Woman lives for free in once $1.1M home

By Ross Palombo, Investigative Reporter, rpalombo@Local10.com
Published On: Mar 27 2013 05:56:02 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 27 2013 11:00:00 PM EDT

Neighbors claim a woman moved into home that was once for sale for $1.1 million in southwest Miami-Dade and has been living there for 16 months for free.

MIAMI -

Neighbors claim a woman moved into home that was once for sale for $1.1 million in southwest Miami-Dade and has been living there for 16 months for free. 

That home, located in the 34600 block of Southwest 218th Street, has since depreciated but is still worth more than $400,000.

"We paid good money for our home. She's not paying anything. It's ridiculous," said a neighbor who didn't want to be identified. "Why is she there living for free for [nearly] two years now?"

Police reports show a Kenia Souto has lived there since at least November 2011.

"She doesn't belong here," the neighbor added. "She just very rude and very mean. We don't need people like that. It's just very threatening when you pass by there."

Neighbors say Souto simply showed up with boxes early one morning and started unloading.

"It was a red flag instantly," said the neighbor. "That's when my husband called 911."

Police reports show Souto answered the door for officers. She had keys, electricity, furniture, and the house appeared to have someone living in it, the report said. She told police she was in negotiations with a bank to buy the home, but couldn’t remember the name of the bank.

Miami-Dade police let her stay.

"She always provides them with some sort of bogus document," the neighbor claimed. "Something needs to be done."

According to records, $29,158 in property taxes are owed on the home. The original owner lost it during a foreclosure and now Mercantil Commerce Bank owns the home.

"Are you a renter here? Do you own the home?" Local 10's Ross Palombo asked at the front door.

"I have no idea," Souto said.

"Well, what are you doing inside the home?" replied Palombo. 

Souto offered no answer.

“Anyone currently occupying the home is not on the premises through any formal agreement,” the bank said in a written statement to Local 10.

The original owner, Ranchos Del Sol, tried ejecting Souto from the home in 2012 but gave up as the house was being foreclosed upon.

"We had to stop [the lawsuit] because we were spending bad money," said a business associate who also didn't want to be identified.

Records show Souto was removed from a Miami property in 2004. She was also removed from a Coral Gables property in 2010.

Local 10 tried several times to get Souto’s side of the story, but she refused any further comment.  The man she claims is her attorney did not return several phone calls.  As it stands, Miami-Dade Police have neither tried to evict her nor charged her with any crime. 

Neighbors see no end in sight as Souto shows no sign of leaving.

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