Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!) (updated: 04/28/2015)

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Neighbors concerned with squatting for a good cause

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  • Neighbors concerned with squatting for a good cause

    Homes claimed under adverse possession on the north side

    Oct. 6, 2011

    Jacksonville, FL — Warren Lee, a formal mayoral candidate in Jacksonville has claimed four homes through adverse possession. He says he’s doing it as part of the Warren Lee Foundation for Veterans. Neighbors around one home are concerned and have said they would rather the home be vacant.

    The property appraiser’s office lists 24 homes possessed through the archaic law that allows vacant homes to be claimed by filing a document and paying taxes on it. In simple terms, you pay taxes on it for seven years, no one claims it, and it can then be yours. Usually no one claims it because the homeowner has been foreclosed and/or because the bank that owned the mortgage went under.

    Of the 24, Warren Lee has claimed four homes all on the north side.

    One home is currently occupied by a woman who is not a veteran. She lost her mother and father and was left homeless. She met Lee and moved in weeks ago. Lee says she is an exception but needed help.

    Larissa says she would be out on the streets, probably living in her car without Lee’s help.

    Lee says the move is temporary; she’ll stay at the home for six months to a year then move out.

    Neighbors became concerned after they found out Lee didn’t buy the home, despite hearing from him when he showed up that he was in fact the homeowner.

    One neighbor, Ken told us he introduced himself to Lee, told him about the home, the neighborhood and after years of looking at a vacant home he was happy someone was finally moving in. Lee told that neighbor he was moving in with his wife. Weeks later Larissa moved in.

    Another neighbor in the community was concerned over two things, H.O.A. fees that were not being paid and power turned out at the home. So far Lee says he has not paid but wants to work with head of the H.O.A. to be in compliance.

    As for the JEA bill, they reported electricity being on at the home starting September 5th, with 2,187 kWh of consumption. On October 5th, they turned the power off. No one was authorized for usage, and some legal experts we’ve talked to say that is illegal. When asked about this Lee says the power was on for contractors and that’s it.

    When we checked in on his nonprofit group we couldn’t find it listed under exemptions through the IRS. His website says the group is registered as a 501 (C) (3).

    With all of the back and forth on what is legal and what isn’t some neighbors have said, at this point they rather the home be vacant than occupied by squatters.

    Lee says he’s doing everything by the books and even expects the number of homes claimed through adverse possession to go up dramatically in coming months.
    "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

    "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

  • #2
    Having worked in nonprofits for the majority of my career, hope the auditors catch up with this guy. They are pretty strict about regulations and if he is claiming 501 (c)(3) and not listed, they should be able to catch him and prosecute for fraud.


    • #3
      Some of my relatives are squatters. They took over a dead relative's house and have been living in it for years without ever bothering to transfer it into their name, and they never opened probate. They pay the utilities and the property taxes. It was paid off in full before the relative died, so they have no mortgage to pay. They get by for about a few hundred dollars per month (including utilities), and live in a nice big house.
      The world's simplest C & D Letter:
      "I demand that you cease and desist from any communication with me."
      Notice that I never actually mention or acknowledge the debt in my letter.


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