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(Cleveland Plain Dealer)   Not news: Mr. Hayes is a model neighbor who pays property taxes, shares from his vegetable garden and fixes up his house. News: He's a squatter   (cleveland.com ) divider line
    More: Cool, property taxes, Harper Lee, elder abuse, home  
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7515 clicks; posted to Main » on 20 Feb 2014 at 2:42 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



65 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2014-02-20 02:44:07 PM  
Oh well, let him stay then. Laws shouldn't apply to nice people.
 
2014-02-20 02:46:07 PM  
simple. issue an AT Z
 
2014-02-20 02:46:56 PM  
I'd pay my taxes and share my garden too if I got a free house out of it. Tax is alot easier to pay off than a mortgage.
 
2014-02-20 02:48:18 PM  
Adverse possession, FTW!
 
2014-02-20 02:48:30 PM  
Mr. Hayes' makeshift kitchen includes a toaster oven, hot plate, and spices.

s2.dmcdn.net
 
2014-02-20 02:48:47 PM  
This fellow strikes me as less of a thief in Cleveland than, say, a banker in New York City, and I'm hardly a socialist.

But no doubt someone will find a legal way to put him out on the street and re-wreck a life held together with duct tape, string.
 
2014-02-20 02:52:58 PM  

Valiente: But no doubt someone will find a legal way to put him out on the street and re-wreck a life held together with duct tape, string.


If he can hold on long enough he may be able to make a claim on at least the property (if not the structure, which may be demolished) via adverse possession.  I'm not a lawyer nor familiar with Cleveland law but I do know that squatters in New York City have had limited success.
 
2014-02-20 02:54:17 PM  

Wellon Dowd: Adverse possession, FTW!


too bad the article came out several years before he was going to get ownership through adverse possession.

/ but, paying the taxes, growing a garden, fixing the place up, are all good ingredients of adverse possession.  only last thing he needs now is time.
 
2014-02-20 02:54:54 PM  
I am all for this. He is taking an unused property that will never be sold, and being a good citizen. We need more homeless people like him. Considering how the economy is doing, this is the wave of the future.
 
2014-02-20 02:55:55 PM  
Moving into an abandon house is homesteading?
 
2014-02-20 02:57:31 PM  

baconbeard: Oh well, let him stay then. Laws shouldn't apply to nice people.


What he is doing isn't illegal. This is actually seemingly a pretty legit use of adverse possession. He is living there openly in an abandoned property, paying the property taxes.
 
2014-02-20 02:58:40 PM  
Been there since 2008, open hostile and notorious possession....oh, Ohio has a 21 year adverse possession requirement. SC is only 10. 21 years is pretty excessive
 
2014-02-20 02:59:10 PM  

abhorrent1: Moving into an abandon house is homesteading?


It worked in the West when the Indians all abadoned their land and teepees.
 
2014-02-20 03:00:52 PM  
Some people are nice, some are nasty. All are equal before the Law--unless they are rich, in which case they are more than equal.

Federal Homestead Act. Does it apply? Unfortunately, Ohio has a law called the Homestead Act which is designed to save retirees some taxes.

If the guy can afford to pay property taxes, heck, give him the property.

It's better for properties to be used and maintained than to rot. It's better for the community. I'd sooner see the people get the abandoned properties and underwater homes than the bankers. They were screwing a lot of these people with Sub Prime loans with a giant balloon on the back end. Screw 'em.

A good neighbour is hard to find. Keep them when you do.

What homesteaders might look like:

upload.wikimedia.org
Norwegians in North Dakota, 1898 (Wikipedia)
 
2014-02-20 03:01:19 PM  
Good for him. I hope he keeps it.
 
2014-02-20 03:02:55 PM  
That's good, bro... you shouldn't skip leg day...

/No idea...
 
2014-02-20 03:04:25 PM  
Damn I'm gonna do this in my own home.
 
2014-02-20 03:05:14 PM  
If he lives in a home, he's not homeless...
 
2014-02-20 03:06:32 PM  

mcreadyblue: abhorrent1: Moving into an abandon house is homesteading?

It worked in the West when the Indians all abadoned their land and teepees.


 "Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian."- Henry Ford

/yes Ford was a total prick among many other things
 
2014-02-20 03:07:16 PM  
Great, but until he gets himself a job, it won't last.
 
2014-02-20 03:08:00 PM  
Apparently the western homestead act died in 1976 (now all the US territory, about one third of the country, is in the hands of rich magnates and corporations and no longer distributed to the boot-strappy masses).

But many cities have laws that are similar in effect, allowing people to obtain property by repairing it and living in it for a term of time, perhaps a few years.

This would be a good way to help preserve the character of declining neighborhoods in addition to gentrification. It might encourage a more economical and conservative approach to urban development (conservative being used in its sense of conservation rather than the political sense),

If the man is really a good neighbor, maybe the community can get together and buy the property at auction or something. That would be a nice capraesque slice of Americana.
 
2014-02-20 03:08:16 PM  

EWreckedSean: baconbeard: Oh well, let him stay then. Laws shouldn't apply to nice people.

What he is doing isn't illegal. This is actually seemingly a pretty legit use of adverse possession. He is living there openly in an abandoned property, paying the property taxes.


A potential problem I see is, especially if he does make some move to gain legal ownership of the place, will he become instantly liable for the full amount of back taxes owed?  I suppose that the city/county could also seize the property and sell it at auction at any time.

On a tangential topic, around here you can check property tax payment status online.  If you find a property with unpaid taxes and pay them yourself, you then have an instant lien on the property.  A guy I work with does that on the side - usually negotiating payment terms, with interest, on this "loan".  If the owner doesn't want to negotiate, they'll play hell when they want to sell the property or get a loan backed by its value.
 
2014-02-20 03:09:10 PM  

USCLaw2010: Been there since 2008, open hostile and notorious possession....oh, Ohio has a 21 year adverse possession requirement. SC is only 10. 21 years is pretty excessive


No it isn't.

Adverse possession should be eliminated altogether. If the property is not yours, and you are on it, you should be jailed for trespassing, not rewarded.

This isn't 1818, when people would routinely abandon land rather than pay the tax on their entry.

But I get it. This is the MSNBC echo chamber known as fark, where the party line is that anything that a freeloader can get without actually, you know, working for it...is good.
 
2014-02-20 03:11:00 PM  
He may be a squatter, but he is a model squatter, sir!
 
2014-02-20 03:12:33 PM  
There is $27k owed in back taxes but this guy pays $400 per year? Something doesn't add up.

Why hasn't the city gotten a lien on the property and sued for possession? They could then sell it (to this guy or anyone else) and pay off the tax debt, or at least part of it.
 
2014-02-20 03:13:11 PM  

baconbeard: Oh well, let him stay then. Laws shouldn't apply to nice people.


I think then in the story is aiming to own the property through adverse possession. If you love openly on a piece of land for a certain number of years (usually 8-15 depending on the local laws), pay taxes and maintain the place, it can be declared to be your property. The law is designed to prevent negligent landholders from owning everything. You can't own a piece of land and forget about it.
 
2014-02-20 03:14:16 PM  

SevenizGud: USCLaw2010: Been there since 2008, open hostile and notorious possession....oh, Ohio has a 21 year adverse possession requirement. SC is only 10. 21 years is pretty excessive

No it isn't.

Adverse possession should be eliminated altogether. If the property is not yours, and you are on it, you should be jailed for trespassing, not rewarded.

This isn't 1818, when people would routinely abandon land rather than pay the tax on their entry.

But I get it. This is the MSNBC echo chamber known as fark, where the party line is that anything that a freeloader can get without actually, you know, working for it...is good.


No, adverse possession is designed to punish people for being shiatty property owners, not to reward squatters, which is exactly the case here. The law punishes absentee landlords who allow valuable land to lie fallow and rewards those who make productive use of the land
 
2014-02-20 03:15:09 PM  

Debeo Summa Credo: There is $27k owed in back taxes but this guy pays $400 per year? Something doesn't add up.

Why hasn't the city gotten a lien on the property and sued for possession? They could then sell it (to this guy or anyone else) and pay off the tax debt, or at least part of it.


Yeah!  Hooray, bureaucracy!
 
2014-02-20 03:15:48 PM  

blatz514: Mr. Hayes' makeshift kitchen includes a toaster oven, hot plate, and spices.

[s2.dmcdn.net image 526x297]



I wonder how often the trains go by?
 
2014-02-20 03:16:02 PM  

greentea1985: If you love openly on a piece of land for a certain number of years (usually 8-15 depending on the local laws), pay taxes and maintain the place, it can be declared to be your property.


Sounds like a common-law marriage.
 
2014-02-20 03:16:04 PM  

SevenizGud: This isn't 1818, when people would routinely abandon land rather than pay the tax on their entry.


It kind of is though.  Banks take homes in foreclosure and they sit empty for years until they fall apart and get their plumbing stolen.  If it sits there for decades without anyone claiming it then it should be up for grabs, however, if someone claims it while it is still in use they should be liable for any damages caused.

static6.businessinsider.com
 
2014-02-20 03:16:33 PM  

baconbeard: Oh well, let him stay then. Laws shouldn't apply to nice people.


Let's face it, this world's economic system is FUBAR.  Claims and counter claims that will never be satisfied.  It's time to get biblical,  it's time for an old fashioned Hebraic jubilee.  How could the Tea-Tards resist?   It's in the bible.
 
2014-02-20 03:22:23 PM  

Wellon Dowd: greentea1985: If you love openly on a piece of land for a certain number of years (usually 8-15 depending on the local laws), pay taxes and maintain the place, it can be declared to be your property.

Sounds like a common-law marriage.


Similar principal. If you live so long with someone that they are virtually your spouse, they can legally be your spouse. If you openly live on a piece of land or in a property for so long that any owner who gives a shiat would have noticed but hasn't, the property becomes yours. However usually under the law you can't break in to a property, it has to be left unlocked. You also do have to improve the property and at minimum pay the taxes for it so the government knows you live there.

/on my phone
//damn you autocorrect
 
2014-02-20 03:22:43 PM  
I came home after a long business trip once and found a squatter in my house...

elitedaily.com

There were sweat puddles everywhere! Yuck!
 
2014-02-20 03:25:26 PM  

baconbeard: Oh well, let him stay then. Laws shouldn't apply to nice people.


I bet you're fun at parties. Oh sh*t dude, my bad. I didn't mean to bring up that you never get invited to parties because youre a misanthropic jerk who will hopefully die in a gutter alone.

"JUST KIDDING"
 
2014-02-20 03:27:47 PM  
Maybe Cleveland should adopt Amsterdam style squatter rights (well, until the Netherlands outlawed squatting in 2010). In Amsterdam it's because for decades there was a severe housing shortage even though many properties were empty. Landowners were sitting on them to drive up prices.

It is in the city's interest to have the property occupied rather than neglected by an absent landlord. As such if a building had been vacant for 12 months, squatters could legally move in. After that the owner had to take legal action if they want the squatters evicted. I assume that's what happened when I visited in 2006 and riot police were moving against squatters in several vacant buildings downtown. The squatters were responding mostly with balloons full of paint. Colorful!
 
2014-02-20 03:30:08 PM  
While this guy may seem like a nice guy I can guarantee you that he is the exception.

Here is my not CSB.

I have dealt with squatters before and it is not a pleasant experience. A family of junkie squatters broke into my house that I was trying to sell and moved in. The showed a fake rental agreement and the cops refused to arrest or force them to move out because according to them it "was a civil matter". I found out later that this family had just been evicted two blocks over from a house after doing the same thing that very day. This family stole everything that was bolted down and destroyed everything that wasn't and  It cost me $1500 to get them evicted and they did over $15,000 in damage to the house and stolen property in the one month that they were in it. I have no legal recourse as suing them is useless since they are homeless addicts. Fortunately my insurance picked up the tab minus the deductible for the damage. The cleanup and repairs took about a month so these jackholes ended up costing me about $2500, quite a bit of time and added two months to the time it took me to sell my house. Care to venture how much stress I was under at the time?

Now you might say that these things happen and you're glad it didn't happen to you. What you aren't considering is that the insurance companies have to increase their rates to cover their customers from people like this. This means that we're all paying for these people whether we realize it or not.
 
2014-02-20 03:30:42 PM  

The Pope of Manwich Village: I came home after a long business trip once and found a squatter in my house...

[elitedaily.com image 485x306]

There were sweat puddles everywhere! Yuck!


I'd rack that.
 
2014-02-20 03:33:13 PM  

satanorsanta: SevenizGud: This isn't 1818, when people would routinely abandon land rather than pay the tax on their entry.

It kind of is though.  Banks take homes in foreclosure and they sit empty for years until they fall apart and get their plumbing stolen.  If it sits there for decades without anyone claiming it then it should be up for grabs, however, if someone claims it while it is still in use they should be liable for any damages caused.


I say we give them five years tops. 21 years is insane.

If a house is vacant, no one is maintaining it or even trying to sell it, no one's even paying the taxes, and it just sits there for years, fark it, let someone else have it. I do think such laws should be mostly local. A rural area probably has less interest in a vacant property being maintained and occupied than a crowded urban area.
 
2014-02-20 03:33:46 PM  

USCLaw2010: Been there since 2008, open hostile and notorious possession....oh, Ohio has a 21 year adverse possession requirement. SC is only 10. 21 years is pretty excessive


LA has 30 years or 10.  10 years if you're in good faith (acquired title without knowledge of any defects in the title).  or 30 years by whatever means.

/ also, we call it acquisitive prescription.  a more accurate legal term.
 
2014-02-20 03:36:28 PM  
red230:
I have dealt with squatters before and it is not a pleasant experience. A family of junkie squatters broke into my house that I was trying to sell and moved in. The showed a fake rental agreement and the cops refused to arrest or force them to move out because according to them it "was a civil matter". I found out later that this family had just been evicted two blocks over from a house after doing the same thing that very day. This family stole everything that was bolted down and destroyed everything that wasn't and  It cost me $1500 to get them evicted and they did over $15,000 in damage to the house and stolen property in the one month that they were in it. I have no legal recourse as suing them is useless since they are homeless addicts. Fortunately my insurance picked up the tab minus the deductible for the damage. The cleanup and repairs took about a month so these jackholes ended up costing me about $2500, quite a bit of time and added two months to the time it took me to sell my house. Care to venture how much stress I was under at the time?

Why was it considered a civil matter? They trespassed. They caused property damage. They stole property. These are criminal offenses.
 
2014-02-20 03:37:47 PM  

sulco: The Pope of Manwich Village: I came home after a long business trip once and found a squatter in my house...

[elitedaily.com image 485x306]

There were sweat puddles everywhere! Yuck!

I'd rack that.


Psssht! It's just a bar. I can do that, almost.
 
2014-02-20 03:37:51 PM  

ifky: blatz514: Mr. Hayes' makeshift kitchen includes a toaster oven, hot plate, and spices.

[s2.dmcdn.net image 526x297]


I wonder how often the trains go by?


So often you won't even notice.
 
2014-02-20 03:38:51 PM  
Normally I'm in the, "Scumbag squatters," camp, but at least as presented in the article, this actually seems pretty okay.
 
2014-02-20 03:40:28 PM  

baconbeard: Oh well, let him stay then. Laws shouldn't apply to nice people.


Yes, basically.

Laws are designed to let a the state stop people from being a$$hats.  When people are being good toward each other, there is no need for laws.  However, they get mangled by the pharisees of our society that can't STAND the thought of anyone doing anything they're too chicken (or chickens$#@) to do, and by bully police who abuse the laws to harass others for no reason but to appease their sensitive little egos.
 
2014-02-20 03:40:42 PM  
When I dealt with an adverse possession issue here, in KY, the rules require notorious and hostile possession for 15 years. Things differ from state to state, but I was able to ruin the neighbor's chances at adverse possession by sending him a letter stating that I knew that his fence was built across part of my yard, and that I would allow it until I decide to not allow it. The possession issue was not longer "hostile" in a legal sense, since I "allowed" the action to occur.

I don't know about Ohio and Cleveland laws, but this guy might have already mucked up if he failed to be "hostile" about possession, via the owner or tax lien owner hearing about it and simply saying "okay". We don't know the particulars, but adverse possession is somewhat difficult to achieve, from my limited experience.

/csb...neighbor took down the fence the day he got the letter from me; whole thing started when his wife sprayed bleach on my landscaping, then went on a tirade about leaves from my trees falling in their yard...I hired a surveyor to understand exactly where the boundaries were, low and behold, their fence was several feet over the line, on my property.
 
2014-02-20 03:52:25 PM  
Since the actual owners haven't paid the property taxes and the squatter has paid the current taxes, the city should award him the house.  Something equivalent to a tax sale.
 
2014-02-20 03:59:21 PM  

SevenizGud: USCLaw2010: Been there since 2008, open hostile and notorious possession....oh, Ohio has a 21 year adverse possession requirement. SC is only 10. 21 years is pretty excessive

No it isn't.

Adverse possession should be eliminated altogether. If the property is not yours, and you are on it, you should be jailed for trespassing, not rewarded.

This isn't 1818, when people would routinely abandon land rather than pay the tax on their entry.

But I get it. This is the MSNBC echo chamber known as fark, where the party line is that anything that a freeloader can get without actually, you know, working for it...is good.


People are abandoning houses and banks are refusing to take ownership.
 
2014-02-20 04:03:25 PM  
I've got 0 problem with this guy taking over. Get character witnesses from his neighbors, and a history of paying the taxes and fees, and a housing inspection that shows the property is maintained...

Then let him have the property.
 
2014-02-20 04:03:26 PM  
All he wants is everything for free without having to work for it, applying taxpayers taken at gunpoint from people who really work to a tax bill isn't "paying" for jack shiat.
 
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