'$16 house' scheme gets man kicked out of $340,000 home
$16 house? Not really. Dallas man gains notoriety for his curious housing scheme. However, he was kicked out of the $16 house on Monday.
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But it takes a long time to establish those rights — typically 10 years in Texas. Until then, anyone trying to stake claim to a piece of property owned by someone else is just a squatter, Rider said.Skip to next paragraph
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Arlington, Texas real estate attorney Grey Pierson said the law is often used to resolve disputes between homeowners over driveways, lawns or other property with shared boundaries — not to take someone's house.
It's not clear how long the home in Flower Mound was empty before Robinson moved in. Its last owner, William Ferguson, bought the house for $332,000 in 2005 and appeared to run into trouble making payments about three years later, according to county records. Ferguson did not have a listed phone number, and the records don't indicate where he moved.
County clerks in North Texas said they have seen such a spike in adverse possession filings that they've stopped accepting the claims without prosecutors' approval. In a handful of cases, squatters entered homes that weren't abandoned, but left empty for a few days.
"We just had people making bad decisions, taking a portion of the law and applying it in a way that was not legal," Tarrant County clerk Mary Louise Garcia said.
In one case, an Arlington travel nurse came home in September to find her locks changed and two TVs missing, according to a police report. Authorities say Anthony Brown came to the front door and told her that he had claimed the home and she was trespassing.
When the nurse asked Brown for his paperwork, he offered to return the home for $2,000, police said. Brown, who was arrested in October, does not have an attorney listed and did not respond to messages left on his cellphone.
Tarrant County constable Clint Burgess said authorities have interviewed a handful of people claiming "adverse possession" who said they spoke to Robinson. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Robinson attended a December eviction hearing for two charged with burglary. Robinson said then he was attending to show support for the couple.
He says now that he doesn't want to be an example to others.
"The truth is I don't want people to think that they should go out there and do anything based on what I did," he said last week. "Whether they do it or whether they're not is solely up to them."
Robinson hasn't been charged with a crime but police said they responded to several calls from his neighbors. One neighbor, Chris Custard, attended Monday's hearing and was smiling after the eviction was ordered.
"We're going to throw a party," he said.