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Kenneth Robinson has exploited an obscure Texas law to claim ownership of a $300,000 home in Flower Mound, Texas... by filling in an online form for just $16 (Squatter beat whiteman at his own game)

'Adverse possession' gives people who have moved into abandoned home rights to negotiate with owners to stay there

  • Neighbors claim man is just squatting and allege he broke into the property to move his belongings in
  • Police say they are powerless to evict him because it is a civil matter

 

If someone you knew claimed to have bought a new house for $16, you'd probably expect it to be a rundown hovel.

But for Kenneth Robinson, that princely sum could see him as the new owner of a $300,000 home in an well-manicured part of Flower Mound, Texas.

On June 17, Mr Robinson took advantage of a little known Texas law to move into the abandoned home.

The house had been in foreclosure for more than a year and its owner walked away. Then, the mortgage company went bust.

Kenneth Robinson answers the front door at his $16 manse

Kenneth Robinson answers the front door at his $16 manse

After months of research, Mr Robinson used the obscure law 'adverse possession', filled out some paperwork costing just $16, and moved some of his belongings into the home.

Under the law, if someone moves into an abandoned home they have exclusive negotiating rights with the original owner.

If the owner wants them to leave, they have to pay off the mortgage debt on the home and the bank has to file a complicated lawsuit to get them evicted.

Mr Robinson believes that because of the cost required to move him out, he will be able to stay in the house. Under occupancy laws, if he remains there for three years he can ask the court for the title.

He told WFAA.com: 'I want to be owner of record. At this point, because I possess it, I am the owner.

'This is not a normal process, but it is not a process that is not known. It's just not known to everybody.'

Mr Robinson printed out an online form at the Denton County courthouse which states that he is claiming ownership of the abandoned property.

Tree-lined: Mr Robinson moved his belongings into an abandoned home on Waterford Drove, Flower Mound, after research an obscure property law

Tree-lined: Mr Robinson moved his belongings into an abandoned home on Waterford Drove, Flower Mound, after research an obscure property law

The house has just a few pieces of furniture inside and has no running water or electricity.

Mr Robinson has put 'no trespassing' signs outside the house after neighbours called police to arrest him for breaking in.

But he claimed to have found a key and said he gained access to the property legally.

Mr Robinson did months of research on 'adverse possession', filled out the forms and legally the house is now his home

Mr Robinson did months of research on 'adverse possession', filled out the forms and legally the house is now his home

Police have said they can't remove him from the property because home ownership is a civil matter.

But neighbours have accused him of being nothing more than a squatter.

Leigh Lowrie, who lives nearby, said: 'What paperwork is it and how is it legally binding if he doesn't legally own the house? He just squats there.

'If he wants the house, buy the house like everyone else had to. Get the money, buy the house.'





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Comment by rashid rourk on June 30, 2014 at 10:24pm

Yea, I've heard other stories similar to this. I guess he won't get a" welcome to the neighborhood" greeting from his neighbors.

Comment by evolution on June 30, 2014 at 8:49pm

This is old news but it still matters.

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