CHICAGO (CBS) — More than half a billion dollars in rental assistance is now available in Illinois, but it won’t help a South Side homeowner with three people living in her house rent-free.
Clarice Mason says they’re squatters who moved into her property near 83rd and Wentworth without permission almost a year ago.READ MORE: As Jury Deliberates In R. Kelly Sex Trafficking Case, What Impact Will Verdict Have On His Future Trials In Chicago?
“I noticed three women entering the house, and I’m like, ‘No. They cannot be entering my house?!’” said Mason.
CBS 2 confirmed her name is on the deed for the house, and she is also listed as the home’s taxpayer on in Cook County records.
The senior citizen said she spent $40,000 renovating the home to sell it.
“I put new cabinets in, new countertops, everything. Stainless steel, everything,” she said.
It’s unclear how the uninvited guests got into the house, but they showed the homeowner a lease. Mason said it is fake.
Her attempts to evict the squatters didn’t go well.
CBS 2’s attempts to ask the woman who answered the door about her residency also didn’t go well, either. She called police, and then came out with a pair of scissors. We asked what she was doing with them.
“Getting you the f**k away from my s**t,” she replied.
CBS 2 then told the woman that Mason said the home was hers.READ MORE: Cook County Circuit Court Website Back Online, After Weeks-Long Outage Caused By Breach
“I don’t give a f**k what she say. I’m in this b***h, ain’t I?” she responded.
As outrageous as this situation seems, eviction attorney Michael Zink said Mason is not alone. Squatters are technically protected under the governor’s eviction moratorium.
The order covers tenants and lessees, but also residents; which Zink said could apply to anyone who merely spends the night and claims the residence is theirs.
Zink said he’s successfully won some squatting cases during the moratorium, but it’s a tricky fight, especially with how the order is worded.
“I don’t even know this lady,” the squatter told Chicago Police when they responded to her harassment call. She told them she is moving this week.
The officers told both women this is a civil matter, and that their hands are tied.
“The policemen were very nice. I can’t say anything negative about them, but I blame the judicial system,” said Mason, who feels stuck. “I’m thinking this is so pathetic.”
CPD left without pressing charges on either side.
Mason contacted CBS 2 in hopes that publicizing her plight would help the governor make changes to his eviction moratorium, or rescind it all together.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Cold Front Passes Soon
Gov. JB Pritzker has said he plans to phase out the moratorium eviction by August, but has yet to provide details on the gradual changes he’s planning for that executive order.