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Bruce Schreiber
Bruce Schreiber, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1771
Experience:  Attorney At Law at SELF
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I moved into this property in 2009-2010 with the intent to

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I moved into this property in 2009-2010 with the intent to buy from the owner. As of today he has abandoned this property and several others. I’ve paid the taxes, maintained the upkeep and purchased main appliances. What can I do to get ownership?
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: None. I’m lost in all of the legal steps
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: Chicago
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: The water and waste bill is in the prior owner’s name and is 17k in debt. This is a two flat building. I was paying the “manager” for the utilities but recently found out they haven’t paid the bill since 2014

Welcome & thank you for your question. I am the professional that will be assisting you. Paying the taxes on a property you don't own was a risky decision. Are you paying rent to anyone?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
No rent. Before I moved in, the owner and I met with his attorney and went over the paperwork for sale of property. I began getting the apartment move-in ready. Painting, installing kitchen cabinets, tiling the floors, bathroom vanity, refinishing the tub, etc. After a month, My family and I moved in. Roughly a month into this new place, the owner won the lottery and was never seen again. I found him on social media but he doesn’t respond.

This has been the situation for 8 years? I'm assume there is no mortgage or it would have been foreclosed. I suppose you can file an action in Court seeking a transfer of the title based upon your investments in the property over all the years. Honestly I'm not even sure what to call that action.

Of course you can also do nothing and wait for the town or the utility company to foreclose and then seek to be a buyer. You really need to consult a local real estate attorney.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
after the transfer of the property is established, does the utilities transfer as well or would I qualify for a “clean slate” considering the person listed is deceased. ?

If you become the new owner you will have no liability for the past utility debt.

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