TODAY   |  January 25, 2013

Man, 23, squats in $2.5 million Florida mansion

Andre Barbosa has been living rent-free in a Boca Raton, Florida, home worth an estimated $2.5 million for the last six months. Neighbors in the ritzy community want him evicted, but they’ve discovered there may be little they can do to get him out. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports.

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>>> a man living rent free in a florida mansion, and it's all legal. kerry sanders is in boca raton , florida . good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, willie. the house behind me here is valued at $2.5 million. and a 23-year-old has figured out a way to live here rent free and mortgage free. he reportedly has been here the last six months and despite the fact that neighbors have been complaining, it appears there's very little they can do to get him out. andre barbosa is living in style, calling this 7,500-square-foot mansion in florida home. the foreclosed house is complete with a spiral staircase , gourmet kitchen, marble floors, five bedrooms, six bathrooms and stunning waterfront views. neighbors are not happy. and they want him kicked out.

>> he's a squatter. and that can pull a neighborhood down faster than anything.

>> reporter: last month barbosa filed paperwork with the county, claiming what is called adverse possession . legal experts say he may be justified in staying.

>> someone has abandoned a piece of real estate and another person has said, gee, i'm going to take over that real estate .

>> reporter: the mansion is in foreclosure. and because the owner, bank of america , has not reported a breaking and entering or trespassing, police say there is nothing they can do.

>> it isn't criminal. at this point it's a civil matter between the owner of the property, who is bank of america , and the people who are occupying it right now.

>> unavailable for an interview, but on his facebook page says a successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. i have failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why i succeed.

>> simply taken advantage of the fact that the mortgage foreclosure system, if you will, in the state of florida , is inundated with foreclosures and these plaintiffs, these banks and lenders don't have the manpower to address each individual piece of property.

>> assuming the bank does not step forward under florida law , the mansion could be barbosa 's if he maintains the house and pays the taxes for the next seven years. in a statement, bank of america says it's aware of neighbor's concern concerns, adding there is a certain legal process we are required by law to follow and we have filed the appropriate action. the bank is taking this situation seriously and we will work diligently to resolve this matter. the taxes on this house are $39,200 a year. now, experts say this is a growing problem in florida right here in this county, palm beach county , florida , there have been six adverse possession claims just this month. willie?

>> wow! kerry sanders in boca raton . looking behind you, that man has been living large lately, kerry. thank you so much. this dream may be over?

>> i don't think he will make it to the seven years. the bank is on to him. it sounds like it's maybe already asserted its ownership. i think the good times are about to stop rolling, but good on him for following the proper paperwork.

>> enjoy those views for one