The Bank of America, which owns the five-bedroom house in Boca Raton valued at $2.5 million, served Andre "Loki Boy" Barbosa with eviction papers Wednesday, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported. Barbosa is believed to have been squatting in the house for at least a month, claiming he has a right under the doctrine of "adverse possession."
Barbosa's action inspired copycats. Broward County Appraiser Lori Parish says she has received at least 22 claims.
The law dates from an era when much of Florida was farmland, and officials were concerned that property owners would simply walk away, leaving their land fallow and houses empty. Under "adverse possession," someone who lives in abandoned property for seven years, maintains it and pays taxes and liens can become the owner.
Some housing advocates say the practice could be used to match people who need homes with Florida's current huge stock of properties in limbo because of foreclosure. But Parrish is urging the Legislature to repeal the law.