OK silly reporters, Mr. Robinson does NOT own the house on which he's attempting adverse possession.

The story of Mr. Robinson paying $16 for a mansion is making the rounds on the internet. The reason I am writing about it is that even Gizmodo has the piece. The normally thoughtful blog is caught up by reading headlines.

Mr. Robinson has filed a petition for adverse possession in Texas, cost $16, that would permit him to claim ownership of the house in several years if nobody sues to get him out. The mortgage company foreclosed on the house and went bust so the successor to the company's interests can oust Mr. Robinson and I imagine it will. So the headline should have read: Area Man Pays $16 to Squat. Might Win Jackpot in a Few Years.

Seriously, adverse possession is a holdover in American law. It is possible that 1-2 properties a year convert ownership under this method, but it takes years (around 10 in most places) to complete a claim of adverse possession, so it is rarely successful.

Incidentally, adverse possession has one of the better legal standards. The squatter's possession of the land must be 'open and notorious.' That is, you cannot conceal your possession and - to the contrary - there must be clear signs of your possession. Mr. Robinson certainly has the notorious part down.


Anonymous said...

You are just jealous. I am happy for Mr. Robinson, because he took advantage of a law that is still on the books and he is now being hated upon by white racist people who probably don't want a black person to live in that area. White people throughout history have taken over land in America, starting with stealing land from Native Americans. So I am glad that he was smart enough to do what he did. I pray every day that he is successful in keeping that house.

xerpentine said...

Right. This is racism. How did I miss that?