A Long Island man who became known as America’s Most Famous Squatter after he went 23 years without paying the mortgage on the house he was living in has finally been evicted.
Guramrit Hanspal, 52, who has been living in his three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath East Meadow home for free for over 20 years was locked out of his home Friday morning.
Nassau County Sheriff’s deputies, who have attempted to evict Hanspal several times over the years, arrived at the house before 8 am on Friday with movers and a locksmith.
The deputies knocked on the door and entered the Kenmore Street home when no one replied. Over the course of about three and a half hours, the movers cleared out the contents of the home loading everything from a stained couch and a stove to a child’s electric truck into their vans.
Guramrit Hanspal, 52, who was living in his home for free for over 20 years, was evicted on Friday morning. He was not at the home and it is unclear where he has relocated
A judge ordered Hanspal to be evicted in September ruling him an illegal squatter (Pictured: An eviction notice is seen on the front door of the Long Island home on Saturday, November 11)
Three different owners have tried to kick Hanspal from the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath East Meadow home (Pictured on Saturday, November 11) since he was foreclosed upon in 2000
Nassau County Sheriff’s deputies lead movers and a locksmith to the home Friday morning
Movers cleared out the home, which was given new locks, and put all the contents in a storage unit where it will sit for the next 30 days
Everything from the home will be kept in storage, paid for by Diamond Ridge Partners, for 30 days. Diamond Ridge Partners bought the home in May 2018.
It is unclear where Hanspal is currently living.
On September 14, Nassau County Housing Court Judge William Hohauser ruled that he does not qualify for COVID protections because he is an illegal squatter and not a renter.
Authorities attempted to evict Hanspal on October 29 bringing a UHaul truck but he avoided the eviction for the final time.
Three different owners have tried to kick the 52-year-old from the home since he was foreclosed upon by Washington Mutual in 2000 but he has managed to avoid eviction numerous times by drowning each of the three owners in legal actions and perverting the courts’ rules to his favor- often skipping court dates.
Following Hanspal’s move, the other occupants of the home, whom he rented to, also filed bankruptcy claims and other legal actions to stop paying rent.
In a final attempt to stay in the home, tenant Parmjit Puar filed an emergency claim last month stating he had: ‘no place to go. … Please stop eviction for 30 days only,’ according to a legal document.
Judge Hohauser held a hearing 19 days later but Puar didn’t show. Hohauser noted that the residents of the Long Island home ‘never appear’ in court. ‘There’s a jaundiced eye after  years. …I don’t even know if he actually exists.’
In April Hanspal and another resident, Bhagwant Srichawla, filed COVID-19 Hardship Declaration.
The declaration protects tenants who are struggling financially during the pandemic and prevents them from being evicted.
Several months later, Srichawla was killed in a crash over the summer when he lost control of his 2008 Subaru Legacy and veered into a tree near Kissena Boulevard, according to the New York Police Department.
A lawyer attempted to use the death in court arguing that his estate should qualify for eviction protection, according to the NY Post.
Then in August, Hanspal claimed he suffered financial hardship because he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, the NY Post reported.
Hanspal was living in the Long Island home with other tenants whom he as renting to
The sale of the home is pending. It was listed for $399,000, with a requirement for a ‘cash offer
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
But in his September 14 ruling, Judge Houhauser said that the declaration did not apply to Hanspal because he is more of a ‘squatter’ than a tenant, the Post reported.
‘The protections of the COVID declaration would inhere to tenants, but not to those who have no financial obligation,’ Hohauser ruled, adding people who stay in foreclosed homes illegally ‘could be considered occupants at ”sufferance” if not outright squatters.’
Hanspal’s behavior ‘which reflects no payments of any kind for decades, augurs strongly against any protection,’ Hohauswer said in his ruling.
This ruling was good news for real estate firm Diamond Ridge, which currently owns the home and has been actively trying to boot Hanspal.
The firm’s attorney, Jordan Katz, told the Post they were ‘very satisfied’ and added ‘we intend on immediately enforcing the court’s order and ending this illegal occupancy.’
Hanspal bought the house at 2468 Kenmore Street for $290,000 in 1998. He made only one mortgage payment of $1,602.37 before defaulting, the NY Post reported.
Washington Mutual tried to boot Hanspal after the foreclosure in 2000, but he filed two bankruptcy claims in 2001, two in 2002 and one in 2003, the New York Post reported.
It’s unclear how Hanspal was able to file bankruptcy so many times.
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 NY Post.
When Diamond Ridge bought the home from Chase in 2018, 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.
The living room on the Zillow listing shows the apparent front door blocked with junk
A formal dining room is covered with kitchen items, though the hutch looks full of nice china
Another filthy sight is the toilet area of the bathroom, where a trash can overflows onto the floor which is littered with dirty clothes
Hanspal has used every loophole in the book – from hiring lawyers at the last minute to drowning the courts in legal action.
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 continued 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.
William Friedman, a lawyer who represented Hanspal, insisted that his client did nothing wrong but capitalized on a broken system.
‘This is the great American legal system … a man can stay in a house with one mortgage payment and he did not do anything illegal in all those 23 years,’ he said.
‘He’s the poster child for a system that has failed,’ he continued.
‘He took advantage of the system, he used it and you’re blaming him for being bad for using the system. I don’t buy that. … He’s not a bad guy. The system is bad. He played by the rules. The system is completely broken. Every damn bit of it.’
Diamond Ridge has a sale pending, which gave an inside look into the house.
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, in this case 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 clung onto for so long.
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.