Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Squatter opportunity

A vacant house very close to mine has a back yard that looks like attractive farm land. I decided to track down the owner to see if they mind me planting food there.

On the county website I can look up the name and mailing address of the owner for any property in the county. I wrote a little letter to the listed owner asking permission to plant. A few days later I got this voice mail, which proceeded roughly as follows:
Well I was just calling to let you know, it was very nice of you to think that I own the property ... but I now longer own that property honey ... if it were my property it would be OK with me if you plant there but I left 6 or 7 years ago and I no longer own that property ... but anyway, you have a blessed day and take care hon.
So I emailed the county records office to report their error and they replied:
There is no deed recorded from [Listed Owner] to a new owner. She may have sold the property, but that owner never recorded a deed. We cannot change our records until a deed is recorded. [Listed Owner] should look into getting her buyer to record the deed or we will not be able to change our records.
Hmmf, I thought, that's odd. In further conversation with the county office I learned that property taxes (unpaid for the last few years on this house) go with properties, not property owners, so [Listed Owner] won't likely get into trouble as far as taxes go. But they also seemed to think that [Listed Owner] may have actually sold the land, possibly informally, and the deed just never got recorded.

So I called her back. Her message was, in so many words, 'I never sold that property and it's not mine anymore.' So I don't see much reason not to start farming.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Owners dodging their taxes steal zucchinis too, I bet. (Just trying to maintain my reputation.) sk

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Mountaineer said...

Find out when it will go up on sheriff's auction (for back taxes).

4:47 PM  
Anonymous dr perfection said...

If you pay her taxes, would she give you a deed?

4:45 PM  
Blogger My Freakwentness said...

I'm guessing I could buy it from her for less than $200, plus up to a couple thousand in back taxes. But even if I got it for free somehow, the house is probably a 10k demolition cost because I doubt it's worth fixing up. I think a better bet is to wait for (and urge on) the city to possess clean up the property and then I could get it clean-and-free under one of the side lot programs for just a few hundred dollars.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the sound of it, responsibly doing one's homework pays off!!


5:13 PM  

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