A New York man has been avoiding eviction from his Long Island home for more than two decades after making only one mortgage payment and repeatedly battling banks and realtors in court, according to court documents.
Guramrit Hanspal, 52, initially "bought" the house for $290,000 in 1998, according to the New York Post.
It now has an estimated worth of almost $400,000, according to Zillow, which lists the home as currently for sale, "CASH ONLY."
By skipping out on payments and interest, Hanspal has reportedly saved more than $440,000 over the past 23 years.
He secured his original mortgage from the now-defunct Washington Mutual in 1998 and made only a single payment of $1,602.37, according to the Post.
The bank foreclosed two years later, but Hanspal filed for the first of his seven bankruptcies in 2001, using them to avoid eviction under federal rules that protect debtors from being kicked out on the streets.
He also sought relief from state courts and, despite having no claim to the property, transferred the deed to a friend in 2004 who continued to play similar bankruptcy games.
Washington Mutual collapsed in 2008, "a victim of – and major contributor to – the subprime mortgage crisis," as U.S. District Judge Frederic Block put it in 2019.
JP Morgan Chase took over its assets and, according to documents, also took over the court battle to evict Hanspal.
Despite losing numerous court battles since then, and being ordered by the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office to vacate the property in 2010, Hanspal has remained in the house.
Eventually, Chase sold the property to Diamond Ridge, a real estate company, which has spent nearly $200,000 to continue the fight to evict Hanspal and other people who remain living in the home, according to the Post report.
And even as judges in state and federal court appear ready to bring the dramatic foreclosure process to a final end – the coronavirus pandemic has thrown yet another bone to delinquent squatters, who cannot be evicted under temporary rules.
A call to the number listed for Hanspal received no response.