Washington Foreclosure Squatters Unnerve the Neighborhood

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In the city of Covington, according to the Seattle Times, "2.1 percent of homes and vacant lots are owned by financial institutions, the highest rate in the county."

When Wilson, the abandoned home's neighbor, complained to police officers, he was told a formal complaint by the homeowners would have to be filed, according to the Seattle Times.

Two months after complaints were filed, the activity taking place in the home finally came to the city's attention.

And after an investigation of the home, the five squatters and five cats were removed from the home, and a correction notice was sent.

In the correction notice sent to the address or current homeowner in October, enforcement officer Bykonen wrote, the Covington Police Department found a " ... substantial accumulation of garbage both inside and outside. There was also a strong odor from human and animal waste and other refuse."

The home was labeled a "dangerous or unfit structure" and "unfit for human occupation" and the squatters were removed.

"It was uninhabitable because if you don't have proper sanitation service, then you can't occupy the home," Bykonen said.

But the neighbors in Crofton Hills still saw squatters coming and going as the city attempted to work with the bank owner's to have the property secured.

City officials corresponded mostly with a representative of Bank of America because the they were unable to locate the homeowner, who was no longer in the state and the home was in the process of foreclosure.

Bank of America cannot speculate as to how reported 'squatters' were able to gain access to the property in Covington, Washington, as we never had any direct contact with them," a company spokesman said. "To protect the rights of the business and privacy rights of the homeowner, a mortgage servicer has no legal authority to enter an occupied property and contact the occupants."

Also, in a previously issued statement, the company said, "this property went to sale on December 2 and title reverted to the investor, Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac manages its own REO properties, so Bank of America and BAC Field Services are no longer involved with this property."

There is no further information on the squatters, according to Cindi West, public information officer for the King County Sheriff's Office.

"It went to a foreclosure sell," Bykonen told ABC News. "It has now been cleaned up, and we're in the process of closing the case file because being that it's secure and been cleaned up, there's really no violation that exists anymore."

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