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Texas realtor joins squatter Senate hearing, discusses approach to building 'trust' with unlawful occupants

A realtor in Texas has been helping his clients remove squatters from properties since 2020. Since then, he has used a unique approach to peacefully getting squatters out of homes.

A Texas realtor out of Houston has leveraged a unique approach to removing squatters from properties, and it scored him a seat at a Senate hearing on Wednesday in Austin.

George Huntoon told Fox News Digital during a phone interview that, since 2020, he has handled four squatter situations in which he speaks directly to the occupants and uses a cover story to gain trust.

The first situation he assisted with was when he helped his friend remove squatters from her property, an instance he chronicled and posted to his YouTube channel. 

Since he posted the video in May 2022, Huntoon’s approach to squatter removal has gained a lot of traction, causing others to reach out to him for help while dealing with the same situations.


"Squatters have always kind of been a thing, obviously, but when I got called in on that very first one in 2020, I wasn't expecting anything," Huntoon told Fox News Digital. "Then that's when I would start getting a few more phone calls about this situation."

Huntoon calls his approach to dealing with squatters a "counterintuitive" one in which he puts himself in the position of being a "negotiator" with them.

During one of these squatter situations, which Huntoon calls the worst he has dealt with to date, involved a house on Murrayhill in west Houston. The house previously belonged to an elderly woman who moved into a nursing home. After squatters set up shop in the home, the woman's extended family reached out to the realtor for help. 

Huntoon said there were up to 10 people living in the residence at any given time.

In his direct interactions with the squatters, he talked to them with a compassionate tone rather than one of hostility.


"I went over there and created a cover story that I was with, like the church or this organization down the road, and I was there to take a look at the house because we were going to try to fix it up for them a little bit to make it livable," Huntoon said of the property he frequently visited between January and April 2023.

"I created that kind of cover story and so I could slowly build trust from these people in there, and that's what happened," he said. "It was a two-, three-month process, which was something like I've never seen. I became embedded in this house, daily or every other day."

As someone the squatters spoke with often, Huntoon told Fox News Digital that he slowly started planting seeds that the police were on to the house, which he said was full of criminal activity.

"I kind of gained this trust, but it was a psychological game," Huntoon said. "I was playing my games, they were playing theirs, but I slowly planted a seed that ‘Hey, I think the cops are really onto this place, guys.’"

In this particular scenario, the squatters slowly started to vacate the property, until there were just a few left, who were arrested.


In the squatter cases that Huntoon plays a hand in, he interacts directly with them while simultaneously going through the legal process to get them removed.

"We did go through the court process as well, in parallel to what I was doing, and we ended up getting the eviction, finally," he said of the Murrayhill home. "But what I was able to avoid was some showdown between the police and them."

"You have some professional squatters that are just horrible people, just gaming the system, and then you have some really poor homeless people looking for a roof over their head," the realtor said. "You run a fine line of trying to be humane in certain circumstances as well, and I kind of took that approach here, and it was successful."

With squatter issues consuming the country, Huntoon offered tips for homeowners to keep in mind when they are leaving their properties to help protect themselves.

"If you're going to be away from this home, you absolutely need to be monitoring your home, whether it's security cameras, alarm systems, neighbors, because if people go and move in, and no one says anything, and they can, they'll fly under the radar, then that's when problems start," Huntoon said.

Also, befriend neighbors who can be your eyes and ears when you’re not around. Not knowing who your neighbors are, a very common circumstance today, is one reason Huntoon highlighted that messy squatter issues occur.

"In a lot of neighborhoods these days, and I see it as a realtor, people don't know each other, you don't know your neighbors, everyone's so busy," Huntoon said. "We're all just busy and no one talks to anyone anymore."

Huntoon told Fox News Digital in an email that it seems that Texas is serious about laws to make the process of dealing with squatters easier for homeowners.

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