Flower Mound Squatter May Soon Be Home Shopping or Squatting Again: Dallas Real Estate News

You’ve got to give him credit: Kenneth Robinson has had almost nine months of free rent in a nice $330,000 Flower Mound home. But now, as most real estate experts predicted, that free lease may be running out. He’s heading to court next week for an eviction hearing in Denton county, where the courts may well boot him out of his free house for good.

Kenneth Robinson moved into 2205 Waterford Drive in Flower Mound on June 17 because the home was abandoned for foreclosure. His stroke of luck was that the mortgage company that owned it went out of business. After researching a Texas law called “adverse possession” Robinson moved in. 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, he claims, since it was abandoned due to a foreclosure. I am still not sure how he actually obtained keys to the house.

The owner of the home, a William P. Ferguson, moved out of the house. 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 had 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.

The mortgagor was San Diego-based Accredited Home Lenders, who went into bankruptcy May 1, 2009. The news that Robinson snagged a $330,000 home for $16 set off a flurry of squattings in Tarrant County. Robinson himself even gave a speech at SMU Law School and started charging to instruct others to follow his platform. Most of his “followers” were arrested or evicted.

As experts predicted, the final owner of the mortgage has surfaced.  Bank of America says it now owns the property in question and is asking for Robinson to be evicted. The bank says it took ownership through foreclosure on January 3, 2012. BofA says it asked Robinson to leave, but he did not vacate the property. A court hearing on Monday in Denton County will likely determine Robinson’s future living arrangements. If he fails to appear, he will forfeit his claim to the house.

14 Comment

  • Too bad nobody thought to attempt a short sale rather than letting it go into foreclosure.

    • But adverse possession may possibly be better for the neighborhood than a short sale. With a short sale, you have the "cheap" price most likely posted on MLS, if the property was listed by the seller (which is the usual case, they really don't want to be foreclosed on). Or, post-foreclosure, the entire world knows it was a foreclosure, the way they're advertised. And typically, many months of vacancy, with nobody caring for the place. But with adverse possession, IF it's successfully followed through, the property is not advertised anywhere, it's just "lived in". And cared for. So property values could conceivably not be hurt by that property's sales history. And meanwhile, the neighborhood has someone living in the house, contributing to life there.

      And Candy, if the squatter is actually taking care of the place (which is necessary in an adverse title claim), he's not living there for "free". Very cheaply, perhaps, in comparison to the neighbors who bought via the standard route with a mortgage–but house and yard maintenance, taxes, insurance (guess it'd have to be on contents only, till the title's proven up!), and utilities are not free.

  • Too bad nobody thought to attempt a short sale rather than letting it go into foreclosure.

    • But adverse possession may possibly be better for the neighborhood than a short sale. With a short sale, you have the "cheap" price most likely posted on MLS, if the property was listed by the seller (which is the usual case, they really don't want to be foreclosed on). Or, post-foreclosure, the entire world knows it was a foreclosure, the way they're advertised. And typically, many months of vacancy, with nobody caring for the place. But with adverse possession, IF it's successfully followed through, the property is not advertised anywhere, it's just "lived in". And cared for. So property values could conceivably not be hurt by that property's sales history. And meanwhile, the neighborhood has someone living in the house, contributing to life there.

      And Candy, if the squatter is actually taking care of the place (which is necessary in an adverse title claim), he's not living there for "free". Very cheaply, perhaps, in comparison to the neighbors who bought via the standard route with a mortgage–but house and yard maintenance, taxes, insurance (guess it'd have to be on contents only, till the title's proven up!), and utilities are not free.

  • I'm surprised more people don't do this. Even if you get kicked out, you have X months free rent and some of the houses around me, it would be years before anyone noticed.

    Also because this is BofA (who has a habit of thinking things belong to them when they don't), Mr. Robinson needs to turn the tables and make sure BofA has a signed contract showing they are the owners.

    • Not to mention, they could go from house to house, down the street and as long as it take to evict someone, they could live rent free for years just changing address every few months ))

  • I'm surprised more people don't do this. Even if you get kicked out, you have X months free rent and some of the houses around me, it would be years before anyone noticed.

    Also because this is BofA (who has a habit of thinking things belong to them when they don't), Mr. Robinson needs to turn the tables and make sure BofA has a signed contract showing they are the owners.

    • Not to mention, they could go from house to house, down the street and as long as it take to evict someone, they could live rent free for years just changing address every few months ))

  • Very interesting and little-understood law. This is going to be very interesting. Lots of states have adverse possession laws, and for good reason. Wonder how all this will play out with all the vacant properties from foreclosures around the country? Seems like this is the very time to put those laws to use.

  • Very interesting and little-understood law. This is going to be very interesting. Lots of states have adverse possession laws, and for good reason. Wonder how all this will play out with all the vacant properties from foreclosures around the country? Seems like this is the very time to put those laws to use.

  • Great points, Melody, maybe squatters could be worked into a federal program to improve vacant foreclosures, kind of like the way they opened up free land in the west to whoever got there "Sooner"…

    But I REALLY want to do this in second homes: free vacation!

  • Great points, Melody, maybe squatters could be worked into a federal program to improve vacant foreclosures, kind of like the way they opened up free land in the west to whoever got there "Sooner"…

    But I REALLY want to do this in second homes: free vacation!

  • When was it ever okay to just take something that doesn’t belong to you? I think the real problem here is the value system and the work ethic of these people. Nothing is free. The neighbors work very hard to live where they do. I was taught to have pride in my work and to work hard, not take advantage of the system. And Noone owed me anything. Ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country..

  • When was it ever okay to just take something that doesn’t belong to you? I think the real problem here is the value system and the work ethic of these people. Nothing is free. The neighbors work very hard to live where they do. I was taught to have pride in my work and to work hard, not take advantage of the system. And Noone owed me anything. Ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country..