By dallasnews Administrator Aji Philip, the Collin County homeowner who struggled to evict tenants from a home she wanted to sell, scored a victory when law enforcement authorities oversaw the court-ordered removal of the tenants and their possessions.
But Thursday morning, Philip said it didn’t seem like a win because the former tenants camped out at the site overnight and their belongings still littered her lawn.
“It’s just become even more of a nightmare,” Philip said.
The nightmare began several months ago when Philip hired a company called Castle Keepers to “stage” her home in Murphy while it was on the market.
She planned to move to Boston to care for her mother and hoped having someone living at the 3,800-square-foot house would expedite the sale.
But she soon became concerned when she saw a truck leaking oil in the front yard and a stack of crosses in the back, and heard about a pit bull on the property.
After she decided to take the house off the market, Castle Keepers tried to evict the tenants, Shaun and Drew Burgess, who signed a contract with the company, and their father, Nathan, who was also living there. Shaun and Nathan refused to budge.
The Burgesses could not be reached for comment Thursday, but Nathan Burgess told The Dallas Morning News in June that his family was "making a statement" by refusing to vacate the home.Castle Keepers went to court in June to get the Burgesses out and won a quick, unanimous jury verdict, said the company’s attorney, Jeffrey Sprigg.
The company was awarded a judgment of more than $1,000 in unpaid rent and damages plus attorneys fees of more than $5,000 and more than $200 in court costs.The Burgesses were given five days to appeal but didn’t meet the deadline, Sprigg said.
So the “set-out,” where the Burgesses’ property was removed from the house, took place Wednesday in the presence of police officers and constables.Castle Keepers has been in business 21 years and has only had to evict tenants four times, Sprigg said.
The company’s owner, Kenny Raupple, has “never seen anything like this,” Sprigg said. “This is absurd.”Sprigg said Castle Keepers had worked with the Burgesses several times in the past without problem. They will not work with them again, he said.
Philip said a moving truck showed up at the house Thursday morning, but judging by the “painstaking” pace being set, she doesn’t expect the belongings to be moved for some time.
The homeowner said she is also concerned that once the Burgesses’ belongings are gone, she’ll be left with a large repair bill for damage incurred in recent weeks.
Raupple said he’s told Philip she needn’t worry.“We’re going to have all the stuff taken care of,” he said. “Her house will be in excellent shape to put back on the market as we promised her, and as she knows.”