Everyone is talking about the guy in Flower Mound — Kenneth Robinson — who moved into a $300,000 home at 2205 Waterford Drive and is claiming adverse possession. Dallas — actually, Flower Mound, has been making the national media rounds on this story. And Curbed graciously pointed out that Flower Mound is also the home of the Divorced Divas’ $20 million spread. The one with the musical toilets, ‘member?
Lewisville/Flower Mound Realtor Charles Nuber did a little digging for me and found that the owner of the home, a William P. Ferguson, moved out of the house but there seems to be no foreclosure on record. The home was built in 1997 and has a swimming pool. Ferguson bought the 3910 square foot home in 2004 for $276,000 ish. The home is now valued at $328,000. Ferguson appears to have a mortgage of $332,000. Which means he is underwater. The home was listed for $340,000 (reduced from $355,000) by KW agent Holly Hiller, who tells me she cannot comment due to client confidentiality.
According to AHL’s bankruptcy petition, its ten largest unsecured creditors hold “repurchaser claims” — (my son-in-law will clarify this for us):
HSBC … $91 million
Citigroup … $33 million
Goldman Sachs … $21 million
Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital … $13 million
UBS … $9 million
SG Mortgage … $6 million
Wells Fargo … $5.7 million
HSBC … $5.5 million
Lehman Bros. … $5.6 million
Merrill Lynch … $5.2 million
So there are two or more layers of litigation going on here. Now my head is swimming. If the water is off, as WFAA reported, what in the world is the condition of that pool? And what are the liabilities should anyone be injured on the property or in that pool?
Adverse possession is a common law concept developed in the 1800s to protect abandoned property. It requires posting clear, public notice that someone is at the property — like through a court filing — and that someone would remain in the home for a specific period of time. The idea was to make sure property was maintained and monitored by someone, anyone. Supposedly, and I am NOT an attorney, after the time requirement is satisfied, squatters like Robinson can claim clear title to the property. The original owner can fight the action, but what underwater homeowner on the verge of foreclosure is going to do that? This is a huge problem in Seattle and Florida, too, and many web sites are now offering on-line courses in how to claim abandond homes by adverse possession. They claim having warm bodies in a house is actually better for the neighborhood. They are, they claim, helping society.
Whatever company owns the assets of Accredited needs to step forward and go to court — that’s the only way to get Robinson out, I’m told. On the other hand, banks that are overwhelmed with foreclosures and robo-signing may just see this case as tinkling in the ocean. Which means, Robinson may well end up living in 2205 Waterford for a few long years.