Man living in house he doesn’t own evades eviction for more than 20 years

Harriet Brewis
Sunday 02 May 2021 13:23
news

The house on Kenmore St, New York, has been at the centre of years of legal disputes

(Google streetview)

A New York man has managed to live in the same house without paying a cent for 23 years, court papers have revealed.

Guramrit Hanspal, 52, has only ever made one mortgage payment on the 2,081-square-foot Long Island property which he bought for $290,000 in 1998.

He has manipulated the courts to stay in his home: filing four lawsuits and claiming bankruptcy seven times to avoid being evicted, the New York Post reports.

The US Bankruptcy Code’s “automatic stay” rule gives debtors a temporary reprieve from repossession efforts and harassment. But Hanspal’s reprieve hasn’t been so temporary.

And, despite a real estate company and two different banks all taking ownership of the three-bedroom house over the years, he remains as its occupant.

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Lawyer Jorden Katz, who represents the property’s current owner Diamond Ridge Partners told the news site that while he’s seen occupants stay in foreclosed home before, “nothing even approaches the length of this one.”

“He’s not legally occupying that property,” Katz said. “It’s an outrage.”

Hanspal secured his mortgage in 1998 from the bank Washington Mutual, making a sole payment of $1,602.37 before defaulting, court records reportedly show.

In May 2000, the bank successfully took possession of the home, and Hanspal was “forever barred” from any claim to the property, according to the judgment of foreclosure, but Hanspal never left.

By January 2001, he reportedly filed his first bankruptcy claim going on to file another in November 2001, two in 2002, and one in 2003.

By 2008, Washington Mutual had gone under – in one of the biggest bank collapses in US history – with its assets eventually taken over by JP Morgan Chase.

But the new bank was also unable to get rid of Hanspal, and has been locked in ongoing legal cases with him for years.

However, at least one judge thinks it’s time for the 52-year-old to pack his bags.

“The history of this case going on for approximately 20 years must come to an end,” Nassau District Court Judge Scott Fairgrieve reportedly wrote in a housing court proceeding back in December 2019.

Diamond Ridge member Max Sold said the property owners association has spent $150,000 on legal fees and paid $50,000 in property taxes since buying the home.

He added: “As of this writing [we] still have no known end in sight.”

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