The Sun-Sentinel reports that Palm Beach County deputies served the eviction notice on Wednesday on behalf of Bank of America, which has owned the property since it fell into foreclosure last summer.
However, the sheriff’s office tells the paper that it could take anywhere from three to six weeks for the 23-year-old Brazilian man out of the 7,200 sq-ft home he dubbed Templo de Kamisamar.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, the elusive squatter posted a sign on the house on Wednesday afternoon that reads, “Peace within is peace without.”
Like many other squatters in recent years, the man in this case attempted to claim ownership of the home via adverse possession, an antiquated law that allows for someone to become the rightful owner of an abandoned property by maintaining it and paying utilities and taxes for a certain length of time. In Florida, that is seven years.
Problem is, this house was not abandoned. It was just empty. Just because Bank of America now owns the house doesn’t mean it’s going to start using it as a new branch office.
However, once someone files the paperwork with the county, it’s often difficult to convince the sheriff to evict without a court order, so a growing number of squatters are merely using adverse possession claims as a way to score a few free months in a proper house.
Neighbors of the house in Boca Raton had claimed that Bank of America didn’t care about the complaints regarding the squatter. One neighbor says she even told the bank she wanted to buy the place but never heard back. However, a BofA rep told Consumerist that it had been trying to get the matter resolved but, “There is a certain legal process we are required by law to follow and we have filed the appropriate action.”
The Broward County Property Appraiser is calling on state legislators to erase the Florida adverse possession law, as the large number of foreclosed and vacant (but often quite nice) homes in the area has resulted in a surge of these bogus claims in recent years.