“It’s finally over”: Couple squatting in Lansing home forced to leave


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – After months of back and forth, court orders and code violations, a homeowner was finally given back his house. 6 News has been following the story all week.

What started as neighbors complaining about trash quickly turned into something more, as it turned out that a couple was living in the house for months- against the owner’s wishes.

That ended this afternoon.

There are two separate stories in regards to the house- both of which came to a conclusion today.

“Based on the testimony of the plaintiff that there is a health hazard or condition at the property that could present a health hazard to the safety of the public, so the court will grant immediate possession.”

With those words, Gerald Phillips, owner of the house on Osband avenue, was reunited with his home.

The process began back in April, after Phillips issued a 30-day eviction notice to get the illegal tenants out of his home. The tenants had been there since February.

“I had been after Mr. Lavoy …”

Nevertheless, they stayed.

Judge Kristen Simmons asked Phillips about whether or not it was explicitly stated that the Lavoys had to leave the house on Osband avenue.

“When you had these conversations with Mr. Lavoy was it included they also had to leave?”


Today’s debate concerned whether or not the Lavoy’s had a legal right to be there. Melissa Lavoy admitted they did not.

Judge Simmons continued questioning the Lavoys.

“Do you have any testimony relevant to whether or not you had a lawful right to move into this property?”

“No we didn’t but…”

“Alright thank you.”

The question stands: why did it take all this effort and time to get the Lavoys out?

It’s what is known as squatters’ rights, meaning that they were invited to stay there by someone else and the Lavoys had established residence for more than 48 hours. Once that happened, Phillips was forced to go the legal route.

As for the trash? It has been cleaned up.

When city crews came in to clean up the yard and driveway, they filled three 20-foot trucks to the brim with garbage.

It’s unclear whether or not the Lavoy’s are still in the house.

Phillips’ attorney has stated he has to obtain paperwork submitted from the courts. Once that happens, police will go to the house to remove the Lavoy’s if they are still occupying the house.

According to the lawyer, police are expected to visit the home either later tonight or tomorrow.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Michigan Headlines

More Michigan

StormTracker 6 Radar