Man pays $16 to take over $330,000 house
The neighbors are outraged, but the Texas resident says his takeover is legal and will eventually give him title to the suburban Dallas home.
We all dream of scoring a great deal on a house.
But a $330,000 house for $16?
Kenneth Robinson of the Dallas suburb of Flower Mound, Texas, says he sealed just such a deal, taking over a vacant house by simply moving in and paying $16 to file documents with the court claiming ownership.
"This is not a normal process, but it is not a process that is not known," he told WFAA-TV in Dallas. "It's just not known to everybody."
Robinson said he invested months in research to find the house. The property had been in foreclosure for more than a year, and the owner walked away. In the meantime, the lender that held the mortgage went out of business.
Robinson says he can take legal title to the house after he lives there for three years through a provision in the law called "adverse possession." Exactly how that works varies state to state.
This is how WFAA explains the situation:
… Robinson said just by setting up camp in the living room, Texas law gives him exclusive negotiating rights with the original owner. If the owner wants him out, he would have to pay off his massive mortgage debt and the bank would have to file a complicated lawsuit.
Robinson believes because of the cost, neither is likely. The law says if he stays in the house, after three years he can ask the court for the title.
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The neighbors are outraged that Robinson got a house on their suburban street for $16 and have tried to get the police to arrest him for trespassing or breaking and entering. But Robinson says he had a key to the house, and the police say it's a civil matter, not a criminal case.
Candy Evans of the Dallas real-estate blog Candy's Dirt called a title attorney to ask if Robinson had a chance of holding on to the house. She wrote:
… he told me he seriously doubted that Robinson will get ownership of this home, but he may get a free place to live for several months. The owner of the home will be whoever acquires the assets of the defunct mortgage company, but that company will have to regroup and take legal action against Robinson. And that could take months.
In Seattle, a family was arrested after they moved into an 8,000-square-foot mansion. That family had filed claims to 10 other homes as well. In Florida, three men were arrested on felony charges after trying to take over more than 200 homes, which they planned to rent to tenants. And those are just a few of the efforts nationwide that squatters have made to take over vacant property through one tactic or another.
What do you think? Should Robinson be able to keep the house?
A friend lost a chunk off her lot because of an improperly placed fence, which they did not try to remedy. When the homeowner next door moved out, and the new folks moved in, and still there was nothing done, the friend eventually lost a few feet off their lot.
Always protect your property rights.
yes he should be able to keep it because he did his homework, and he was blessed for it. Thanks
Its a crazy law and although the thinks he has won he hasn't. He will never get that house. He is just free loading while he can but his bubble will be bursted soon enough in my opinion. Its just stupidity.
We have many laws in force that have loopholes. The laws weren't made with this intent. And as someone else said in this string, just because it's the law, doesn't make it ethical and moral. Yes, he did homework and research and is obviously smart, but he didn't EARN or BUY the house or pay RENT on the house like the rest of us do. He will lose in the end, because the book of loans from the out-of-business lendor will be acquired by another financial institution and he will be out on his rearend. Sadly, it is likely he will do this again, as people like this have to always push the envelope and live outside of what the rest of us know as "normal living or American Society". He knows that what he is trying to do is what the rest of us call "pulling a fast one". I don't wish him luck. I wish him a dose of reality.
This guy thinks this is really gonna work? That "law" was not intended for such a thing! Someone out there owns this house..and will come along and evict him...then he will have that working for him! He has spent alot of time and money to get a law to "bend" in his favor? The law is never on our side...that's for sure! This may have worked years ago...on a piece of unclaimed land or something...but I have not heard of any cases that this has worked in this foreclosure market. Can't this guy just buy a home like the rest of us? Stealing from someone will only get you into trouble!