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Want a New Home? Just Squat!

By , Posted on Feb 13, 2013

Police in Boca Raton, Fla., have seized a $2.5 million mansion from a squatter after he tried to use an antiquated state law to take legal possession of the home from Bank of America reports ABC World News.

Pond and Tudor MansionPolice in Boca Raton, Fla., have seized a $2.5 million mansion from a squatter after he tried to use an antiquated state law to take legal possession of the home from Bank of America reports ABC World News.

So this guy comes across a $2.5 million mansion in Boca Raton and figures, “hey, it’s empty I guess I’ll live there”.  The Brazilian national moved into the foreclosed home at 580 Golden Harbour Drive and since he has filed an “adverse possession claim,” his squatting is not against the law.

According to this obscure law, if our squatter pays the bills and taxes for seven years it’s possible that he could take ownership of the property.  Well, Bank of America, who currently owns the property due to foreclosure, is not in the habit of letting $2.5 mil slip away.  They are working with their attorneys and local law enforcement to get the Brazilian Squatter out of the neighborhood.

The strange thing is this is not the first case in Palm Beach County where someone has filed the “adverse possession” form.  According to a WPTV story, 13 claims were filed in 2011, 19 claims in 2012 and six claims already filed this year.

So I’m thinking, need a new home? Can’t afford that million dollar mansion you always wanted?  Just find one that is empty and move on in. Of course you might have to move out but what the heck?  Here is South Florida there are a tone of empty houses, some mansions too I’m sure, that are empty due to foreclosure, there should be plenty to choose from.

OK, slow down, don’t start packing just yet.  This “adverse possession” law, which exists in most every state, is often coined “squatter’s rights” well, that’s far from the truth.  A squatter is a trespasser until he or she has been there long enough to get the benefits of the adverse possession statutes and depending on the state that can be from 7 to 20 years.

Now I suppose if I was homeless I might look into this.  I’m not suggesting anyone really finds a vacant home and just move in, but play along with me for a minute.  If I was homeless, instead of sleeping on the streets, I would look for a vacant home, not a 2.5 million mansion, something less obvious, preferable something in a more rural setting.  Then I’d go down to the clerk of court and pay my 16 bucks and file an “adverse possession” form.

Keep in mind that I’m homeless in this scenario so if I have to move out, no big deal.  But it is possible to get to stay for quite a while before you are required to get out.  Describing himself as a “savvy investor,” a man used the “adverse possession” doctrine to squat in a vacant Dallas-area home.

Kenneth Robinson’s maneuver cost him $16 in filing fees paid to the county clerk’s office, and he got eight rent-free months in a home valued at $340,000. The ploy gave him a hook to peddle an e-book explaining how other people could use adverse possession to squat in vacant homes and eventually claim legal title to those properties. But in February, the mortgage holder foreclosed. Robinson moved out rather than face eviction.

This guy made it 8 months before he had to get out.  Eight months off the street sounds pretty good if I’m homeless.

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