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  1. #1

    Default Adverse Possession of a Bank Owned Home

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Florida

    My family came across a home in a nearby community that is listed for sale as REO / bank owned and decided to check it out. The yard has been mowed, so the bank is obviously keeping it up. There is no fence surrounding the property, nor are any signs posted, except for the one from the realtor. The back doors were unlocked and we easily gained entry to inside the home to inspect it. It is completely empty.

    My question is, if my family was to move in and occupy the home under Adverse Possession law, and to pay the taxes, improve the property and maintain the grounds, what are the risks involved? Would it be considered a criminal offense? If the bank were decide to evict us, would we receive prior notice or could they simply change the locks while we are away or have us arrested?

    I understand the contemptuous views regarding these actions, and I'm not sure of it myself, but am willing to entertain the idea, especially if it means my family may affordably occupy such a home, even if only until I am out of school next year and finances aren't so rough.

    I am seeking factual advice regarding adverse possession and any implications or risks that might be involved, not personal judgement. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Adverse Possession of Reo / Bank Owned Home in Florida

    It's criminal trespass, a misdemeanor Depending on what else they're doing it may be burglary which is a felony.
    They won't have to evict you, you are not a tenant, they could call the police and have you hauled off as soon as they find out (and in fact the police may do so even without a complaint unless you can show you are legally there).

    It takes seven years of paying the property taxes (or doing so under color of title) to make the claim. You'd have to bank that the bank and the real estate broker isn't bothering to even look at the tax info in all that time nor ever come by the property.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: Adverse Possession of Reo / Bank Owned Home in Florida

    Your risk is that you will need to give public notice by filing this form with the county within one year of taking possession:

    At any time during the seven years required, the owner can pay the tax, get a receipt, and have the adverse claim removed.

    Filing the form gives you no rights in the property. You are a trespasser the entire time, and the owner can deal with you as such. None of the improvements you make will likely be reimbursed.

    As the property is currently for sale, it is unlikely that the bank will fail to notice you and take action.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    El Dorado County, CA

    Default Re: Adverse Possession of Reo / Bank Owned Home in Florida

    From the legal Dictionary:

    breaking and entering n. 1) the criminal act of entering a residence or other enclosed property through the slightest amount of force (even pushing open a door), without authorization. If there is intent to commit a crime, this is burglary. If there is no such intent, the breaking and entering alone is probably at least illegal trespass, which is a misdemeanor crime. 2) the criminal charge for the above.

    See also: burglary trespass

    The doctrine of Adverse Possession has two primary purposes. One is to provide a means by which valid title could be had to truly abandoned real property. Another is to provide a means of perfecting title to lands occupied, generally under a good faith belief of a valid title claim, which adjoin lands to which the claimant has valid written title. It does not exist to provide a legal loophole as a means to intentionally take the property of another against their will. That is theft.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Adverse Possession of Reo / Bank Owned Home in Florida

    The LAW.COM definition is not very useful when we are addressing a specific state statutes.
    Entering a dwelling (even unoccupied) without consent of the owner is criminal Tresspassing. You don't even need to even trivially break anything. If the place is not "open to the public" you can't go there without consent.

    Entering a dwelling with the intent of committing another crime is Burglary.

    There's no B&E statute, per se, in Florida.

  6. #6

    Smile Re: Adverse Possession of a Bank Owned Home

    Thank you all for your replies. They all state what I figured would be true. I appreciate the facts regarding the situation.

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