Nearly 5,000 people in Las Vegas are living in homes illegally. For homeowners, getting squatters out is a nightmare.
It can be dangerous as squatting often goes hand in hand with other serious crimes.
But it's not just strangers or problem tenants taking over homes. We talked to a valley man burned by his own flesh and blood.
When you invite a friend or relative to stay in your home rent free you expect them to leave when you ask.
Especially if they wear out their welcome.
But for one father, it was seemingly impossible to kick his son out after he said he trashed the house and committed a string of crimes.
Darcy: This is your house?
Chris Talamante: Yeah.
Darcy: Are you Chris?
Darcy: Oh! So you're out of prison!
Chris: I've never been--I'm not in--I wasn't in prison.
Darcy: Jail. Should I say jail?
Chris Talamante is recently out of jail on bail for one of many pending criminal cases. That's his present. But he's also got a past.
"They found a stolen car," says Chris's father Johnny Talamante. "Some drugs and drug paraphernalia and stolen merchandise."
Johnny gave his son a chance to get back on his feet after he got out of prison at the end of 2008. He says Chris was doing pretty well for a few years.
"Towards this last year and a half, he's just gone off the deep end."
Chris returned to is old ways; drugs and theft.
"A bunch of shady characters showing up at the house," says Johnny.
Johnny says while he worked out-of-town, his son brought in other addicts and more problems.
"Basically, it's a flop house."
He says the people staying there were even taking his mail. Johnny told his son to leave and did his best to run off the uninvited guests but it wasn't long before his home was trashed.
"This is my bedroom....what's left of it. They broke the door down."
The evidence is everywhere. Broken shards of glass and an A/C unit that was clearly slammed into the existing window. It's being held up by some wood and some rocks. And then other evidence in the driveway. Discarded appliances. Random pieces of furniture. That's what the home looks like on Desert Clover on the Northwest side of town that Johnny says became an endless crime scene. Police confirm they responded here more than 20 times in just six months. And every time police came, Johnny told them his son was a squatter.
Johnny says even after another man squatting in the house was found killed nearby and LVMPD's SWAT team responded, he still couldn't get his son out.
"The homicide detective called me and told me he could stay in the house."
It seems like common sense: If you tell someone to leave and they don't call police.
But it's not that easy, says Captain Rich Forbus of the Las Vegas Constable's office.
"There's civil laws and civil processes that kind of override what you are referring to as common sense."
Forbus says the law gives rights to anyone who establishes residency, and that can be vague.
"They've got belongings there. They're living in a room, let's say in the house. We can't just say, 'Hey you're getting kicked out.' Because that'd be considered an illegal eviction. There's liability for doing that."
Johnny says the eviction process is too complicated, especially because he couldn't keep up with all the new people squatting at his home.
Fed up and fearing he'd get in trouble for all the criminal activity, Johnny moved out of his own house.
"When I got over to the house now, I have to take the police with me. And he just sticks out his chest like, "Yep. This is mine. This is where I can live. This is where I can stay."
Chris: I do have a right to be here.
Darcy: And you have legal paperwork to prove it?
Chris: I have a right to be here.
Darcy: Where is that right documented?
Chris: It's a verbal agreement between me and my dad.
Captain Forbus says there's a specific way to evict informal tenants like friends or family members.
You need to file what's called a Tenancy-At-Will notice" Click here for more information.