FLOWER MOUND — A little-known Texas law and a foreclosure could have a man in Flower Mound living on Easy Street.
Flower Mound's Waterford Drive is lined with well-manicured $300,000 homes. So, when a new neighbor moved in without the usual sale, mortgage-paying homeowners had a few questions.
"What paperwork is it and how is it legally binding if he doesn't legally own the house?" said Leigh Lowrie, a neighboring resident. "He just squats there."
Lowrie and her husband said the house down the street was in foreclosure for more than a year and the owner walked away. Then, the mortgage company went out of business.
Apparently, that opened the door for someone to take advantage of the situation. But, Kenneth Robinson said he's no squatter. He said he moved in on June 17 after months of research about a Texas law called "adverse possession."
"This is not a normal process, but it is not a process that is not known," he said. "It's just not known to everybody."
He says an online form he printed out and filed at the Denton County courthouse for $16 gave him rights to the house. The paper says the house was abandoned and he's claiming ownership.
"I added some things here for my own protection," Robinson said.
The house is virtually empty, with just a few pieces of furniture. There is no running water or electricity.
But, Robinson said just by setting up camp in the living room, Texas law gives him exclusive negotiating rights with the original owner. If the owner wants him out, he would have to pay off his massive mortgage debt and the bank would have to file a complicated lawsuit.
Robinson believes because of the cost, neither is likely. The law says if he stays in the house, after three years he can ask the court for the title.
He told News 8 his goal is to eventually have the title of the home and be named the legal owner of the home.
"Absolutely," he said. "I want to be owner of record. At this point, because I possess it, I am the owner."
Robinson posted "no trespassing" signs after neighbors asked police to arrest him for breaking in.
Flower mound officers say they can't remove him from the property because home ownership is a civil matter, not criminal.
Lowrie and her neighbors continue to look for legal ways to get him out. They are talking to the mortgage company, real estate agents and attorneys. They're convinced he broke into the house to take possession, but Robinson told News 8 he found a key and he gained access legally.
"If he wants the house, buy the house like everyone else had to," Lowrie said. "Get the money, buy the house."
Robinson said he's not buying anything. As far as he's concerned, the $330,000 house is already his and he has the paperwork to prove it.