Thursday, November 21, 2013

Michigan's War on Squatting

I'm not sure what is going on in Michigan, but a draconian bill passed the Michigan House of Representatives that would make squatting a crime. Seeking shelter in an abandoned property would be a misdemeanor for a first offender, but it is a felony for second offender. Putting the homeless in prison is not only cruel, but also an impractical solution for the issues of poverty and homelessness. Please spread the word to everyone you know in Michigan to fight this bill when it comes up for a vote in the Michigan Senate.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Someone Is Paying the Property Taxes, but the House Appears Abandoned

Recently I had the following email correspondences with someone seeking suggestions regarding strategy for squatting an abandoned house.
Message:
Hi Steve,

First let me thank you for all you've done. I appreciate your struggle so far in your adverse possession and I am grateful you speak out, have created this group/network.

I need your help. I have been searching (all be it limited to the internet) about the legalities of something I'm about to do....squat that abandoned house at the corner of my street.

There is this house by my son's school and for as long as I have been walking my son to school over the last 2 years, this house has been completely abandoned. I imagined that someone died and no one has claimed it....

Today I did my research, and indeed, the owner died in 2009! Its still in her name. There is garbage and old mail and phone books scattered out front. Cob webs and leaves covering walkways and entrances. The carport is falling apart...etc etc.

So I dug more, and discovered someone has been paying the property taxes....my hopes just got shot down. But wait...did it?

So I'm wondering maybe someone else is trying to pay for the property and take it over without actually living there.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lisa Bloom and I convince Ashleigh Banfield that squatting is a good thing on CNN's Newsroom!



On Friday morning, March 3, 2013, I spoke with Ashleigh Banfield of CNN's Newsroom program about my efforts squatting in Oakland, California. A debate ensues where Ashleigh Banfield criticized the concept of squatting and the legal process of adverse possession where a squatter can become the owner of a property legally. We were joined by California attorney Lisa Bloom who stated that squatting and adverse possession can provide a benefit to society by putting abandoned properties to beneficial use. Everyone realizes that squatting is good because of our solar panels. I also mentioned my old band Lesser of Two (http://lesseroftwo.bandcamp.com) as well as the non-profit I founded, Land Action (http://land-action.org). There is also video footage of Hannah Dobbz film, "Shelter, a Squatumentary" (http://propertyandresistance.wordpress.com/).

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Land Action Fundraisers Featuring Hannah Dobbz, Author of "Nine-Tenths of the Law"

Recently I received a call from my long time friend, Hannah Dobbz, who has just released her book Nine-Tenths of the Law; Property and Resistance in the United States. She told me that she was coming out to the west coast to visit. The conversation that initially began as her looking for a place to crash soon turned into us collaborating on a mini west coast book tour to promote her new book and build support for Land Action.

There are three upcoming events. On April 16, 2013 we are having an event in Los Angeles, CA (https://www.facebook.com/events/229462673858994/) and on April 19 and 20 we are having events in Oakland, CA (http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/349165, https://www.facebook.com/events/590211584323356/)

These events are fundraisers for Land Action. Hannah Dobbz will be speaking about her new book (http://propertyandresistance.wordpress.com/), and I will be giving a presentation about Land Action (http://land-action.org)

To give some background Land Action is a California non-profit that assists environmental and social justice organizers establish, maintain, and defend land occupations to be used for housing and projects.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hot Mess/RCA Victory



Squatter’s Rights Upheld in Court of Law

Occupation in Oakland, California Has Victory Fighting Eviction



Press Release
March 17, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Steven DeCaprio sdecaprio@hotmail.com



Oakland, CA- On Thursday March 14, 2013 occupiers of properties in Oakland, California won the legal battle to maintain community space in the Alameda County Superior Court. Judge Victoria Kolakowski issued a judgment in favor of the defendants, occupiers of the properties known as the Hot Mess/RCA Compound, and against plaintiff Rockridge Properties, LLC. This community space includes housing, an urban farm project, and a social center. In a long fight for squatter’s rights this judgment is a welcome victory.

Oakland, which is known for one of the most resilient encampments of the Occupy movement, has also been home to numerous occupied spaces before and after the Occupy movement began.

In her ruling dismissing the lawsuit on March 14, 2013 Judge Victoria Kolakowski stated, “There is no authority for the proposition that the successor of an ownership interest also obtains the prior owner’s possessory rights retroactively.” (Rockridge Properties, LLC v. Carey et al., Alameda County Superior Court case number RG12638555)

Upon their victory co-defendant Steven DeCaprio, CEO and founder of the non-profit Land Action, stated, “This ruling gives hope that we will return to the principal that land should be used for the benefit of society and not merely as a commodity to be abused by banks and speculators.”

Since the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008, banks who received generous bailouts by the federal government have, for the most part, refused to provide any relief to home owners facing foreclosure.

Teri-Dawn Elkins, Development Director for Land Action states, “This victory for occupiers should put the banks on notice that it is in their best interests to renegotiate mortgages with home owners rather than later losing those foreclosed properties to adverse possessors such as the ones in the HM/RCA Compound.”