Not many people get the opportunity to receive a house for anywhere near the amount that 51-year-old Texas man Kenneth Robinson did. Robinson did the unthinkable and was able to acquire a 3200 square foot mansion, which included a backyard pool, in a Dallas suburb, Flower Mound, for just $16.
The property on Waterford Drive in Flower Mound, Texas, was estimated to be worth around $350,000 at the time. Robinson, who neither rented or bought this home, was able to legally occupy the mansion for seven months by using a law that is called Adverse Possession.
Adverse Possession was developed in order to establish that no property would be abandoned and left without some form of monitoring and maintenance. The property, which was also in foreclosure, had been abandoned by its owner. The mortgage company for the mansion had also gone out of business.
Seeing this opportunity, Robinson paid $16 for a filing fee and submitted claims via an affidavit of Adverse Possession laws that he was able to stay there. All he would have to do is keep the property clean as well as pay property taxes and homeowner association fees.
According to a report by CBS, police were unable to locate the previous owners of the household, nor was any business listed that could officially file a complaint against Robinson. It was due to this that the former Marine was able to live the “squatters” lifestyle and legally have the rights to do so.
Neighbors of Robinson did not take kindly to his process of acquiring a residence in the Flower Mound home. One of the neighbors spoke to local reporters saying, “If he [Robinson] wants the house, buy the house like everyone else had to.” Eventually, Bank of America found that they were the mortgage holders of the property and stepped in to claim ownership.
“They think some bum off the street came and paid $15 to get a $300,000 house by filing a piece of paperwork,” said Kenneth Robinson in an interview with reporters. “That is not the case. That is the sum of what happened.”
Robinson was then given a certain amount of time to vacate the premises, to which he left without incident. Said Lucas Ferrera, a New York City real estate lawyer, “it’s quite an un-American notion that someone can take another’s property without paying for it. … After all, even the government has to pay for your property if it decides to take it from you.”
Following the experience, Robinson gained local fame and notoriety. He set up the website https://16dollarhouse.com and soon began to honor speaking engagements, mainly to law students on being able to legally squat. He is also the author of an e-book: “Open and Notorious: Kenneth Robinson on Adverse Possession.” Overall, Robinson called it a “huge learning experience.”