residence, valued at $930,000, was occupied by two men whose presence was only discovered after a realtor hired to rent the property found the locks were changed. Juliya Fulman and her husband spent over half a million dollars renovating two duplexes, intending to use them as a rental investment, but now find themselves in a legal battle with squatters Lance Hunt and Rondie Francis.

When the family’s realtor, Ejona Bardhi, discovered the locks had changed, she looked inside to find two strangers in the residence. After calling the police, the men said they had occupied the house since January but agreed to leave without incident. However, ten days later, the realtor and property owners received notice that the squatters were suing them, claiming they had a lawful lease. Fulman said they subsequently turned up to court with fraudulent documents they had “thrown together.”

The battle has cost Fulman more than $4,000, and she fears much more to come. Her husband, Denis Kurlyand, called the situation absurd and asked why people would bother to work hard and pay rents and mortgages when others can invade private properties.

Fulman and Kurlyand’s difficulties are similar to those of another Queens resident who was arrested when she tried to reclaim her home. Adele Andaloro changed the locks on her inherited house after discovering squatters, but police took her away in handcuffs, accusing her of unlawful eviction. According to the New York Post, she must now go through the courts to regain possession of her property.

Ms. Andaloro must respond to a criminal summons for changing the locks without notifying the occupants and file a separate suit to settle what has legally transformed into a landlord-tenant dispute.

New York law provides rights to people who occupy a property for more than 30 days. To remove a squatter, a property owner must post an eviction notice and file a court complaint.