LOS ANGELES — Ralph and Marcella Bracamonte’s California home has become their personal hell.
They fired their live-in nanny this month, but the woman — Diane Stretton — has refused to move out, and the couple has little legal recourse to evict her.
“I fired her June 6 and she refused to leave, saying she had rights and I needed to evict her,” Marcella Bracamonte said on Friday. “She quit working about a month before I ever fired her — she would just stay in her room.”
How bad did it get?
“She threatened to sue me after I didn’t turn the air conditioner on,” Bracamonte said, adding that Stretton “wrote me this long letter with all her terms and what she wanted — she wanted my family out of our home for certain hours everyday — it was crazy.”
We have left repeated messages at the cell phone number that Bracamonte provided for Stretton but received no reply so far.
According to the Bracamontes, Stretton started out fine when they hired her March 4 after running a background check. In exchange for room and board, Stretton was expected to help out with household chores and childcare.
But once she gained the family’s trust, they said, Stretton stopped working and stayed in her room.
They sought help from law enforcement and were told that Stretton was legally permitted to stay in the home.
Sgt. Don Dodt with the Upland Police Department said that in general, once someone has established a residency in a home, the landlord or owner of the property must go to court to get the person evicted.
Typically, the police department can only take a keep-the-peace type of role in such a case because it is a civil dispute. The sheriff’s department would carry out a forceful eviction if ordered by the court.
The family is working its way through the legal eviction process, but why not change the locks and refuse to allow Stretton in the home in the meantime? The nanny threatened to sue, and California tenant laws are in her favor so she would likely win.
Bracamonte said her family has too much to lose.
While their case moves through the courts, the family has turned to the media for help.
“Don’t worry — I will ruin her publicly! But she will NOT take a dime from us!” Marcella Bracamonte wrote on her Facebook page.
She accused Stretton of filing frivolous lawsuits before. We confirmed that Stretton is on the California Courts’ Vexatious Litigant List, a list of people who continually bring legal action, regardless of merit, against others with the sole intention of harassment. We found dozens of lawsuits filed by Stretton in California over the years.
The family has been interviewed on TV and Bracamonte says she wants a constant barrage of family and friends at the house to pressure Stretton to vacate.
“I need help! I need A TON OF FRIENDS TO COME STAY AND HANG WITH ME AT MY HOUSE! Sleep in the living room all spread out to annoy her!” Bracamonte wrote on Facebook.
Perhaps it’s working. Friday, Bracamonte said Stretton “hasn’t come back to the home since yesterday morning around 5 a.m.”