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Texas homeowner claims squatter who sold furniture in yard sale was repairman hired off TikTok as lawmakers blame police

The Texas woman whose home was turned into a squatter’s “drug den” and sold her furniture in a yard sale said she hired the man as a recommended repairman from TikTok.

Terri Boyette appeared in front of a Texas Senate committee on Wednesday to reveal the horrors she faced while trying to remove the vagrants from her home. 

“This is burglary. This is breaking and entering,” said Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt, the committee chairman, according to Fox 4 Dallas

“He was selling your possessions on your front lawn. I am outraged. This should not happen in Texas, and it will never happen again after we get this bill passed.”

Boyette’s nightmare started when she fired the worker off the social media platmore last June to make repairs on her home while she cared for her elderly mother in Florida, according to WFAA.

While away, the repairman began squatting in Boyette’s Mesquite home, about 14 miles from Downtown Dallas, and allowed other strangers to do so with him. 

A painter had broken in and wrecked the place, leaving crack pipes in her oven and needles in a drawer, Boyette told The Post in March.

The homeowner hired the worker to help fix up her home while she was in Florida helping her elderly mother last summer. ABC 8

For nearly a year, they turned her home into a biohazard zone, with police telling her they were unable to resolve the issue. 

In December, a judge finally granted an eviction notice to remove the worker from the home, but with the holidays approaching, the judge extended the squatter’s appeal by 30 days.

“She didn’t want him to be homeless over the holidays, which left me homeless over the holidays,” Boyette told WFAA.

Once the suspected squatter knew he would be evicted from the home, he started selling off her washer, dryer, refrigerator and dining room table.

Terri Boyette said for nearly a year, the squatter and the other vagrants made the inside look like a biohazard zone.  ABC 8

The alleged squatter was served with his final eviction notice on Feb. 6 and was formally evicted on March 20. 

But as it nears a year since the repairman and others began living in the home, Boyette said she’s still been unable to move back in due to the havoc and disarray left behind by multiple vagrants

Boyette’s Mesquite home was one of 475 such squatter cases in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, according to Bettencourt.

But he and other lawmakers plan to put the issue to rest with new legislation.

The repairman had begun squatting in Boyette’s house and allowed other strangers to do so with him.  ABC 8
She said in June, she contacted the Mesquite police, who explained to her there was nothing they could do to remove the squatters from her residence. ABC 8

Bettencourt found that Texas, like many other states, does not clearly define a squatter or what a homeowner can legally pursue to define a person as such in court.  

He has since launched the committee to find an answer for the legal loopholes many vagrants use to shack up in homes they don’t pay rent on or illegally enter and claim to be tenants. 

Sen. Royce West, one of the legislators who sits on the committee, asked Boyette why the Mesquite Police Department wasn’t able to remove the squatters. 

Boyette detailed how police left her high and dry for months, and the issue was only resolved after months of back-and-forth in the courts.

As it nears a year since the repairman and others began living in the home, Boyette said she’s still been unable to move back in due to its conditions. ABC 8
The Mesquite Police Department said that Boyette’s issue has been resolved, and it was “handled appropriately and professionally, with due regard for existing state law.” ABC 8

“I called the police. They said, ‘How long has he been there?’ I said about two weeks. They said this is a civil matter,” she told the committee.

Boyette revealed the alleged squatter returned to the home in April, banging on the door and demanding to enter. 

Boyette appeared in front of the committee to detail her story with the squatters. Fox 4 Dallas
Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt. Fox 4 Dallas

The man was later arrested on a criminal trespass complaint. 

“It makes no sense. No sense at all. I am starting to get outrageous as well,” West proclaimed. “I want to know from Mesquite PD what they don’t understand about the statute.”

“They said because no one was living there,” Boyette told the senator. 

“That’s a bunch of crap,” he replied about the ineptitude of law enforcement.

Legislators from both parties have demanded answers from the police.

Bettencourt has requested the Mesquite Police Department to attend their next meeting to explain why the man was not removed from the home.