Family stranded overseas are shocked to learn a drug-using squatter has moved into their home and trashed it – dumping their belongings outside and ripping a hole in the bathroom wall
- Family stranded overseas learns squatter taken over their home and trashed it
- The Liu family have been stuck in China due to Covid pandemic for two years
- Squatter had taken over home, causing incredible damage to their belongings
- The family estimates half a million worth of their possessions have gone missing
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Homeowners stranded overseas due to the Covid-19 pandemic have been through hell after a squatter took over their house, trashed it and stole their belongings.
The Lius travelled to China in late 2019 to visit family but were have been unable to return to their home in Hawthorn East, Melbourne since.
But while in Shanghai they were horrified to discover a stranger had moved into their empty home and plastered a warning sign on the front door.
But while in Shanghai they were horrified to discover a stranger had moved into their empty home and plastered a warning sign on the front door
‘Common law rights … entitle the occupier to quiet enjoyment of the property to the exclusion of all other persons,’ the sign reads.
‘Entering the property without the consent … will constitute trespass’.
An interpreter for the Liu family said the squatter was first discovered by a friend who walked past the property and saw lights on, contacting Mr Liu.
What was described as possible drug paraphernalia was seen around the home and next to the makeshift bedroom (pictured)
Video of the property shows belongings dumped outside, rubbish littering every room, part of the wall in the bathroom pulled out, and what appears to be drug paraphernalia in a bedroom.
The man even allegedly broke a window to allow his cat to walk in and out of the house.
‘You’d think it was a tip, that’s how bad it was,’ said the couple’s Melbourne solicitor Tony Carbone told A Current Affair.
Mr Liu described the home as a ‘war space’ when they saw the damage.
The squatter also went as far as changing the locks and remote for the garage, parking his car inside.
Jewellery, furniture and clothing were all gone with the homeowners estimating half a million dollars worth of their possessions have disappeared, not counting the bill for the damage to their home.
Police told the family they couldn’t kick down the door without an eviction order so the Lius were forced to apply to the Supreme Court in order to reclaim their home.
‘He was surprised that we need to do so much and get the court involved to actually remove this person from the house,’ said Mr Liu’s interpreter.
The squatter claimed to be relying on adverse possession, colloquially known as ‘squatters rights’, where anyone can be given ownership to a property if they have been on the property for 15 years.
A source told A Current Affair the squatter was under the impression the house was abandoned and thought he wasn’t doing anything wrong.
They also said a criminal gang is searching for and ransacking homes that are empty, with a black market list for addresses of houses that are empty for squatters.
The squatter was arrested by police but released without charge pending a further investigation while Mr Liu plans to make a claim with his insurer.
The Liu family described their home (pictured) as a ‘war space’ and estimated half a million worth of their possessions were missing