Long Island squatter, 52, who has not paid mortgage for 20 years claims he contracted COVID-19

A New York man has reportedly claimed he has COVID-19 and can’t be evicted from the Long Island home where he has not paid his mortgage for more than 20 years.

Guramrit Hanspal, 52, has previously filed a number of lawsuits and bankruptcy documents to remain in the home he bought for $290,000 in 1998.

Hanspal’s latest lawyer William D. Friedman appeared before Judge William Hohauser in Nassau County Housing Court on Thursday, the New York Post reported. 

During the hearing, Friedman told the court that Hanspal – who was noticeably absent – is protected by eviction protection laws amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hanspal has signed COVID-19 Hardship Declaration forms that allege he suffered financial hardship because he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, the New York Post reported.

‘It’s clearly within this statute to protect people who said they had COVID and, for purposes of the argument today, he had COVID, he said he had COVID and they’ve done nothing to rebut that. And I just think they’re stuck with that,’ Friedman said. 

Guramrit Hanspal, 52, has previously filed a number of lawsuits and bankruptcy documents to remain in the home he bought for $290,000 in 1998

Guramrit Hanspal, 52, has previously filed a number of lawsuits and bankruptcy documents to remain in the home he bought for $290,000 in 1998

Guramrit Hanspal, 52, has previously filed a number of lawsuits and bankruptcy documents to remain in the home he bought for $290,000 in 1998

Hanspal's latest lawyer William D. Friedman appeared before Judge William Hohauser in Nassau County Housing Court on Thursday

Hanspal's latest lawyer William D. Friedman appeared before Judge William Hohauser in Nassau County Housing Court on Thursday

Hanspal’s latest lawyer William D. Friedman appeared before Judge William Hohauser in Nassau County Housing Court on Thursday

During the hearing, Friedman told the court that Hanspal is protected by eviction protection laws amid the coronavirus pandemic

During the hearing, Friedman told the court that Hanspal is protected by eviction protection laws amid the coronavirus pandemic

During the hearing, Friedman told the court that Hanspal is protected by eviction protection laws amid the coronavirus pandemic

Hanspal has signed COVID-19 Hardship Declaration forms that allege he suffered financial hardship because he was diagnosed with the coronavirus

Hanspal has signed COVID-19 Hardship Declaration forms that allege he suffered financial hardship because he was diagnosed with the coronavirus

Hanspal has signed COVID-19 Hardship Declaration forms that allege he suffered financial hardship because he was diagnosed with the coronavirus

Diamond Ridge Partners, which owns the home after it was previously forclosed on by Washington Mutual, has been trying to remove Hanspal from the East Meadow property, the outlet reported.

Jordan Katz, the company’s lawyer, told the court that COVID protection doesn’t apply in this case. He said that the protections apply to renters and ‘a lease has never been provided’ to Hanspal.

‘There is no obligation to pay rent in this matter. There is no lease or other tenancy agreement. None of the occupants are tenants,’ Katz claimed.

Another of the home’s occupants, 32-year-old Bhagwant Srichawala, died in a crash on the Long Island Expressway last week, the New York Post noted.

Srichawala’s attorney David Gevanter argued that his client’s estate should take his place in court proceedings because Srichawala had also submitted COVID-19 Hardship Declaration forms.

Katz hit back that Gevanter’s argument does not make legal sense because tenancy rights end when a person dies.

Three different owners have previously tried to kick Hanspal to the curb after his house was foreclosed upon by Washington Mutual in 2000. 

The judge delayed making a final decision in the case on Thursday and another court date has not been set, the outlet noted. 

Hohauser had previously delayed the case in May after Friedman requested more time because Gevanter had been hired the day before, the New York Post reported.

‘This is the last of approximately 40 attorneys who have appeared on the eve of a hearing,’ Diamond Ridge lawyer Jordan Katz told the judge.

The basement of the home, whose mortgage hasn't been paid since 1998, is a big mess, with at least two mattresses stacked, clothes everywhere and insulation falling from the ceiling

The basement of the home, whose mortgage hasn't been paid since 1998, is a big mess, with at least two mattresses stacked, clothes everywhere and insulation falling from the ceiling

The basement of the home, whose mortgage hasn’t been paid since 1998, is a big mess, with at least two mattresses stacked, clothes everywhere and insulation falling from the ceiling

In the garage, tires are stacked, a bicycle is set against the wall and other junk is everywhere

In the garage, tires are stacked, a bicycle is set against the wall and other junk is everywhere

In the garage, tires are stacked, a bicycle is set against the wall and other junk is everywhere

One bedroom also is stuffed with furniture - and an apparent sewing machine

One bedroom also is stuffed with furniture - and an apparent sewing machine

One bedroom also is stuffed with furniture – and an apparent sewing machine

The living room and dining room on the Zillow listing shows the apparent front door blocked with junk

Max Sold, who works for Diamond Ridge, told the court at the time that the behavior was ‘very typical of the defendant.’

‘He recycles lawyers to buy himself more time. This guy is basically mocking the courts,’ Sold claimed. 

Hanspal bought the house at 2468 Kenmore St. for $290,000 in 1998. He’s made only one mortgage payment of $1,602.37 before defaulting, the New York Post reported. He hasn’t paid anything since. 

Diamond Ridge bought the home from Chase in 2018 and the company offered Hanspal $20,000 to leave. He refused the offer, forcing Diamond Ridge to continue running a legal tab of over $150,000 and paid at least $50,000 in property taxes. 

Hanspal has allegedly used everyone loophole in the book – from hiring lawyers at the last minute to drowning the courts in legal action, Diamond Ridge claims.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which clogged New York’s housing courts because of the pause in cases and bought Hanspal more time. 

Before Diamond Ridge took over the property, Washington Mutual and Chase banks fought Hanspal in long, arduous legal battles to no avail. 

He continues to live in the house by leveraging the U.S. Bankruptcy Code’s ‘automatic stay’ rules, which give debtors a temporary reprieve from all collection efforts, harassment and foreclosures. 

Diamond Ridge has a sale pending, which gave an inside look into the house. 

One of the bathrooms in the home isn't any nicer, with clothes and trash seen and a sink and toilet in dire need of cleaning

One of the bathrooms in the home isn't any nicer, with clothes and trash seen and a sink and toilet in dire need of cleaning

One of the bathrooms in the home isn’t any nicer, with clothes and trash seen and a sink and toilet in dire need of cleaning

Another filthy sight is the toilet area of the bathroom, where a trash can overflows

Another filthy sight is the toilet area of the bathroom, where a trash can overflows

Another filthy sight is the toilet area of the bathroom, where a trash can overflows

The house is listed on Zillow with a ‘pending status,’ meaning the seller and buyer agreed to a deal but the sale hasn’t closed yet – because Hanspal won’t leave.

The Zillow listing, for $399,000, noted the requirement for a ‘cash offer,’ oftentimes used when a home is in foreclosure and being sold as ‘REO’ or real estate owned by a bank or other financial institution.

It had been listed for Diamond Ridge for sale – so the Zillow pictures give a peek inside the home that Hanspal won’t leave. 

From the listing photos, he hasn’t taken care of the home well in the 23 years he’s lived there for free. Shots of the interior show a filthy bathroom. 

A living room and dining room and strewn with items everywhere. And a basement looks to be jammed with junk. 

The person who apparently put an offer on the home – hence the pending status – hasn’t been identified.

Washington Mutual tried to boot Hanspal after the foreclosure but he filed two bankruptcy claims in 2001, two in 2002 and one in 2003, the New York Post reported. 

The two sides were still entangled in legal battles when Washington Mutual went under in 2008 in one of the largest bank collapses in American history. 

Chase took over Washington Mutual’s assets, including this East Meadow house, and tried to evict Hanspal, but he filed three lawsuits against Chase in Nassau Supreme Court, according to the New York Post.   

Link hienalouca.com

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