We think Kenneth Robinson might be looking for a new home after next Monday, so we are dedicating today’s Tuesday Two Hundred to him. In case he wants to stay in Flower Mound, but move just a little south, here’s what we found: 2892 square feet on a landcaped lot with trees, hardwood floors, soft paint colors, plantation shutters, tall ceilings and lots of natural light. Four bedrooms, three and a half baths and formals plus gameroom. The kitchen has an island and walk-in pantry, a see-through gas logged fireplace (which by law, I think all homes should have) to the family room. Pretty master with walk-in closet and patio access plus dream spa bath with jetted tub and separate shower. There’s a game room up on the second story and the attic has floored storage for extra space. What is not to like about this house? Built in 1993 it has a brand spanking new roof. Great yard, prize-winning schools. Mr. Robinson might be upset there is no pool, like he has in “his” house, but then I’ll wager he’s getting mighty sick of taking care of that pool about now. This is what I love about our market: $280,000.
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.
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.