Jason Friedman’s dream of owning a home lasted only two weeks before Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies labeled him a squatter and removed him from the vacant, 3,400-square-foot Acreage house he had tried to acquire through Florida’s adverse possession law.
It is the latest South Florida case involving individuals using the archaic law to benefit from the state’s foreclosure crisis. Adverse possession allows a person to file a claim of ownership on an abandoned or vacant property and take permanent ownership after paying taxes and caring for the property for seven years. The law was created more than a century ago, when handwritten property records were easily lost or damaged and allowed land to be kept in productive use when ownership was in doubt.
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