Brooklyn Homeowner Struggles with Persistent Squatters, Faces Financial Ruin

A Brooklyn homeowner in Dyker Heights is facing financial ruin as he battles persistent squatters who have taken over his property. Zafar Iqbal, a 53-year-old MTA worker, purchased the house for $1.1 million in 2017 and has been struggling to regain control ever since. Despite his efforts to fix up the property, the intruders continue to return, leaving Iqbal afraid to approach his own home.

Iqbal, who is currently paying $6,000 a month in mortgage, expressed his frustration with the situation. He fears for his safety and is uncertain if the squatters possess weapons. Additionally, he has been waiting for three months for his insurance claim to be processed so that he can restore the property, which has become an eyesore in the neighborhood.

Squatters have become a growing problem in New York City due to a surge in homelessness, the migrant crisis, and a backlog of cases in the city’s housing courts. Iqbal’s eight-bedroom house at 1237 67th Street has been a target for squatters, leading to numerous complaints from neighbors. The intruders not only stole from residents but also caused damage to neighboring homes and destroyed security cameras.

The situation escalated when one of the alleged squatters, Cheng Chen, set fire to the house on November 29, resulting in an estimated $900,000 in damages. Chen, who was charged with arson and criminal mischief, pleaded guilty and received a six-month jail term. According to a criminal complaint, Chen claimed he accidentally started the fire while smoking and using candles to stay warm.

Iqbal had previously lived in the house for nearly three years but moved out to renovate it. However, he has been unable to proceed with the renovations due to the persistent presence of squatters. Despite having Chen arrested, the intruders continue to return, even after the house was boarded up.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

3 Responses

  1. I would recommend the homeowner in Dyker Heights to seek legal assistance from a reputable real estate attorney. They can provide guidance and support in dealing with the squatters and help protect the homeowner’s rights. Additionally, documenting any evidence of the squatters’ presence, such as photographs or videos, can be helpful in building a strong case. It’s crucial for the homeowner to take immediate action to resolve this situation and prevent further financial distress.

  2. It is unfortunate to hear about the homeowner’s struggle with squatters. In situations like these, it is important for homeowners to understand their rights and take appropriate legal action. One resource that may be helpful is the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) website. They provide information on how to deal with squatters and steps to take to regain control of the property. Additionally, reaching out to local law enforcement and consulting with a real estate attorney can also provide valuable guidance in such

  3. “Home is where the heart is, but what happens when your home becomes a battleground? This story of a homeowner in Dyker Heights facing financial ruin due to persistent squatters strikes a chord with me. It reminds us of the vulnerability and helplessness that can arise when our safe haven is invaded. Our homes should be a sanctuary, a place of comfort and security. When that is taken away, it is not just a loss of property, but a loss of peace of mind. This serves as

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