Imagine Heide Petersen's surprise when she returned to her Detroit, Mich., home after being away for a year to find locked changed, plumbing reworked, appliances replaced and the woman who conducted all this work living there, refusing the leave.
Petersen told MyFoxDetroit the alleged squatter Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair was a prior tenant of hers. Now Blair won't vacate the premises she was never given permission to stay on in the first place since renting from Petersen. Petersen said the law prevents her from having Blair forcibly removed, so now she and her 1-year-old daughter are living in the same space.
MyFoxDetroit asked Petersen if she felt safe. She responded saying she is unsure of Blair's capabilities and her "mindset of entitlement" is worrying.
When posed with the statement by a MyFoxDetroit reporter that some would consider it odd living with a squatter, Petersen said, "That's I guess something that happens in Detroit."
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She said she spent nearly all her money on the historic home she purchased last year for $23,000. She can't afford to go elsewhere while the squatter is living under her roof.
But the Blair has a story too. MyFoxDetroit reports Blair saying, after they interviewed Petersen, that she isn't squatting and that she has a lease in the place:
"I have a construction lien for the repairs that I put into the house. Someone had (broken) into the house on July the Fourth and they stripped the radiators and I made a report," she added.
"In February 2011, we had to vacate because the boiler was damaged," she continued. "I took all my books and my writings, but my (furniture was) still left in (there)."
We also asked her whether she thinks there is a program where anybody can go into Detroit, take over an abandoned house and live there.
"I'm an advocate for affordable housing. That's a part of my campaign," she said. "I've believed that since the first time I met her when I was running for state Senate (in) 2010 and she was also running for a political office, that was a part of my belief. I signed an oath pledging that I would fight for affordable homes."
MyFoxDetroit reports that Petersen is trying to take this case to civil court to prove her right to the property and evict Blair.