Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Adverse Possession -- A Unique Solution to the Foreclosure Crisis?

The NY Times has a piece today on Mark Guerette, an enterprising person in Florida who sought out homes in working-class neighborhoods that were apparently abandoned by the banks.  He sent letters to the record owners and lenders, informing them that he planned to take over the homes, renovate, and lease them.  He now manages and leases 17 homes, even paying the property taxes that are due.  The renters, who are getting a bargain, love him.  The neighbors seem pretty happy that the homes have been fixed up and are occupied.  The government (and presumably the lenders) aren't so happy.  Mr. Guerette is scheduled to go on trial next month in North Lauderdale on fraud charges.

This is a pretty interesting case and I plan to use it when we discuss adverse possession in Property.  Mr. Guerette seems to have done a lot of things correctly within the rules of the doctrine of adverse possession.  He gave notice to owners and mortgagees, he disclosed to the tenants in writing that he wasn't the legal owner of the property, he fixed up the homes and paid property taxes. 

And I thought adverse possession was a fairly dead doctrine!

Tanya Marsh

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Interesting. I will discuss this article in my property law class today. I would have thought the possessing the land under color of title would be an issue. Florida law, however, has an alternative test if one enters without color of title.


Posted by: Todd Ianuzzi | Nov 9, 2010 7:00:21 AM

This is Mark Guerette from Florida....If you have any further questions with what I did please contact me at: [email protected]

Posted by: Mark Guerette | Nov 22, 2010 2:57:26 PM

Though the lenders an lawyers may like what Mark is doing I think many of the municipalities would love to see the abandoned homes occupied. This is a serious problem in Chicago where even the lenders are walking away from the properties.

Posted by: Matt Nixon | Mar 11, 2011 7:46:07 PM

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