Company cleans up messes from squatters
February 21, 2018 06:06 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Needles, trash, and feces are just a few things a local company has to deal with as they clean up after squatters.
Robbie Sanchez is the owner of Southwest Concierge Property and Safety Services. He and his crew are hired by real estate agents to bring bank owned homes up to code.
It's not a glamorous job. But if they don't do it, Sanchez said the city will have to take action and the bill would fall on taxpayers. They never know what they'll find, but they always prepare for the worst.
"There can be used heroin needles those are a particular concern to us," he said.
Sanchez has been clearing out properties for 25 years. He and his employees clean up around 400 homes in central New Mexico every year, and Sanchez said they're running into squatters more and more.
"It's been a real issue to the point that we've had to build policies and procedures in our firm and teach some of our real estate agents how to handle properties with the expectation of a squatter, even in areas that don't normally have them," Sanchez said.
Sanchez pulled up to an apartment complex on Pennsylvania Wednesday morning for a cleanup. But before he and his guys could go in, they had to clear out six squatters. According to Sanchez, getting them to leave takes just as much care as the sweeping up the biohazards and removing trash.
"We show up with whatever it takes, you know? Coffee, breakfast, a few bucks to get them a hotel for the next night," Sanchez said. "That works well and keeps my guys safe and gets these people out in a cooperative manner."
Sanchez and his wife, April, team up to approach the people with dignity. On Wednesday, his wife handed out the coffee and they try to point people in the right direction for help. Their timing is all part of the plan too. Sanchez said they always go to the properties early in the morning when to catch squatters off guard, and when they’re most likely to be sober.
"Whether we like it or not squatters are members of our community and at one time maybe contributing members of our society or more locally in our community," he said. "They deserve the compassion and understanding that they’re down on their luck."
Created: February 21, 2018 06:06 PM
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