Local News


Las Vegas couple in never-ending battle with squatters

Posted at 11:52 PM, Jul 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-06 02:52:40-04
A Las Vegas couple is ready to give up in a year’s long battle with squatters who continue to break into their building. 
"In the last three or four years, 30 times at least," Lavell Atkinson said of the number of times he’s found squatters inside his vacant office.
The house on Decatur Boulevard near Smoke Ranch Road used to be home to Atkinson’s carpet business.
It’s now home to piles of discarded food, clothing and other junk.
The couple has done their best to keep people out, but say it is a losing proposition.
"It's frustrating because it has cost us a ton of money," Sheila Atkinson said.
Lavell Atkinson said he called police Tuesday after walking in and finding a squatter lounging on the furniture.
"Here's where the boy was sitting in that chair when I came through last night," Lavell Atkinson said.
 Atkinson said he watched as the squatter snuck out one end of the building as the officer came in through the other.
"He chased around there, but never could find where he went," Lavell Atkinson said,
The couple said the situation was made worse when they received a notice from the county after they turned their attention to their son who lost a two and a half year battle with cancer. "We couldn't worry about this, because our son was sick," Sheila Atkinson said.
The Atkinson’s said the county was kind in their discussions and they worked to the get the property cleaned up again.
Even after making the repairs and spending thousands boarding the property up, the squatters came right back cutting through the walls and roof.
"We put the money into it.  We tried to take it out.  We tried to keep it clean and we tried to board them out.  Anymore it got to the point where it s not much sense putting any more money into it," Lavell Atkinson said.
Sheila Atkinson said she feels the punishment needs to be more severe for squatters and is hoping to line up people in similar situations to take their concerns to lawmakers.