An Aussie pensioner suffering from cancer has claimed she’s been kicked out of her own home by a squatter who is now refusing to leave.
Appearing on Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, Julie Pearn claimed she has been forced to continue paying off the mortgage on her home in Deniliquin, in the New South Wales Riverina, for the last two years while watching a woman slowly destroy it.
She claimed on the show that the woman moved in without her knowledge while she was away visiting her sick father in November 2016. She had been renting her property out to a family friend at the time.
However, he later moved out and his sister allegedly moved in with her children without Ms Pearn’s knowledge.
When she returned home, she allegedly found the woman inside so initially tried to set up a formal rental agreement and offered to take her to Centrelink to help her sort out some rental assistance – for the sake of the kids – but the woman is said to have refused.
“As far as she’s concerned, she’s got the rights,” Ms Pearn told the show. “She tells me to get off her property, get out of her house.”
Ms Pearn has reportedly been forced to live in a small motor home nearby while she tries to fight to get her property back. She claimed on the show that police are unable to remove the woman without a court order.
She claimed she’s taken her case to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, but has been held up due to not having a formal rental agreement in place to begin with.
Ms Pearn revealed on the show that she’s now concerned for her health due to the stress of the events, as she suffers from skin cancer and a heart condition.
The program’s camera crews visited the property and footage shows piles of debris outside, the garden destroyed and the house in a poor state. Images taken years earlier show the shocking transformation, with Ms Pearn having once kept it in pristine condition.
As the camera crew attempted to speak to the alleged squatter, she refused to step outside and instead appeared to hurl abuse outside, shouting: “Take the camera crew with you and f*** off.”
Leo Patterson Ross, Senior Policy Officer at the Tenancy Union of New South Wales, revealed to the show: “Squatters rights do exist in Australia, but there are very clear rules around it, and it’s not an easy thing to claim.”
According to NSW laws, a person needs to have been squatting for 12 years before they can claim ownership of the property.