Provided in part by Marilyn Lewis at MSN Money with commentary by George Roddy, Jr., Roddy Real Estate Investing Academy (www.Roddy.com).
Neighborhoods in the D/FW area are battling a plague of squatters who’ve taken over homes while owners are absent, even temporarily. They’ve occupied properties worth a total of $8 million, says the Star-Telegram.
In Tarrant County, Texas squatters are picking up tips from books and the Internet, says the Star-Telegram:
A few words come to mind by some: Shysters. Burglars. Thiefs.
Now, I know this may come as a surprise but some of these characters seizing homes under “adverse possession” have criminal records. Can you believe that???
Suspicions are that other squatters have conducted the same racket in other states, said (Clint C.) Burgess, the Mansfield constable. “When you come in and start enforcement, they just leave,” he said. Then they move to another state to run their scheme, he said.
Others are copycat squatters, who may learn the ropes through Internet videos or how-to books. Owners of affected homes and their neighbors are angry with the county for failing to “police the problem,” the paper says:
The schemes are hard to unravel because of a loophole in a state law that allows people to suddenly claim supposedly abandoned sections of property if no owner is on the spot to challenge such a claim. The law’s intent was to help ranchers and others who had tended vacant land for years, so they could eventually gain legal ownership of the property. That’s done by filing a document called an adverse possession affidavit with the county clerk.
Here is where the but occurs, the law doesn’t distinguish between a claim on a $27 section of sod and one on a $2.7 million mansion with an elevator, three master bedrooms, a five-car garage and a pond with fish in the back yard. File the proper paperwork, pay a $16 filing fee, keep up with the property taxes and live in the house three years or more, and even the courts may not be able to evict you. Only in Texas, my friends.
So what the heck is Adverse Possession, anyway?
Well, according to FindLaw, “Adverse possession laws allow people who move onto property and possess it in an open and obvious public manner to potentially acquire title, after a certain amount of time.”
What are you doing this weekend? A) Attend a Roddy workshop.
1. How to buy Texas Foreclosure (morning session)
2. Texas Tax Liens – the Unknown Auction (afternoon session).
Bottom line, there will people that want to work the system. I see if on the courthouse steps, dealing with short-sided wholesalers and even with big financial institutions. Bottom line, 95% of the time, it doesn’t work out favorably for the get-rich-quick individuals. I don’t mind the creativity, but come on, this is Texas and you know what our slogan is “Don’t Mess with Texans, especially our houses“ !!!
Until next time, go forth and prosper!
George Roddy, Jr.
Roddy Real Estate Investing Academy (www.Roddy.com)
** article provided in part by Marilyn Lewis at MSN Money with commentary by George Roddy, Jr., Roddy Real Estate Investing Academy.