Bobby Chawla, an Indian-origin man, can finally breathe a sigh of relief as two squatters have vacated his New York house after a protracted legal battle lasting over 22 months, The New York Post reported.
Chawla purchased the 1,536-square-foot property on Friendly Lane in Jericho through a bank auction in February 2022 but faced a major hurdle as Barry and Barbara Pollack, the previous owners, adamantly refused to relinquish the premises.
Despite spending more than $85,000 on taxes, mortgage payments, and other expenses, Chawla was unable to take possession of his home while the alleged squatters continued to occupy it.
Barry Pollack, 72, was also caught on video telling Chawla’s parents from India to “go back to Pakistan”.
The Pollacks, who originally acquired the house in 1990 for $255,000, ceased mortgage payments in 2006 due to financial difficulties. Subsequently, the property went into a bank auction following a foreclosure lawsuit in 2008 that lingered in court for over a decade.
The couple resorted to filing seven “skeleton” and “frivolous” bankruptcies as a strategy to impede the bank from reclaiming the house.
These repeated filings automatically halted any eviction proceedings, enabling the Pollacks to live in the New York residence without fulfilling their mortgage obligations for almost twenty years.
Efforts to reclaim the property faced a setback last month when movers, hired by the Chawlas to vacate the house, had to abandon the task as Barbara Pollack presented bankruptcy paperwork.
However, a federal bankruptcy judge intervened, prohibiting the Pollacks from further filings. Consequently, on December 22, the couple finally relinquished their hold on the property.
“It feels like a Christmas miracle, I can’t believe it,” Chawla, who paid $762,200 when he bought the home in February 2022, told The New York Post.
“I did feel a sense of relief…. but I won’t be satisfied until I have possession of my home. This guy is not to be trusted,” he said.
Bobby Chawla, now free from the prolonged legal battle, intends to gift the house to his six-month-pregnant sister and her husband, bringing a long-awaited resolution to this property dispute.