Ohio Man Tries to Claim Abandoned Homes

December 9, 2013

A Cincinnati man is trying to claim several “abandoned” homes in the area as his own. Robert Carr is being held by police on six felony charges related to break-ins at three Hamilton County homes. 

Carr allegedly tried to take up residence in several homes throughout the area. He has filed civil complaints against a dozen home owners, claiming he’s now the owner of the homes because the real owners had abandoned their properties. 

Many of the homes to which Carr reportedly tried to claim ownership are in foreclosure or are owned by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. One of the homes Carr is accused of trying to claim belonged to a family who says they hadn’t abandoned the home but were just out of town temporarily to care for a sick relative. The family is accusing Carr of breaking into their home while they were away, changing the locks, and emptying the house. He also reportedly presented the family with paperwork that he claimed proved he was the new home owner.  

In court documents, Carr says that he was able to make claims to the homes because the original owners had abandoned the properties and that “results in a transfer of the ownership interest in, and the title and possession to him.” 

While there are squatter laws that allow people to take ownership of personal property if abandoned, squatters usually have to occupy the abandoned property for at least 21 years in Ohio to gain rights to it, says Paul Weinstock, a professor at The Ohio State University. 

“You can’t go in and say ‘I’m taking over this property,’” says Danny Crank, Butler County recorder. 

Carr last month filed two complaints demanding ownership of two other homes in the area, but he is not currently facing any criminal charges related to those complaints.

Source: “Man tries to claim ‘abandoned’ homes,” Dayton Daily News (Ohio) (Dec. 5, 2013)

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