For the last twenty-three years, one Long Island man has not paid a dime in mortgage payments. Nevertheless, he continues to live in the home for free and will likely be able to do so for more time. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has created a backlog in New York’s housing courts, 52-year-old squatter Guramrit Hanspal has gotten a lucky break and will continue to be able to live in the East Meadow home despite it being foreclosed upon in 2000 by Washington Mutual.

Over the decades, Hanspal has fought three owners in court – winning victories every time. Hanspal has filed four lawsuits against the true owners of the home and has claimed bankruptcy seven times since he first purchased the Long Island home at 2468 Kenmore St. for $290,000 in 1998. The resident made just one mortgage payment of $1,602.37 before he defaulted on the property.

Even though the current owner of the home has its sale pending, the court backlog looks good for Hanspal. He may be allowed to continue to live in the foreclosed-upon home while New York courts try to resume all the cases that were put on hold due to the pandemic. However, the sale of the home is paused until the decision regarding Hanspal and the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom room is made.

Although the extent of the court backlog is not known, New York Chief Judge Janet DiFore called it “significant” back in March. Throughout the years, all three mortgage owners of the Long Island home have gone after Hanspal, but so far, they have all lost in court.

The three litigants who have tried to evict Hanspal included Washington Mutual, Chase Bank, and real estate company, Diamond Ridge. Although these companies threw a lot of money at Hanspal’s case, he still continued to live in the home by employing the US Bankruptcy Code’s “automatic stay” rules, which protects debtors from collection efforts, including foreclosures.

Even though Diamon Ridge offered Hanspal $20,000 to leave the home, he didn’t take the offer. Instead, he filed for bankruptcy in 2019 and 2020.

“As of this writing [we] still have no known end in sight,” member Max Sold said to the New York Post. Diamond Ridge has spent $150,000 on legal fees trying to evict Hanspal as well as an accumulated $50,000 in property taxes.

Zillow lists the home’s sale as “pending status.” Although the seller and buyer agreed to a deal, the seller still needs to evict Hanspal before the deal can go through.

Listing photos show that Hanspal has not taken good care of the property during his twenty-three years of squatting.

Jordan Katz, a lawyer for Diamond Ridge, told the New York Post that Hanspal’s legal history “is incredibly long and sordid.”

Although Katz has seen people stay in foreclosed homes before, “nothing even approaches the length of this one.”

Hanspal has ignored requests from the New York Post for comment regarding his tenancy in the Long Island home. Estimates indicate that Hanspal has saved $400,000 by skipping his mortgage payments.

What do you think about this man squatting for so long?

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