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Riverview home broken into twice by squatters

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RIVERVIEW, FL - For the second time this year, squatters broke in through a back door of Julie Norwood’s Riverview home and were moving in using the adverse possession law as their defense.

It's a nightmare relived for Norwood and her parents.   Her dad's illness forced them to leave their house of 40 years.  "I am the kind of person who will not let someone mess with my family. It’s not gonna happen," said Norwood.

Norwood is livid.

"It's gotten completely out of control and I'm telling you right now I am going to do whatever I have to do to get it fixed," she said.

For six months, Jeanella Pollock and her family set up shop.   Her husband was a Manatee County deputy at the time, he has since resigned. They acted like the owned the place, leaving behind a smelly mess.
 
Related Story: Woman accused of breaking in and moving into home

"I feel for the people this is happening to and they don't know what to do," said Norwood.

An 8 On Your Side investigation uncovered this squatter trouble in 2011.  Since then, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office has cracked down on adverse possession violators.  The Property Appraiser is giving fraud alerts to applicants warning if they occupy a house, "they are trespassing, possibly breaking and entering and are subject to being arrested." 

Years ago, the office would see one to two requests a year. 

"All of the sudden we're getting a 100, 150 of them a year.   And so it struck me that something else is going on out there," said Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez.

Each request for adverse possession triggers a note to the sheriff's office and the homeowner of record. The Property Appraiser, a former lawmaker himself, says current regulations needs more teeth.  "We're looking forward to working again with the legislature to find way to tighten up this law to make sure that the original intent of it isn't being in some way twisted," said Henriquez.

Norwood fears what the latest squatters left behind.  Her new fight is to get the law changed.

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