The eviction squads arrive in convoys, whisking attorneys, police officers, bank agents and teams of movers through the gates of the Cañadas del Florido housing development.
They eject the residents, seal the front doors with bricks and post signs warning against break-ins. Abandoned units blight every block of this 2,000-home community. Squatters ignore the signs and take over, their flickering candles casting an eerie glow at night.
Maria De Jesus Silva’s turn came on a spring day in 2014, when she found a thick stack of foreclosure documents on her doorstep.
According to the documents, the Bank of New York Mellon, acting as trustee on behalf of bondholders, had...