Mansion Squatting – A New Trend For Rich And Poor Alike

It’s no secret that many people have lost their homes to foreclosure in the past few years. What’s surprising may be the new trend that is emerging: squatting, also known as adverse possession. Some families are moving back into the homes they have lost, while others move into high-end mansions. Some say that mortgage fraud and recent reports of so-called "robo-signing" has made their foreclosure irrelevant, and they have a right to live there. Others, of course, are just looking for a free ride.

Even the famous have become squatters

It is not just among the middle and lower classes that the problem exists. Recently, actor Randy Quaid and his wife were arrested for living in the guest house of a mansion they once owned in Montecito, Calif. Quaid and his wife were jailed until they could come up with $10,000 in bail.

A growing problem
A large part of the problem is that many mansions and high end properties across the country now sit vacant, awaiting foreclosure or auction. Most are secluded and hidden behind walls, trees and gates, making it easy for squatters to remain undetected. The high volume of empty properties also makes it difficult for banks to keep tabs on foreclosure properties. Areas of noticeable mansion squatting are in and around St. Louis, Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles. It is likely happening in other areas as well.

Squatters defend themselves
Some of the squatters defend their actions by claiming it is part of a protest movement. They say banks do whatever they want by throwing people out of their houses and not helping them with refinancing. Some even post a notice on the front door that the house is privately owned and not for sale.

Squatting in foreclosed homes, whether mansions or ordinary houses, is against the law, and squatters may face fines or jail time. Even if the bank foreclosing on the home has gone under, some entity owns the title.

One squatter found throwing lavish parties in a multi-million dollar foreclosed Malibu mansion turned out to be a Wells Fargo executive. The house was owned by none other than Wells Fargo. The executive was fired.