A Florida woman has been arrested for renting out her neighbor’s foreclosed home, an act that made her more than $13,000 since mid-June.
Once Nathalie Heil, 30, discovered her neighbor’s home was foreclosed, she took over the home and placed it on Craig’s list in the “For Rent” section.
It took the owners 8 months to discover what was happening. It is owned by Juan Cedano, but his daughter Kelly Kefner managed it. She said she had not visited it in awhile because it was in foreclosure.
When she went to the house in January, she discovered it was inhabited by two young women, April Wehle, 24, and Talia Williams, 25.
Heil thought she had possession of the house after she filed papers for an “adverse possession,” which is an archaic law in the state allowing squatters to take ownership of a property if they live there for seven years and pay taxes.
Heil was arrested and faces charges of grand theft and fraud. She was released from jail on a $6,000 bond.
The women who lived in the house said they paid a total of $13,500 in rent to Heil and spent another $500 to make repairs to the house.
Heil told Palm Beach Post she thought it was “right,” as she claimed in papers that the house was abandoned more than six years ago.
She told police that she had gone to the county courthouse and filed the paperwork.
Authorities could not find any record of the paperwork, and the house was still listed as Cedano’s.
Police confronted her when she went to the house to collect rent. They told her that Cedano was still the owner, and has been since 2007.
“I legally subletted my house, there’s three sides to every story,” she said, explaining that Wehle and Williams still live there.
She said she is fearful after she received death threats when the story went public.
“I’m freaking out,” she said. “I have a full-time job and I’m a single mom.”
A realtor warned people of renting property from Craigslist.
“Craigslist, that’s like a haven for scam artists,” Realtor Laura Pearlman said. “Don’t give money to anyone unless you know it’s going to the owner or the property management company or a realtor.”