Posted by Paul Strauss on February 27, 2002 at 19:31:47:
Condemned could present a challenge, but have you considered Adverse Possession? (Legal Theft) You simply claim the house as your own, move in, fix-er up and she’s all yours. Now, it is more complicated than this- and laws vary but here are some basics:
Property must be vacant/abandoned and your possession must be:
Continuous for the min. number of years required by state law
Obvious- can’t stress it enough
Hostile- you must not have the owner’s consent
YOU must LIVE IN THE house.
YOU must bring all taxes up to date.
YOU must satisfy any liens on the property.
This is a high-risk endeavor as the owner could return and claim the property (assert ownership) at any point between the date the Adverse Possession begins and the date it would be legally yours.
KEEP EXCELLENT, IMPECCABLE, IRREFUTABLE RECORDS!!!
It is best to have many witnesses as to the beginning and end of an adverse possession. I haven’t personally done this, but my cousin is living in a “stolen house” in southern Illinois. He saw it, found out about Adverse Possession laws, and moved in. Nobody showed up- he paid the taxes, there were no liens, it’s his.