Consumer Justice: Lawmaker Wants Serial Squatters Stopped

by Cristin Severance and Kelsey Mittauer

GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW) – A Texas lawmaker is taking action after a Consumer Justice investigation into a couple attorneys have dubbed “serial squatters”.

William and Heather Schwab have racked up at least 20 evictions since 2005, repeatedly moving into homes then refusing to pay rent. They are currently going through their ninth eviction in Denton County since 2015.

Landlords say the Schwab’s owe them tens of thousands of dollars in back rent but when the call police they are told it’s a civil matter.

“The level of fraud being perpetrated on innocent Texans was alarming to me,” said State Representative Rodney Anderson (R) Grand Prairie.

Representative Anderson says the “serial nature” of this should be criminal.

“This is something we as the legislature need to look at and need to address if there is not already alternatives there,” said Anderson.

Anderson requested an interim charge from the speaker of the house and it was granted.

“The speaker honored that and there will be interim hearings on this specific issue in the business and industry committee of the Texas house. They are hearings to investigate what type of remedies are out there now for this and how can we prevent this type of fraud from happening from a criminal prospective,” said Anderson.

Anderson, who works in the real estate industry with a regional title insurance underwriter, did extensive research on the current property code. He’s also enlisted the help of the Tarrant county District Attorney’s office to see if there is anything under the current state law that can be used to charge “serial squatters” criminally.

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