'Jan. 1, that's it. We're homeless.' Patchogue family fights to return to home occupied by squatters
Time is running out for a Patchogue family fighting to get back into their home. It has become a cautionary tale about who homeowners should give their keys to.
The three-bedroom ranch on Harper Street in Patchogue has been in Kimberly Copenhaver’s family for decades. Her 74-year-old mother is on the deed.
The family said contractor Peter Faiella, who owns Showcase Home Remodeling, was supposed to be watching the house while they were out-of- state for a few months. They gave him a set of keys to remove a shed and fix a leak in the roof.
However, Faiella allegedly rented the house without the family's consent and has been collecting $5,000 a month since February.
During an eviction hearing on Wednesday, Faiella told the court that he planned to buy the house and claimed he did tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of renovations inside. However, no receipts or pictures were entered as evidence in the case.
Faiella has not responded to Team 12 Investigates for comment.
Meanwhile, Copenhaver shelled out hundreds of dollars to pay for utilities at the Patchogue home, despite not living there. She said the current occupants did not put the bills in their name until October.
“Jan. 1, that's it. We're homeless,” Kimberly Copenhaver said. “We have two cars to live out of.”
Even if Copenhaver and her family win the eviction case, it could take months before they are back home—proving how difficult it can be to regain possession of your home.
“The sheriff’s department has certain protocols that take quite some time, whether it’s the number of cases or something else, but it affects everything that goes on,” said Richard Kaufman, an attorney for the family. “In this case, it affects the urgency that my clients have in trying to get into some place that’s not costing them an arm and a leg.”
The parties have until Friday to come to an agreement. Otherwise, the eviction hearing will continue in court. The family also has filed a separate action against Faiella in Suffolk County Supreme Court for monetary relief and a permanent injunction.