Lordswood landlady’s nightmare after family-of-four found squatting in rented home in Beaconsfield Road, Chatham

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‘Who are you and what are you doing in my house?’

Those were the words of a landlady in Medway after discovering a family had moved in overnight into a property she rents out without her say-so.

Salon owner Kathryn Wareham and her husband Timothy noticed the locks to their newly-refurbished property had been changed and a woman with three children opened the door from inside.

Mrs Wareham has rented out her end-of-terrace property in Beaconsfield Road, Chatham, for the past 17 years.

But she hasn’t had any tenants since the home was partially destroyed by Storm Eunice last year and repair works have been ongoing ever since.

On Monday letting Greyfox agents informed the pensioner that her property would finally go live on the market for viewing.

However, when Mrs Wareham’s husband called round that evening to the property he was shocked to find a woman and her children squatting inside.

Landlady Kathryn Wareham (right) and her husband say they discovered a family living without permission in their rented-out home in Chatham

“My husband told me he came round, tried to get in the house and realized the locks had been changed,” she said.

“I thought ‘this doesn’t sound right’. So I come back with him on Tuesday evening to find that the locks had indeed been changed and there was a family in there – a lady with three children.

“She kept saying ‘this is my house’, and I went, ‘no, it’s not your house. It’s my house.'”

Mrs Wareham, who lives in Catterick Road, Lordswood, said the woman had Lockfast Locksmiths come around late at night on Monday to have the locks changed.

The businesswoman added: “At first, I thought she’d been really scammed, and I was very sorry for her. She told me her dad had died and I felt really sorry for her.

“I told her that even though it was not her house, we wouldn’t let her be on the streets and we’d try and sort something out for her.

“But as the evening went on, we found out that we were the ones that had been scammed and she was in it all the way. I’m just really angry at all this.”

The notice by Greyfox Sales & Lettings on Mrs Wareham's home door
The notice by Greyfox Sales & Lettings on Mrs Wareham’s home door

The landlady contacted the police who attended at around 6.20pm on Monday and the suspected squatters then left the home.

“Officers attended the scene and gave advice to those present about a civil dispute,” a spokesman for the force said. “No further police action was required.”

But the debacle has left Mrs Wareham, who runs two hair salons in Medway, and her husband wary about their position.

“I’ve read about situations like this so many times, but you never think this is going to happen to you,” she added.

“We are still in shock. All our weeks been thrown upside down. It made us feel very vulnerable.

“We have now added an alarm system and feel wary of potential tenants now, because who knows who will live in our home.”

A notice by Greyfox Sales & Lettings on the Beaconsfield Road home has since been placed on the front door.

It read: “Please be advised that Greyfox Sales & Lettings Manage this property.

“As a result, all maintenance works of any kind (including a lock change) require our written permission before going ahead.

“Any unauthorized alterations to the property will be reported to the police as criminal damage.”

Both the locksmiths and the lettings agency have been approached for comment.

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