Activists rally around family facing eviction after falling prey to bogus lease

UPDATE (4/15/21): Detroit police say that the Bohanen family were squatters but are working with the family and owner of the home. DPD said on Thursday that it is looking for a new place for the family to live as it investigates the matter.

The Bohanen family has called 9325 Littlefield home for the past three and a half months on Detroit's west side.

They signed a lease and say they paid in cash $800 a month for rent to a woman named Tamika Johnson who they believed owned the property. 

"As far as they knew, they were renters like anyone else," said attorney Joe McGuire, Detroit Eviction Defense.

"She was the homeowner so she said, but I would never know, right?" said Miss Bohanen.

But then Bohanen and her attorney say someone claiming to be the real homeowner called the Detroit Police Department.

"The police officers who came initially, told them okay as long as you have a lease, they have to go to court, so just keep the lease on hand and if we come back be ready to show us the lease," McGuire said.

That was in late January/early February - but fast forward to last week and it was a different story.

"We send them the lease and they call back and say the lease is fraudulent and you have to get out," Bohanen said. "How are we supposed to know that. I never rented a house, how am I supposed to know that."

Now community activists are standing outside the house on Littlefield because they say the Bohanens were told by officers that they have to be out of the house this week.

The Detroit Police Department said its policy is that all evictions should go that all evictions must go through 36th District Court.

Which takes us back to Miss Bohanen, her mother, and her 5-year-old son who live there.

"I just want to stay though," she said. "I just want to keep paying rent to whoever the house is (owned by) okay, that's it. I don’t want to leave. I made it a home."

Bohanen said she has not been able to reach Johnson while the real owner of the house lives in California. The Bohanens have not been able to reach him and have been dealing with Detroit police.

Police detectives are investigating the fraud.