According to legal papers, Guramrit Hanspal took advantage of a bankruptcy loophole which enabled him to remain in the home for over two decades. The court documents state that Mr Hanspal only ever made one payment of £1,156 for the three-bed home in East Meadow, Long Island.
Mr Hanspal has filed four lawsuits and claimed bankruptcy seven times over the years, in an effort to save himself from eviction.
He originally purchased the large 2,081-square-foot property in 1998, though since 2000 it has been owned by two banks and a real estate company after being foreclosed upon – though he has managed to stay living there the entire time.
This is because of his successful leverage of the US Bankruptcy Code’s ‘automatic stay’ rules, which provides temporary protection to debtors from collections, harassment and foreclosures.
Papers also revealed that at least three others have filed for bankruptcy to take advantage of the rule, though all of these were eventually dismissed in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Lawyer Jordan Katz, who is representing current owner Diamond Ridge Partners, told the New York Post that Mr Hanspal has an “incredibly long” litigation history.
He went as far as to say that despite others using the loophole to do similar things, “nothing even approaches the length of this one”.
He said: “It’s really a group of people that are more than willing to use the courts and abuse the courts to whatever extent they need to extend their illegal occupancy.
“He’s not legally occupying that property.”
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In 2004, he transferred the deed to a friend who filed for bankruptcy in 2005 to keep the process going.
According to an August 2005 order from a Nassau County judge, when bankruptcy filings failed him, Mr Hanspal sought relief from state court.
After Washington Mutual went under in 2008, JP Morgan Chase & Co. took over its assets and they have been locked in litigation with Mr Hanspal ever since.
He has filed at least three lawsuits against the bank, who have so far been unable to get rid oh Mr Hanspal.
Recently, in May 2018, Chase gave the property to Diamond Ridge who offered Mr Hanspal $20,000 (£14,400) to depart the property, though he rejected this deal.
This was followed by Mr Hanspal once again filing for bankruptcy in 2019 and 2020, as another alleged occupant of the property filed for bankruptcy four times in 2019 alone, with a third filing once.