Don't just stand there -- squat!

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Leave a nice place empty and maybe someone will move in!

You know I love this story. I love it so much I am going to be following it for weeks, and I hope for years. A homeless guy takes over a $2 million mansion in Florida, which was sitting empty while Bank of America dicked around and never sold or rented it, and now the bank is going to have a tough time getting rid of him.

Did I say I love this story?

Check it out:

It only gets more complicated. By invoking an obscure but never rescinded nor revised Florida law, Barbosa is using “adverse possession” to justify his claim in the house, as it allows a person to move in and claim title of a property “if they can stay there seven years.” Florida has suffered more than one similar case. The Sun Sentinel makes reference to a “handful” of adverse possession claims making their way through the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s Office, but Barbosa’s stands out because the house he’s possessing (adversely) is so valuable. And though Barbosa is certainly eccentric, posting a sign that he is the “living beneficiary to the Divine Estate being superior of commerce and usury” on the front of the home, he isn’t stupid. He even contacted the Appraiser’s Office to alert them that his tenancy had begun, presumably as he intends to stay for the required seven years.

We haven't had any good high-profile public squats like this in San Francisco in years. Back in the day, my old friend Paul Kangas and his brother John were the kings of squats; Paul found an empty house in the Sunset in the late 1970s, with the paint peeling and the shutters hanging off the windows, moved into it, fixed it up, had the water and power turned on in his name and lived there for years. He didn't operate in secret or the middle of the night; he got the lock re-keyed, moved all his stuff in, and acted like he owned the place. He fixed it up nicely, took care of the yard -- and the neighbors loved him. An empty eyesore was now a clean, inhabited house.

Paul was no fool; he had researched the place and found out that the owner had died without leaving direct descendants or a clear will, and for a long time, nobody in the city or the legal system could figure out who actually did own it. Paul needed a place to live; this one was going to be empty for a long time. Why not use it?

John did the same thing with an abandoned house in the Mission, except that to open the door, he had to climb in a window. Somebody saw him, called the cops .... and he was arrested for burglary (for taking the front door knob, which he was going to replace.) He took the case to trial, and it was spectacular: His lawyer, Jonathan McCurdy, called a bunch of city officials and asked them who John had stolen the door knob from; "who," he kept asking, "actually owns this property?" The title was unclear; nobody could answer the question.

Then John took the stand and said he wasn't a burglar at all; he was a squatter, who was planning to take over, fix up, and live in an abandoned house.

The jury took about an hour to come back with a verdict of not guilty.

There are plenty of pieces of property around the Bay Area that are owned by banks and sitting vacant. Some of them are becoming eyesores. Somebody ought to be living there.

As we used to say, Don't just stand there -- squat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

People should create an orginization that helps homeless people squat.

Posted by Michael Redmond on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

Success rate to date? 0%.

Posted by anon on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 4:20 pm

... but of course applying an expectation of such ratiocination to the vile troll is hopelessly mistaken.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

How about I come and squat in your house? Would you love thats tory just as much.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

properties, which surely doesn't apply to his house.

You are already squatting on his website, but he appears to be quite hospitable.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

If it wasn't the previous occupant or mortgagee, then it was the lender. Any which way it clearly did not belong to the selfish asswipe that tried to get something for nothing.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

A homeless guy with his own mansion... imagine that!

And did I ever mention how much I love San Francisco juries?

Posted by Greg on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

The SFTU has been trying to do a successful squat for a decade now and those San Francisco juries never let them get away from it.

It's almost as if jurors and voters do not like thieves.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

Sounds like a winner to me. If he succeeds, he'll have his own mansion... and he'll probably have done more to earn it than most owners of such mansions.

With regards to the jury comment, I was talking about the other case -in San Francisco -that Tim was referring to.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

None of the successful squats involved activists dressed up in black hanging black banners with (A) saying "hey, look over here cops, we're squatting, look at us."

Posted by marcos on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

to get a judgment for adverse possession, at minimum you have to pay any property tax that is due. Right there that rules out most of the people who squat.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

16th and Mission?

And maybe bring some of your local pimps, pushers and prostitutes along as well.

Party time chez Marcos.

Posted by anon on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

You can try, but remember I'm not one of those who holds to the liberal/progressive line on gun control.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

The SFPD tactical squad raided the house and took them all to jail. Most of them weren't even from San Francisco.

Squatting in a home which is in probate is disgusting. Private property rights are sacrosanct in our society and for good reason - if you had to fear squatters taking over your property when they judged it "empty" no one would want to invest in owning anything. There's a good way to get a piece of property when you want to live on it though - it's called "buying" or "paying rent" for it.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 3:48 pm
Posted by anon on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

I get it, Luc, but how about a house that's falling apart, a magnet for thieves and possibly for drug addicts who want a place to shoot up and is a blight on the neighborhood -- and someone like Paul Kangas moves in, pays the taxes, makes the repairs, paints the place and improves the neighborhood -- at no cost to anyone since whoever owned the place was letting it fall apart and making no money off it anyway?

I've never believed that the adverse possession laws would ever stand up in a modern court, tho it's fun to think about (I suspect those laws were created to take land from Native Americans). Paul knew he wouldn't be there forever. But while he was, until someone figured out who owned the place and the owner took responsibility for it, seems to me he was doing everyone a favor.

 

Posted by tim on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 4:12 pm

out or leave it vacant if I so choose. It has got nothing to do with you or the government if I buy a home and let it lie fallow.

Posted by anon on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

and have their own property rights usurped by the courts for not maintaining their property according to code. I've seen rundown homes red-booked with code violations as thick as the bible (and that's not an exaggeration) in San Francisco when they're not maintained properly. A derelict home is not an excuse to take the law into your own hands. There are proper channels to handle these issues.

Tim - you undermine your own oft-stated belief in the government as the ultimate guarantor of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when you advocate for this kind of lawlessness.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

that exists because squatters stole the land of its inhabitants and killed them, except for those survivors and their descendents that mostly live in open air prisons.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

rights or anything like it before colonization. Europeans did and ultimately - they prevailed. End of story.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

however you like.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

Don't you have a rain dance to perform somewhere?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 9:11 pm

lol and this is America the land of dreams .... and freedom ..... smh All against human thriving, You are all a disgrace to our country and our beliefs!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 2:07 am
Posted by anon on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

and a dime-store feather headdress he puts on to make himself feel better for living on "stolen land." Most native people would be surprised to hear they live in what are really "open air prisons." And most prisoners would be pretty excited to live in a prison from which you can walk away at any time.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

Remind me what the average life expectancy was for native americans or native africans BEFORE the Europeans arrived? 30? 35?

Posted by anon on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

preceded Europeans in North America. You surely aren't that ignorant of history.

In any event, I'm pretty sure that descendents of Native Americans and African slaves are forever grateful for the gifts that the civilized Europeans brought them.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

Descendants of Africans in the United States have a chance at a better quality of life than most people in Africa. And the slaves of native Americans (yes - they all kept slaves before that was introduced in North America) were pretty grateful that the treaties the US government forces on Indian tribes barred them from keeping slaves.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

Hmmm, might it be related to something white that comes in a box?

You know... plastic spigot at the bottom.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

For murdering them and enslaving them? You're a real piece of work, Lucretia.

Incidentally, the statement "they all kept slaves before that was introduced in North America" is incorrect. They didn't "all" do it. And the "slaves" that you're referring to weren't "kept" as property -they were prisoners of war who often eventually were integrated into the new tribe.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 10:11 pm

Rising to positions of great power and influence in their new country.

Murder and enslavement is part of human history - it always has been and it always will be.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 10:26 pm

Unlike in the native American example, African slaves who were brought here were NEVER integrated. Those who survived the voyage and didn't die of disease or starvation in squalid concentration-camp conditions, remained property for the rest of their lives, unless they escaped. Much later, after a civil war, many struggles, and no thanks to the white establishment, their *descendants* (i.e., people *other* than those originally enslaved), won certain rights... while remaining discriminated against in many ways even up to this day.

There is no equivalency here, and no excuse. Your statement that they should feel grateful to whites for their enslavement is beyond the pale.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 8:39 am

One of the odd things about Indians is many of them were more or less happy to settle down...

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&tbo=d&spell=1&q=trail+of+tears+indians+had+...

... and own slaves.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 10:49 pm

that African Americans should feel grateful for their ensalvement?

Posted by Greg on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 8:41 am

Like you who said being enslaved by Indians was no big deal really?

How do you go through life remaking everything in the moment?

Posted by matlock on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 10:49 am

Is it because you agree with Lucretia and don't want to sound like the appalling racist that you probably are, or is it because you disagree but don't want to dis your fellow troll sister?

Posted by Greg on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

all the time? It's so tired and such an obvious straw man argument on your part.

Your studied and womens studies outrage is so comical.

Here is this link again for you. Try and read it from start to finish without your lips moving.

http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/indignation_is_not_righteous/

Someone who claims to be so clever screeching such childish nonsense as a debate killer is quite funny, probably not the reaction a self identified, continuously self referential deep thinker is looking for though.

Posted by matlock on Feb. 02, 2013 @ 12:37 am

Your silence speaks volumes.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 02, 2013 @ 8:18 am

have it far better than they would have done had their ancestors been passed over by the black slave traders of Africa.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 6:55 am

You have more in common with Ahmadinejad than you do with Ayn Rand.

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 7:14 am

But rather that you don't like the conclusion?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 8:05 am
No.

Your facts and conclusion are both wrong.

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 8:19 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 11:15 am

Greg and Eddie greasily gloss over the small fact that without the cooperation of rival tribes slavery never could have taken such large numbers of African in the first place. And most Africans were not taken to North America, especially being that slave importation was banned in 1804. Nope - most of the slave trade was directly across the equator from Africa to the Caribbean, Central and South America and north to the slave markets of North Africa and the Persian Gulf. And the numbers of white people enslaved, particularly from Ireland, was horrendous as well. Yet Eddie and Greg would rather fetishize those poor blacks than speak the truth.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 10:44 am

the assistance of bought-off or sold-out members of the oppressed groups to facilitate their misdeeds.

Am I wrong to interpret your comment to mean that the enslavement of Africans was justified because the English also enslaved white Irish people? Or that it was okay because after almost 200 years of its practice, those slaves could no longer be legally imported to the United States?

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 10:56 am

"Greasy."

I like the way it meters: Greasy, Berzerk and Perfidious.

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 11:18 am

But it doesn't matter, really, because I could care less. So run with it whatever way you like. In the end Lucretia always wins - because Lucretia gets what Lucretia wants.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

Lucretia plainly stated that blacks should be grateful to the Europeans for their enslavement, because blacks currently living in America have a higher material standard of living than most Africans. That alone says all one needs to know about where she's coming from.

I've rarely heard something so openly vile. I think they even ban you on a site like Redstate if you try to say something like that. Even the looniest of the right-wing don't want to have someone so vile around, tarnishing their image.

I kinda think it's good that she put that out there. She probably wishes she didn't now, but you can't go back and delete comments on this website. So she's forced to defend the indefensible, or rather try to deflect attention to peripheral issues. But there's no worming your way out of this one. The interpretation of anything she says from this point on will forever by colored by that one quote which is so easily dug up.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 02, 2013 @ 8:33 am

that she is, can be better known to be such posts.

The above may have been the most clear example of such to date, but I came to understand that Lucretia is pathologically racist when under one of her alternate screen names she took the mention of a type of animal -- a kind which racists offensively associate with a minority group -- as an opportunity to draw attention to *how it is thus offensively used.*

http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2012/10/11/gasc%C3%B3ns-challenge-mirkarimi...

Greasy, berzerk, and perfidious really does sum up the characteristics of this troll. The "greasiness" is a perfect handle for the manner in which she sometimes almost -- sometimes, almost! -- starts to make sense; a confidence trick to better drive what seems to be her ultimate obscene agenda.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 02, 2013 @ 9:40 am

my writing even though I neglected to fill in the name field.

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 02, 2013 @ 9:55 am