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NYC Family’s Dream Home Turns Nightmare as Squatter Refuses to Leave

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Clear Facts

  • The Landa family, successful interior designers, purchased a $2 million house in Douglaston, New York City, intending for their sons to reside there and care for their brother with Down Syndrome.
  • The house came with an unexpected problem: a former caretaker, Brett Flores, who refused to leave, claiming squatters’ rights and filing for bankruptcy to protect himself from litigation.
  • Flores, who had been the caretaker for the previous owner, has been taken to court nine times, over half of which have occurred since the Landas purchased the home. He has allegedly demanded a large sum of money to leave the property.

In a quiet, affluent suburb of New York City, a family’s dream home has turned into a nightmare. The Landa family, owners of Interiors by J. C. Landa, a renowned interior design firm, purchased a $2 million house next door to their current residence. Their intention was for their sons to live there and help care for their brother with Down Syndrome.

The family’s company, Interiors by J. C. Landa, has worked with “many of the most exclusive homes and corporate offices in the country,” including the White House during the Obama administration. The Landas expressed their gratitude for the opportunity “to have served the White House throughout the past eight years” in a Facebook post.

However, their new property came with an unexpected issue: a tenant who refused to leave. Brett Flores, a 32-year-old nurse, had lived in the home as the caretaker for the previous owner, Bernand Fernandez. After Fernandez’s death, Flores claimed squatters’ rights and filed for bankruptcy, a move the Landa family’s lawyer argues is intended to protect him from litigation.

“Mrs. and Mr. Landa, or any of their representatives, do not under any circumstances have my consent to enter my residence here,” a sign on the door of the house read. “I decline any contact request with the Landas, and any contact will be interpreted as harassment. Kindly forward all communications to my lawyer, Dennis O’Sullivan, whose contact info is listed below. Thank you.”

Flores, who received $3000 a month for his caretaker services, claimed that Fernandez gave him permission to remain in the house. However, he has failed to produce any supporting evidence for this claim.

“We’re in the process of having the automatic bankruptcy stay lifted so that we can go back to court and proceed with a trial,” Anthony Mordente, the lawyer for the Landa family, told Fox News Digital. “I think we’ll be successful. I don’t have any reason why the bankruptcy judge would have any reason to keep the stay in effect.”

“[The house] is not part of his bankruptcy estate because he doesn’t have a ten-year lease that would give him time to stay here, so without a lease and without an agreement to stay, the bankruptcy judge is going to say: What is this all about?” Mordente added.

Mordente also rejected the notion that Flores had any basis for occupancy, either as a proper tenant or as a squatter. He stated, “A squatter is technically someone who breaks into a property, so he has entered without the permission of his employer, so he’s technically not a squatter in the legal sense of the term. In my opinion, he doesn’t have any possessive interest in the space because, in point, his employment has been terminated by the death of his employer.”

Flores has now appeared in court nine times, over half of which have occurred since the Landas bought the home. He has reportedly demanded a large sum of money, “in excess of $100,000,” to leave the property, a demand the family has refused.

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O’Sullivan, Flores’ lawyer, declined to comment on claims that Flores had offered to leave if paid. However, he stated that his client’s position is that the family has used intimidation tactics to try and force him out of the home. Mordente denied that the Landas had engaged in any form of intimidation.

Flores did not respond when Fox News Digital knocked on the door of the property. An examination of the home revealed that several security cameras were visible around the property, some of which had been painted over. The lawn and side yard sit have been totally torn up: Mordente claimed the family did so after Flores caused a sewage back-up by clogging the pipes.

Most strikingly, many residents did not appear to have known that Flores did not own the home and had lived there as a potential squatter. At a church within walking distance of the home, a patron said they couldn’t believe it would happen in such an affluent area.

Flores had posted on several rental sites – all of which have since been deleted – and advertised individual rooms, such as the “Prince Room,” which he charged $50 a night, according to The New York Post.

O’Sullivan said that he would offer further comments on Friday in response to the increased media attention on the case.

Clear Thoughts (op-ed)

The case of the Landa family and their squatter problem is a glaring example of the flaws in our legal system. A family who worked hard to purchase a dream home for their sons and a brother with Down Syndrome is being held hostage by a former caretaker exploiting legal loopholes.

Brett Flores, refusing to leave and demanding a large sum of money, has turned the Landas’ dream into a nightmare. The fact that he can delay justice through bankruptcy filings and questionable claims of squatters’ rights is a travesty.

This situation should serve as a wake-up call for lawmakers and the judiciary to address these legal loopholes and ensure that hardworking American families are not subjected to such blatant abuses of the system. The Landa family deserves to enjoy their dream home without being exploited by opportunistic individuals like Brett Flores.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. John J

    March 5, 2024 at 6:36 am

    This shit is so ridiculous, the police should move them out immediately

    • Marcua Allen

      March 5, 2024 at 7:19 am

      I would have thrown him out on his ass day ONE!!

  2. Wayne Leathers

    March 5, 2024 at 7:15 am

    What about ejectment?
    A simple common law remittee.
    Read the statute not opinions.

  3. Donald Dellmann

    March 5, 2024 at 7:37 am

    Throw the guy out! At gunpoint if necessary, he’s an illegal intruder.

    Don

    • M.I.Childs

      April 10, 2024 at 8:16 am

      The Landa family could move into Eric Adam’s house when he and his family leave on vacation and squat.
      I’m sure this problem would disappear fast. I’m not really suggesting the Landa family actually squat on Eric Adam’s property, but just highlighting the evils of this situation and the democrat party that perpetrated
      this evil.

  4. Dr. Caligari

    March 5, 2024 at 9:35 am

    They probably have spent more than $100K on legal fees which they will not recover

  5. Good Luck

    March 5, 2024 at 9:56 am

    I do not care what laws this guy is trying, This just should not happen. Take this guy out and put him in Jail, then he will have a place to stay. You can not just walk into somebodys house and say its mine.

  6. edi

    March 5, 2024 at 9:57 am

    Take the m’fr out. He’s trespassing and should be shot.

  7. Patricia A Anderson

    March 5, 2024 at 9:58 am

    Who do our laws protect? Obviously not the honest people. This is ridiculous. He needs to be physically removed.

    • edi

      March 5, 2024 at 9:58 am

      Take the m’fr out. He’s trespassing and should be shot.

  8. Doug_S

    March 5, 2024 at 2:10 pm

    Wait until he leaves, enter and change the locks. Throw his personal effects out. If he’s broke he can’t afford to sue, and it will take going the courts.

  9. Kajun Klown

    March 5, 2024 at 4:46 pm

    Every time I read about one of these situations, the first thought I have is why doesn’t the owner just go in and start throwing everything out along with the idiot claiming to have “rights”…. I know if I were in this situation, the only reason it would be on the news is because I would be arrested for aggravated battery and grievous bodily harm.

  10. Linde Barrera

    May 4, 2024 at 5:34 am

    Sounds to me as though Brett Flores is a narcissist. He should not be allowed to get away with this.

  11. inyoface

    May 4, 2024 at 10:37 pm

    Pay a guy named “Vito” to rent the “Prince room” and their problem would DISAPPEAR.

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