I walked by a hundred times before i realized there was a two story brick house set way back from the road, overgrowth having reclaimed the yard years ago.
A few more times i walked by before i decided to check it out up close. The doors were sealed shut with ivy. Mail in the box stopped two years ago. I couldn't see in any doors or windows, but from the outside it looked sound. I lamented having a lease.
On either side are two story rowhouses. So, four units directly adjacent. Two on one side condemned, on the other side one guy just went to jail, the other i shared my blunt with a few weeks back. I turned around and looked across the street. No line of site between the front door and any windows - at least none with tenants. I was invisible.
Even if i wasn't, people in this neighborhood won't be calling the cops without "good" reason, and that house not being empty any more is not a good reason. I wished i knew someone who needed a squat.
As i walked away I could almost feel a prybar in my hand again. It had been a long time since i opened a squat, longer since i myself squatted. Nostalgia. But, I'm locked into a lease.
I jotted down the address to look up the property later, out of curiosity. for old time's sake. It took me a few days to get around to it.
So, i found the owner. He doesn't own any other properties, so where is he? Let's google him. Oh, he died a few years back in a nursing home. How sad. Who inherited the house then?
I'm going to skip the part where i learned way too much about state inheritance law, and just tell you that it will be a long time before the judge decides who has the power to evict. And of all the people who might win that fight, none live within 400 miles.
At this point I'm shaking my head. This place is asking to be squatted. Letting it sit and fall into decay like so many other homes around here is such a waste. But, my lease.
Fast forward to the fifth of August. Rent is due and I've got just enough to pay if i don't eat for two weeks. I'm bad at my job, i really don't give a shit and it shows. So, they fire me. I have just enough to pay rent, not eat, and have no income. Last time this happened, i squatted. But, my lease.
So i call my landlord, and i let him know my situation. I ask about a partial payment. He reminds me in no uncertain terms that landlords care only for profit, not for people. Chronic late payment of rent is an evictable offense. It's in the lease. He's so sick of me being late he won't even charge me for August if I'm out by the 7th.
So, i was out by the 7th. Guess who's squatting?
Electricity was already on by some miracle, water and gas are off. I'm not sure if water can be turned on, these pipes are pretty fucked.
The locks are changed, windows blacked out with tarp. i have some personal things that i wouldn't be heartbroken to lose, a lease with the address and some signatures on it. An updated ID is coming in the mail, and the mail carrier knows that no, it's not a mistake, yes someone is renting this place now. Tomorrow I'm clearing a path from sidewalk to door so i won't be going around back anymore. Tonight I'm putting more mildew covered books into bags in the basement to be taken out on trash day.
An old comrade is in talks about flying out to live cheap and make savings. It would be good to not be alone, to have help and to be help. I miss living with anarchists.
Once my ID comes I'd like to get electricity in my name, to avoid any legal issues regarding stealing utilities but also so nobody who gets a bill sees usage go up (even though I'm not using much).
I'm anxious for the cops to show. I honestly don't think they will any time soon though. When they do, it won't be hard to demonstrate i don't meet the definition of trespasser.
I need to get a hotplate. Currently cooking down the road at a friend's and because the fridge is gross I'm keeping food in an insulated shopping bag with two jugs of water, one refrozen each day. It would be nice to reheat something.
I pick up decent wifi here too.