A home takeover happens when someone enters a home and refuses to leave. Unlike a home invasion, where someone forces their way into a home to hurt or rob the resident, a home takeover can start when a person invites a neighbour, friend or family member into their home.
The guest may take control of the space and make the victim feel guilty when they ask for money to cover expenses. The guest often starts acting in ways that make the victim feel uncomfortable or threatened. Often, home takeovers include illegal activity, such as drug or sex trafficking.
The resident no longer feels safe in their own home. Home takeovers can include financial, physical or emotional abuse. They almost always put the victim at risk of losing their home.
For years, landlords, social workers, law enforcement and agencies that serve vulnerable populations have encountered these complex situations that do not fall easily within one jurisdiction and require a more compassionate response. In 2013, Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO) commissioned research to define the scope of the problem, identify trends and outline mitigating factors. As a result of this research, CPO created a new term to name the problem: home takeovers.