February 24, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Living large for free: Squatter claims right to empty Boca Raton mansion
Article provided by Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A.
Visit us at http://www.braylawoffices.com
The prevalence of foreclosures in South Florida and problems with documentation once again made national news with reports of a squatter who filed a court document to gain legal possession of an empty bank-owned home in Boca Raton. While this situation is unusual, it demonstrates the challenges and complexities that can be involved in the foreclosure process.
Squatters move into bank-owned waterfront house
In December 2012, a 23-year-old man filed a court document claiming "adverse possession" of a Boca Raton home on the Intracoastal Waterway. The five-bedroom, five-bathroom waterfront mansion with a pool and boat dock is owned by Bank of America, which acquired it in a deed in lieu of foreclosure from the previous owner, according to The Palm Beach Post. The house was empty under the ownership of Bank of America, which is processing thousands of South Florida foreclosures, but the man and eight others have been living in it for a while, forming the basis of the adverse possession claim.
Adverse possession is a rarely used legal process that can give an occupier of property legal ownership of it if the occupier maintains it and pays taxes on the property for seven years. The Palm Beach Post reports that Bank of America paid last year's taxes on the home, which totaled more than $39,000. In response to the man's petition, the bank filed a complaint stating that he is a squatter and trespasser in wrongful possession of the home, and it is trying to have him and the others removed. Police have not removed the occupiers, though, partially because of confusion over their legal right to be there in light of the adverse possession claim.
This example is extreme, but it shows the complications that can exist in foreclosure, especially after the robo-signing scandal and in the backlog of foreclosures in Florida courts.
Florida foreclosure defense
In a foreclosure proceeding, a bank must show that it is the legal holder of the mortgage note and that foreclosure documents were properly processed and filed. If these requirements are not met, the bank cannot take over the home. In addition, other options may be available to help homeowners keep their homes and avoid foreclosure. Some of these mortgage foreclosure defense options include:
-Deed in lieu of foreclosure
If you are struggling with mortgage payments and are facing the possibility of foreclosure, there may be a way to restructure your debt so it is manageable. Contact a foreclosure defense attorney to discuss what can work for you.---
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