Alleged Adverse Possessor Charging Rent Gets Arrested

In West Palm Beach, Nathalie Heil was arrested on February 1, 2013, and faces charges of grand theft and fraud. Various news sources indicate that Heil has been accused of renting her neighbor’s foreclosed home. Heil claims she owns the property through adverse possession. To claim adverse possession, a claimant must file a DR-452 form with a proper legal description to the property appraiser of the county where the property is located within one year of entering into possession.

While infamous Boca Raton squatter, Andre de Paula Barbosa, was not arrested when police showed up to the property he is claiming through adverse possession, Barbosa was able to produce the paperwork he had filed with the county property appraiser.  Unlike Barbosa, the police found no paperwork filed with the county property appraiser claiming adverse possession.  The county property appraiser lists Juan Cedeno as the owner of record since 2007.

According to news sources, Cedeno’s property manager had not checked on the home in eight months because it is in foreclosure, but recently stopped by and noticed the property looked as though it was being lived-in.  Two women had been living in the home since mid-June when they found an ad on Craigslist. The women were paying $1,500 a month in rent to Heil. Heil maintains that she is legally subletting her house.

Adverse possession is a means of attempting to gain legal title to property by continuous possession of the property for at least seven consecutive years in an open, notorious, and visible manner such that it conflicts with the owner’s right to the property. Fla. Stat. § 95.18.  The adverse possessor must pay all taxes for the seven year period and enclose, cultivate, or improve the property.