Flower Mound, TX (WFAA/CNN) – Thanks to a little-known law in Texas, a man apparently won ownership of a house for less than $20, but neighbors aren’t happy with his deal and are trying to get him out.
Flower Mound’s Waterford Drive is lined with well-manicured, $300,000 homes. So when a new neighbor moved in without the usual sale, mortgage-paying homeowners had a few questions.
“What paperwork is it and how is it legally binding if he doesn’t legally own the house? He just squats there,” neighbor Leigh Lowrie said.
Lowrie and her husband said the house down the street was in foreclosure for more than a year and the owner walked away.
Then, the mortgage company went out of business. Apparently that opened the door for someone to take advantage of the situation, and that person was Kenneth Robinson who said he’s not squatter.
He said he moved in on June 17th after months of research about a Texas law called “adverse possession.”
“This is not a normal process, but it is not a process that is not known. It’s just not known to everybody,” he said.
Robinson said a piece of paper gives him rights to the house. It’s an online form he printed out and filed at the Denton County Courthouse for $16.
It says the house is abandoned and he’s claiming ownership.
“I went through and added some things here for my own protection,”
The house is virtually empty with just a few pieces of furniture and has no running water or electricity.
But, Robinson said, just by setting up camp in the living room, Texas law gives him exclusive negotiating rights with the original owner.
If the owner wants him out, he would have to pay off his massive mortgage debt and the bank would have to file a complicated lawsuit.
Robinson said he believes neither is likely. So if he stays in the house, after three years he can ask the court for a title, which he said is his eventual goal.
“I want to be the owner of the record. At this point, because I possess it, I am the owner,”
Robinson posted no trespassing signs after neighbors asked police to arrest him for breaking in.
Flower Mound officers said they can’t remove him from the property because home ownership is a civil matter, not criminal. Lowrie and her neighbors continue to look for legal ways to get him out.
“If he wants the house, buy the house like everyone else had to. Get the money, buy the house,” she said.
Robinson said he’s not buying anything, and as far as he’s concerned, the $330,000 house is already his and he has the paperwork to prove it. Source
He’s working the system like so many others have before… Neighbors are mad cause he is black.