Brokers find squatters in Studio City mansion listed for $5M

Fake lease agreements, full fridge and broken key box point to long-term occupancy

Brokers Find Squatters in Studio City House Listed for $5M
Pinnacle Estate Properties' Emily Randall-Smith; 3581 Multiview Drive (Getty, Linkedin)

When brokers Emily Randall-Smith and her husband, Tyler Smith, checked on a 9,300-square-foot mansion in Studio City, they were met by a broken security box and makeshift mailbox.

The six-bedroom, seven-bathroom estate listed for $4.7 million was inhabited by squatters at 3581 Multiview Drive, the Los Angeles Times reported. What followed was an ordeal that included fake lease agreements, bicycle locks on numerous doors and a woman with a French bulldog who modeled for OnlyFans.

Before Christmas, the couple had shown the hillside property to potential buyers. Then it sat vacant past New Year’s. The home is listed on Airbnb and comes fully furnished, including kitchenware, said Randall-Smith, based in Westlake Village, who shared her ordeal on Instagram

When the brokers returned for an open house, they couldn’t get inside. The security box where brokers keep a key was broken open.

Randall-Smith looked into a window and saw a man lying on a bed in one of the bedrooms. That’s when the couple called Los Angeles police. When officers knocked on the door, no one answered.

Police used a bullhorn to order everyone out. No door swung open. The unidentified homeowner told the brokers he or she didn’t want the police to break down the front door. 

“My husband and I waited at the bottom of the hill, and then we saw the lights come on,” Randall-Smith told the Times. “We said to ourselves, ‘OK, someone is definitely in there.’”

The couple called the cops, again.

This time, a woman answered the door, Randall-Smith said. She waived what she said was a lease agreement, and said she was renting a room from a man. To the Compass broker from Pinnacle Estate Properties, the document that didn’t include her name looked fake.

Police escorted the woman out of the home along with her dog, the broker said. She was the only person inside at the time.

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The apparent squatters had filled the fridge; there was a hot meal on the stove. There were bicycle locks on multiple doors, and several garage door openers lay on a counter as though the interlopers were planning to stay for a long stretch, Randall-Smith told the Times. 

The squatters also had snipped the wiring to the security cameras and set up their own home Wi-Fi. The broker conjectured the added mailbox was an attempt to receive mail.

Randall-Smith said the man who had created the lease agreement had numerous people staying at the house, whose names were listed on it. But none were in the house when police confronted the OnlyFans model. 

Neighbors told the real estate agents they thought the home had been occupied by renters who staged a series of parties over the holidays, Randall-Smith said.

“It just feels like a total violation,” the broker told the Times. “I always tell people to be close to their neighbors to have them watch out for your home.”

It’s not clear if anyone has been arrested for trespassing. Police have not provided any updates on possible arrests, or those who broke into or stayed in the home, according to the newspaper.

The white, four-story mansion, dubbed ”The Creators HQ,” looks out onto Universal Studios and the San Fernando Valley, according to the listing shared by broker Oliver Thornton of Hollywood Estates.

“Don’t hesitate to make a move before it is too late!,” the listing says.

Last month, news surfaced of a “ring of criminal squatters” that moved into a Beverly Crest mansion and made $30,000 a month renting rooms and hosting parties.

— Dana Bartholomew

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