Guramrit Hanspal, 52, bought the three-bed home in East Meadow, New York, in 1998 and since 2000 it’s been owned by two banks and a real estate company, though he didn’t have to leave
A man who lived in a house for more than two decades without paying his mortgage has been evicted, it is reported.
Guramrit Hanspal had filed four lawsuits and claimed bankruptcy seven times to avoid being evicted from his three-bed home in East Meadow, Long Island, US.
The 52-year-old bought the 2,081-square-foot property in 1998 and since 2000 when he was foreclosed upon it’s been owned by two banks and a real estate company, though he didn’t have to leave.
He was successfully able to leverage the US Bankruptcy Code’s ‘automatic stay’ rules, which temporarily protect debtors from collections, harassment and foreclosures.
On Friday Nassau County sheriff’s deputies went to the two-storey home and changed the locks, two months after a judge ruled the occupant was there illegally.
The New York Post reports that about half a dozen sheriff’s officers turned up just before 8 am with a locksmith in tow.
After knocking on the doors and getting no response, they went in before removal workers worked for three and a half hours taking out all of the contents.
It was said to have included a stained sofa, mattresses, box springs, broken-down IKEA shelves, chairs, a stove, a tire and a child’s electric truck.
The belongings will now move into storage for 30 days, Diamond Ridge company lawyer Jordan Katz said.
He said it was a ‘long time coming.’
Max Sold of the firm told the publication: “While this is a victory for us and we’re grateful for the ruling issued by Judge Hohauser, in a sense it’s too little too late and the damage has been done.
“I am disappointed that this individual was allowed to lie, cheat, and steal from hardworking taxpayers for greater than 23 years.”
“We’ll be lucky if we break even,” said Diamond Ridge owner Jason Epstein, who saw the eviction.
He added: “I expected it would take about a year and a half and about $50,000 … It took three years and about three times that amount, plus the taxes for three years, which we had to pay.”
The company reportedly wants to renovate and repair the house before selling it.
It was previously estimated that Hanspal saved at least $440,000 (£318,000) over the years, after purchasing the home on an initial interest rate of 7.375 per cent for $232,000 (£167,000).
He got the mortgage from Washington Mutual and made one payment of $1,602.37 (£1,156), with the foreclosure proceedings starting a year later, court records show.
In January 2001 he filed his first bankruptcy claim, then another in November 2001, two in 2002, and one in 2003.
In 2004 he transferred the deed to his friend who then filed for bankruptcy himself in 2005 to continue the cycle.
Washington Mutual went under in 2008 and its assets were taken over by JP Morgan Chase – and, unable to get rid of Hanspal, the new bank had been locked in litigation with him for years.