UPDATE 2/6/2012: Unfortunately for the our pal Kenneth, aka the $16 house man, a judge has ruled that Bank of America can make him move out, as they own the deed on the foreclosed home.
That unappealing smell could be the stench of jealousy, after a man uses the law to his advantage and snags a $300,000 house in Texas for a mere $16. Now his high-falutin’ neighbors are all cranky that he might get away with such a steal.
KHOU.com out of Texas brings us the story of the man who moved into a foreclosed home and filed some paperwork, along with a $16 fee, in the town of Flower Mound, and could end up with his McMansion if he lives in it for three years.
Kenneth’s new neighbors say he’s a squatter, but he says he is just using the law to his advantage. After the previous owners walked away from the house when it was in foreclosure, the mortgage company went out of business. So Kenneth moved in after researching “adverse possession,” a little-known Texas law.
He printed out an online form and filed it at Denton County courthouse for $16 and was granted rights to the house. The home has no electricity or running water, but Kenneth just set up camp anyway. The law says he gets exclusive negotiating rights with the original owner. If they want him out, they have to pay off the mortgage debt and the bank would have to file a lawsuit.
Kenneth doesn’t think that’s likely, and after three years, he can ask the court for the title to the home. In the meantime, he posted “No Trespassing” signs after his neighbors tried to get him arrested for squatting. Cops can’t remove him because home ownership is a civil, not criminal matter.
“If he wants the house, buy the house like everyone else had to,” says one neighbor. “Get the money, buy the house.”
Or, just pay $16 and still get the house.