Texas Squatter Claims $300,000 home for Only $16: What Is This Man Smoking ? – Dallas Real Estate News

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2205 Waterford FM

Could Texas law net someone a $300,000 house for filing a $16 fee on line?  Maybe. Kenneth Robinson told WFAA-TV he moved into the house at 2205 Waterford Drive on June 17 because it had the perfect storm: the home was abandoned for foreclosure, then the mortgage company that owned it went out of business. After researching a Texas law called “adverse possession” Robinson moved in. It’s not a normal process, he admitted to WFAA-TV, but a process that is not known to many people.

Say what?

Robinson claims he filled out an online form and then filed it at the Denton County courthouse for $16. This gives him rights to the house, which was abandoned due to a foreclosure. Now he is claiming ownership.

He allowed WFAA reporters inside: the house is virtually empty, with just a few pieces of furniture. Oh and Robinson has not yet turned on utilities, at least as of the report so there is no running water or electricity.

(Wonder how he’s flushing toilets?)

The neighbors on this pretty little street took note when he moved in without the usual sale or, I guess, moving van.

“What paperwork is it and how is it legally binding if he doesn’t legally own the house?” said Leigh Lowrie, a neighboring resident. “He just squats there.”

Lowrie says the house was in foreclosure for more than a year and the owners  walked. Then, the mortgage company went out of business. Neighbors are naturally peeved that this guy may net a home scot-free.

Robinson claims Texas law gives him exclusive negotiating rights with the original owner because he has set up camp in the home. If the owner wants him out, he would have to first pay off his mortgage debt and the bank would have to file a “complicated lawsuit.” An underwater, likley bankrupt ex-homeowner is probaby not going to do that. Robinson says the law says if he stays in the house, after three years he can ask the court for the title.

When neighbors complained about Robinson’s takeover to law enforcement, they were informed that it was a civil matter and they were unable to intervene.

I called one title attorney on this case who did not wish to comment on the record. But 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 re-group and take legal action against Robinson. And that could take months.

But hey, if my source is wrong, and Ronbinson nets himself a $300,000 home for $15, I’m grabbing my sleeping bag and heading to the courthouse!

What do you think?

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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. mary says

    no way will he get title to the home…he is not understanding adverse possession laws. However, the attorney is right that he may have a place to stay for a while…though who wants to live without electricity and running water?!

  2. mary says

    no way will he get title to the home…he is not understanding adverse possession laws. However, the attorney is right that he may have a place to stay for a while…though who wants to live without electricity and running water?!

  3. Kimberly says

    If whatever he filed counts as a "duly registered deed" AND he pays the property taxes AND it somehow takes the bank more than five years to notice, then yes, he -might- get away with it!

  4. Kimberly says

    If whatever he filed counts as a "duly registered deed" AND he pays the property taxes AND it somehow takes the bank more than five years to notice, then yes, he -might- get away with it!

  5. Robert Lowery says

    It's been so long since I took RE Law at Tech, vaguely remember dreaming about adverse possession, but as Kimberly pointed out, what I remember focused on paying the taxes for three years. Will have to see how far this man wants to carry this fight.

  6. Robert Lowery says

    It's been so long since I took RE Law at Tech, vaguely remember dreaming about adverse possession, but as Kimberly pointed out, what I remember focused on paying the taxes for three years. Will have to see how far this man wants to carry this fight.

  7. tony so says

    Unless changed, under Texas real estate law, if someone/homeless lives on the property without property owner kicking the person(s) out for 10 years, especially he received mails and have utility or tax setup, this person(s) become the owner. But not 3 years. I double he will have the real title to sell the house neither. He may continue to live or rent out.
    TonySo@magnum2000.com

  8. tony so says

    Unless changed, under Texas real estate law, if someone/homeless lives on the property without property owner kicking the person(s) out for 10 years, especially he received mails and have utility or tax setup, this person(s) become the owner. But not 3 years. I double he will have the real title to sell the house neither. He may continue to live or rent out.
    TonySo@magnum2000.com

  9. tony so says

    especially land owners need to aware of this stupid law. Some day you found someone camp or build house there, kick them out within 10 yrs. Otherwise, kiss the land to say goodbye.

  10. tony so says

    especially land owners need to aware of this stupid law. Some day you found someone camp or build house there, kick them out within 10 yrs. Otherwise, kiss the land to say goodbye.

  11. keller says

    I hope he gets the house, if for no other reason that to eternally piss of his racist neighbors that appeared on KHOU in Houston.

  12. keller says

    I hope he gets the house, if for no other reason that to eternally piss of his racist neighbors that appeared on KHOU in Houston.

  13. Minerva says

    This is ridiculous! I think Robinson should just get out of the house to not further the case. I pity him but at the same time, I think it's just unreasonable.

  14. Minerva says

    This is ridiculous! I think Robinson should just get out of the house to not further the case. I pity him but at the same time, I think it's just unreasonable.

  15. Rickey Barns says

    Oh, I forgot to say that I used Baking Powder instead of Bicarb Soda and it still turned out quite well. A lovely moist cake and from what I am reading, it's possible to to add your own unique touch without it coming out horribly wrong. Nice work 🙂

  16. Rickey Barns says

    Oh, I forgot to say that I used Baking Powder instead of Bicarb Soda and it still turned out quite well. A lovely moist cake and from what I am reading, it's possible to to add your own unique touch without it coming out horribly wrong. Nice work 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. […] In another case of a home on the market getting some unexpected tenants, Jack Brewer, 74, and his wife were arrested at the home of Jeff and Melissa Nunn after trying to assume ownership of the home, claiming it was abandoned and using a rule that hasn’t worked so well in the past. […]

  2. […] In another case of a home on the market getting some unexpected tenants, Jack Brewer, 74, and his wife were arrested at the home of Jeff and Melissa Nunn after trying to assume ownership of the home, claiming it was abandoned and using a rule that hasn’t worked so well in the past. […]

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