Squatter won't move out of Lehigh Acres vet's home
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - A war veteran, recently returned home from Afghanistan to find out the tenant who rented his home while he was away is behind on rent and won't move out.
He and his dog are stuck living in a pop-up camper in a campground while they wait for the eviction paperwork to make its way through the court system.
Four In Your Corner's Colleen Hogan is working to help the man.
When Steven Maczek left to fight in Afghanistan, he thought everything was going to be taken care of at home. He hired a property management company, who got a renter in but now, he says he's stuck with a squatter.
"With this process, I'd rather be back over there in Afghanistan," he said.
The Army med-evac pilot returned home to find the woman who was renting his house was way behind in rent. He says she owes him almost $5,000.
He got rid of his property management company because he says they should have started the eviction process when she first started falling behind on the rent. He says they let the process get too far gone, causing him to have to start it with the court system when he got back from Afghanistan.
"I just wanna get back in my house and continue my life," he said. "I can't even get into a hotel, because I have a large dog."
So he and his dog have been sleeping at a campground in his pop-up camper. Before that, he had to spend Christmas Eve in the camper in the parking lot of a truck stop because he had no where else to go.
We reached out to the Lee County Clerk of Courts several times Thursday by phone and email to see what could be done.
We were told we were free to check the records online or in person, but no other advice was given on the timeline Maczek could expect, or if the process could be expedited due to the circumstances. The online court documents show official paperwork was filed in the beginning of December for the eviction process.
We also went to Maczek's Lehigh Acres home. The woman was home but would not answer the door, shouting 'I have no comment' when we tried to question why she wouldn't leave. Which means it's another night in the campground for Maczek and his dog.
We'll keep you posted on what happens and keep working to get them back into their home.
Colleen Hogan, reporter