Palm Beach County has twenty open adverse possession claims

Squatters hitting countywide

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - On Northeast 4th Court in Boynton Beach, the neighborhood kids set up a basketball hoop.

"(We play out here) everyday," said neighbor D.J. Joseph.

On Sea Pines Way in Lake Worth, neighbors use the driveway in front of the abandoned house for extra parking.

On Orange Street in Boynton Beach, neighbors are just sick of the abandoned house that is practically falling down.

"Everybody comes in there smoking crack," said neighbor Les Roy. "It's bad for the neighborhood, we need the house broken down."

The Orange Street property is one of seven properties being claimed by a man named Roody Silverlain.

He's not just interested in homes. He is also squatting a gas station on Lake Worth Road.

"It's a try to get rich quick scheme," said real estate attorney Larry Bray.

Bray says it's unlikely any of the adverse possession claims will work, because the claimant has to prove they're not only paying property taxes, but taking care of the properties as if they lived there.

"I think it's very doubtful they'll fill the requirements of the statute," said Bray.

In Palm Beach County, there are twenty active claims by fourteen people, most in just the last year.

The people living at a home on 21st Street in Boca Raton didn't want to comment on camera, but say the owners - relatives of theirs - asked them to live here after someone picked the locks and filed a claim with the county.

Like the youngsters in Boynton Beach, their neighbors happen to like the attention the house has gotten.

"At least its better than it was. Somebody is mowing the grass. They pay the kids next door to do it, but that's OK," said neighbor Ed Goetz.

An attempt to reach Silverlain for comment on the seven homes on which he is squatting was unsuccessful.

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