Squatting In Detroit: “Everybody’s Doing It”

(credit: Marie Osborne/WWJ)

(credit: Marie Osborne/WWJ)

DETROIT (WWJ) – A small west side Detroit home has become a make-shift billboard with an ominous warning: Squatters will be shot.

Laron Watts, whose mother lives near the well-kept ranch house at the corner or Davidson and Petosky, says the homeowner went around the neighborhood warning everyone that he was fed up with squatters.

Watts said squatting is a major problem in the area.

(credit: Marie Osborne/WWJ)

(credit: Marie Osborne/WWJ)

“I know a person that’s squatting around here that’s [been] squatting for five years … in the same place,” Watts told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Marie Osborne. “They ain’t paid no taxes. Ain’t nobody said nothing about the house; they ain’t got a letter or nothing.”

Watts says, as a Detroit taxpayer himself, he understands why this homeowner is angry. But, he said, he knows times are tough — and many people have nowhere else to go.

“That’s the new thing — everybody’s doing it. Like, everybody’s squattin’,” said Watts. “Why would you pay when you can squat for five years for free and then get your life together?”

But does the man with the sign means business? Watts says, these days, “you never know.”

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