Go big or go home.
Or, in the case of Andre Barbosa, go big and go into a $2.5 million bank-owned home in Boca Raton, Fla., that isn’t his, but claim that it is. Then, complete “adverse possession” paperwork (we define the term here) and file it with the county clerk.
Technically, Barbosa is now allowed to live in the home, rent-free, and the local authorities are for all intents and purposes are handcuffed until Bank of America, which reclaimed the property through foreclosure last year, takes notice/action.
And if he pays the bills and property taxes the luxury property would eventually become his by default in seven years.
However, Bank of America doesn’t seem like it is about to let that happen, releasing the following statement on the “serious” matter (via WPTV.com):
“We have been in communication with the Boca Raton Police Department regarding the concerns with the occupants of 580 Golden Harbour Drive. There is a certain legal process we are required by law to follow and we have filed the appropriate action. The bank is taking this situation seriously and we will work diligently to resolve this matter.”
Adverse possession is not new; on the contrary, its roots trace back to 16th-century England (we first talked about it two years ago here). It was introduced in Florida decades ago so that farmers could make the most out of abandoned land.
However, with the foreclosure flood in the “Sunshine State” and banks overwhelmed with paperwork, more and more cunning opportunists are playing the adverse possession card while it’s still possible. In fact, 13 such claims were made in Palm Beach County in 2011, 19 in 2012 and six already in 2013.
None clearly as big (or bold), though, as Andre Barbosa.