Man returns from vacation, finds strangers living in his house

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(CNN) – Keith Mills stood outside the house he owns, but, legally, he couldn’t go in.

Mills said he’s a contractor, and was living inside a Pikeville, MD, home as he renovated it…until he got an unwelcome surprise.

Someone had cut off the lock box and then changed the locks. The lock box typically gives realtors and contractors access to a home when the owner is absent.

“I went away on vacation for about 10 days, and when I came back, I came back to find out that I had house guests,” said Mills.

Mills said the people inside rented the home from a mystery person on craigslist, and as the law stands, because they refuse to leave, Mills now has to go to court to prove he’s the rightful owner.

“It’s weird that I have to ask them for permission to enter into my home, and for the basic things, even to just see that my stuff is still there, just to go inside the door.”

So who rented someone else’s property on Craigslist? The Maryland Attorney General’s office says finding the crooks and prosecuting them could be difficult. They may even be out of the country.

Steven Sakamoto-Wengel, of the Attorney General’s office, said, “Unfortunately, the person who is leasing the property is also a victim in this case, because they believe they were renting a unit that they have the right to rent.”

Mills said his court date is in August, but if the tenants voluntarily leave, he’d be happy to drop the case.

Mills says he hired a lawyer to help him through this process.Copyright 2017 CNN

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