Watch the video here. And the story goes…

Condo bust draws scams and squatters

MIAMI – June 19, 2008 – Someone had kicked the door in on the foreclosure on the 33rd floor at The Club at Brickell Bay. Last week, Lori Rice, the building’s property manager, pushed it open. Inside, she found the tell-tale signs of a squatter: a mattress on the floor, a few toiletries in the bathroom.

“Clearly, a man was staying in there,” Rice said, adding that she called the police.

When police arrived on Monday, they found the marble floors splashed with black paint. The man had fled, leaving destruction in his wake – along with a change of clothes in the washing machine.

Among the decidedly low-rent problems plaguing South Florida’s luxury condo market, squatters are the latest headache to arise from the glut of vacant foreclosures in some of Miami’s toniest condominiums.

At a recent meeting at the Brickell on the River North, a room full of property managers sat down to commiserate over a slew of other troubles: Impostor landlords leasing units they do not own, collecting deposits and rent from unsuspecting tenants, and a rash of vandalism and burglaries. Investor-owners, desperate to turn a dollar, are even renting to tourists by the day, undercutting local hotels at bargain rates.

“When you come in with luggage, it’s kind of obvious,” said the outspoken Rice, who admits her building has been hit harder than the rest. “They are advertising on Expedia.” During the 90-minute meeting, attended by cops and lawyers from the state, stories were shared and solutions discussed.

Continue reading here…

And why not Miami? Squatting has been around for awhile:

In the states, at least, you can toss out a squatter toot sweet. Harder here and, apparently, in “developed” places, like London. In the states, you really have more to fear from your government and their aggressive eminent domain actions. I’ll take my chances here.

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