Homeowner gets property back after monthlong battle with squatters who changed locks

ByMiya Shay KTRK logo
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Homeowner gets property back after monthlong battle with squatters
Police determined the lease the woman showed them was fake, and told her she could either leave or face trespassing charges.

HOUSTON, Texas -- On March 23, Linda Jiang said she was locked out of the house she owned in Texas.

Trespassers who had lived there for almost a month had changed the locks. Giang wasn't sure what to do, so she contacted our sister station, ABC13.

By Monday morning, the squatters were gone.

"Thanks for coming out here to do the story. I think that was a great help," Jiang who was still trying to process the last few weeks, said.

"I thought we had to go through the eviction process. Now they're gone, completely gone," she said.

SEE ALSO | Woman claims trespassers moved into rental home, changed locks and gave fake contract

Jiang says it appeared that the woman, identified as Tamisha Holmes-Bey, had lived in the house with several others for almost a month. She discovered them when she came to clean up the yard.

However, she discovered that Holmes-Bey and the others did not leave, even though she asked.

Both Harris County Precinct 5 and Houston Police Department responded to her calls but told her it was a civil matter, telling her she had to go to court.

Holmes-Bey told ABC13 last week that she signed a legitimate lease with an alleged realtor.

"No, I'm not trespassing," she said during a live interview. "I have a lease and paid $6,000."

The woman also claimed she is not from Texas.

"I don't know what's going on; all I know is that my kids and I moved here to start a new life from California," she said.

However, public records obtained by ABC13 show Holmes-Bey has lived in Texas for decades. She has been involved in numerous civil and criminal proceedings in Bell, Travis, and Fort Bend counties. A woman with her name has had three eviction records in Fort Bend County since 2019.

Veteran eviction attorney Brian Cweren says these situations have increased in recent years.

READ MORE | Stranger finally moves out after living in Chatham home for sale against owner's permission

"We're seeing a rise in this kind of fraudulent document, people breaking into nice homes, trying to squat there. We're seeing a rise," he said. "I've been doing it for 25 years. I can't say I've seen as much as years past."

The situation took a turn over the weekend when Houston police detectives determined the lease Holmes-Bey produced was fraudulent and told her she had until Monday to get out or face trespassing charges.

By Monday morning, the home was empty, and doors were unlocked.

"It was very frustrating, having to deal with this, but now I'm happy she's gone, and I'm hoping legislators will do something and change the law and protect homeowners rather than the squatters," Jiang said.

For now, though, Jiang and her husband took the home off the rental market. She says she will add security and post "No Trespassing" signs on the property. She is also considering selling the house and not being a landlord for a while.

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