- Guramrit Hanspal, 52, purchased the house in Long Island, N.Y., in 1998 for $290,000, and since has reportedly made only one mortgage payment and defaulted because he was foreclosed upon.
It’s been two decades since Guramrit Hanspal has been avoiding eviction from his home in Long Island, New York. As reported by The New York Post, the 52-year-old Indian American man has made only one mortgage payment and “repeatedly battling banks and realtors in court.” And now, thanks to the backlog in New York’s housing courts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanspal might get another break to continue staying in the house he doesn’t own.
In the past 23 years, Hanspal has reportedly filed four lawsuits and claimed bankruptcy seven times to claim the property in East Meadow. According to data on Zillow, the 2,081 square-foot three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home at 2468 Kenmore Street, was “sold” for $290,000 in 1998. It is currently valued at $399,000, with an estimated payment of $2,175 per month.
The Post reported that since Hanspal was foreclosed upon in 2000, two different banks and a real estate company have owned the home. But “Hanspal is not the only occupant of the home leveraging the U.S. Bankruptcy Code’s ‘automatic stay’ rules,” the Post reported. The rules give debtors a temporary reprieve from all collection efforts, harassment, and foreclosures. At least three other people have listed the home as their address, “have also filed for bankruptcy in Brooklyn Federal Court, winning the ‘automatic stay,’ only to have the claims eventually dismissed,” the Post reported, citing court records.
Attorney Jordan Katz, who reps current property owner Diamond Ridge Partners, told the Post that Hanspal’s history of litigation “is incredibly long and sordid.” And while he’s seen occupants staying in foreclosed homes before, “nothing even approaches the length of this one.” Katz said Hanspal is “not legally occupying that property, it’s an outrage.”
Noting that Hanspal got “a good deal,” the Post report traces his history in the home. Hanspal had an initial 7.375 percent interest rate on the $232,000 adjustable-rate mortgage, “and he likely saved himself upwards of $440,000 by not paying his bills,” reported the Post. Hanspal got the mortgage from Washington Mutual in 1998 and made exactly one payment of $1,602.37, before defaulting, “prompting the bank to begin foreclosure proceedings a year later,” the Post said. “By May 2000, Washington Mutual successfully foreclosed on the home, and Hanspal was forever barred from any claim to the property,” the Post said.
However, Hanspal was relentless. By January 2001, he filed his first bankruptcy claim, and went on to file another in November 2001, two in 2002, and one in 2003. When the bankruptcy filings didn’t work, Hanspal went to state court seeking relief, sometimes acting as his own attorney. Hanspal also used a friend, Rajender Pal, to file claims on his behalf. When Washington Mutual was taken over by JP Morgan Chase, Hanspal reportedly filed at least three lawsuits against it.
There is an ongoing legal battle between Chase and Hanspal in Brooklyn Federal Court. As per court papers, Hanspal claims in court papers that Chase committed “blatant fraud” in 2010 by trying to evict him when it didn’t have proper title to the home. He also accused the bank of withholding “surplus” funds from a previous auction of the property. Even when Chase “unloaded the property to Diamond Ridge, which offered Hanspal $20,000 to leave, he didn’t take the deal, “and instead filed for bankruptcy again in 2019 and 2020,” Post said. Another purported occupant of the house, Boss Chawla, filed bankruptcy four times in 2019, as did another resident — allegedly named John Smith — who filed once.