Recently, a 23-year-old squatter tried to take ownership of a foreclosed South Florida waterfront mansion without paying a dime for it. Instead, he attempted to take advantage of an old Florida law that allows a person to gain ownership of a property simply by living in it for seven years and paying the taxes.
In July 2012, Andre “Loki Boy” Barbosa filed papers with the Palm Beach Property Appraiser’s office to take “adverse possession” of the $2.5 million, 7,200-square-foot Boca Raton mansion in which he had been squatting. Not surprisingly, the neighbors weren’t too happy with the situation, which was the focus of a lot of media attention.
Barbosa was eventually evicted by the police after the property’s owner, Bank of America, finally moved to force him to leave the lavish mansion. The property had reportedly been empty for 18 months prior to the squatting situation.
Since the Barbosa incident, there have been reports of a number of copycat adverse possession attempts in Florida. Unfortunately, banks aren’t the only ones being victimized by squatters. Occasionally, a private homeowner, especially one who has a second home or an inherited property that he does not have time to check up on, may fall victim to a similar scam.
If a squatter should decide to take control of a property you own, you should immediately contact a real estate lawyer Boca Raton, such as the law offices of Kristin Coomber. A foreclosure law firm Boca Raton can advise you on your rights and how best to regain possession of your property from a squatter legally.