(PatriotWise.com) — Homeowners Jessica and Colin Davis are raising the alarm about Zillow’s rental program after their 4-bedroom home in Texas was occupied by a squatter, CBS News reported.
The Davises purchased a 4-bedroom home in Rowlett, Texas, but were forced to move six months later after Jessica’s job transferred her to Florida.
Rather than sell their Rowlett home, the Davises decided to rent it out using Zillow’s rental program. They rented it to a woman who called herself Rayes Ruybal. According to Jessica Davis, Zillow took care of verifying and identifying Ruybal, and “her records came out clean.”
With the deposit and first month’s rent showing up as “pending” online, Davis agreed to let Ruybal move in a few days early after she claimed that she and her son were staying in a hotel where they felt unsafe.
A few days after Ruybal moved in, the payments bounced, with Davis’ bank saying the checks were written from an account that was closed.
After some digging, Davis discovered that the woman she rented her house to wasn’t Rayes Ruybal but a woman named Heather Schwab.
In searching for information about Heather Schwab, Davis discovered that she and her husband, William Schwab, had a history of squatting in rental homes and forcing homeowners to go through the long eviction process.
One attorney referred to the Schwabs as “serial squatters” who know more about eviction laws than most attorneys.
Schwab has lived in the Davises home since late July and has not paid a penny in rent. Jessica Davis told CBS Texas that without the rental income, she is unable to pay the mortgage on the Rowlett house or her rent in Florida.
Her calls to law enforcement were useless, as both the police and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office told her the issue was a civil, not criminal, matter.
The Davises have started the eviction process, but with laws protecting renters and a backlog in eviction cases, they realize that getting rid of a serial squatter isn’t easy.
In a statement to CBS News Texas, Zillow said it prohibits any user from impersonating someone else or “operating under false pretenses.” The company said it takes this “seriously” and will not tolerate it on its platform.
Copyright 2023, PatriotWise.com