The free ride is finally over for a Long Island man who went more than two decades without paying a penny on his mortgage — while courts failed to evict him.
Guramrit Hanspal, 52, bought the three-bedroom, 2.5-bath East Meadow home in October 1998 for $290,000, with $58,000 down. He made the first mortgage payment of $1,602.37, and then never paid again. The house was foreclosed upon in 2000.
Over the years, Hanspal filed four lawsuits and seven bankruptcies, cases which automatically pause any attempt to evict. He even claimed COVID-19 financial hardship, court records show.
Other occupants of the Kenmore Street house also filed for bankruptcy along the way, as the house legally changed hands from one bank to another and finally to an investor — all of whom tried in vain to get Hanspal out.
Time and again law enforcement officers would show up to boot the deadbeat residents, only to be confronted with court documents giving Hanspal another chance.
Hanspal, who frequently represented himself in court and used different lawyers, would then abandon most if not all the court actions he began, defaulting or failing to show up for hearings.
That all changed Friday morning, when Nassau County Sheriff’s deputies descended on two-story corner home to change the locks, two months after Judge William Hohauser ruled that Hanspal was in the house illegally.
It was actually the second time authorities attempted to oust Hanspal since Hohauser’s Sept. 14 decision.
A UHaul truck appeared in the driveway days ahead of a planned Oct. 29 eviction. At the time, Hanspal declined to comment to The Post.
But the bid to clear out the freeloaders last month was scuttled when a purported resident — Parmjit Puar — ran to court on an emergency basis, claiming he had “no place to go. … Please stop eviction for 30 days only,” according to a legal document.
Hohauser waited 19 days to hold a hearing on Puar’s request, but Puar didn’t show up in court Tuesday to plead his case, prompting the judge to note the residents of the East Meadow home “never appear” in court, adding “there’s a jaundiced eye after  years. …I don’t even know if he actually exists.”
Half a dozen Nassau County Sheriff’s officers showed up just before 8 a.m. Friday with a locksmith and movers in tow.
After knocking on the doors and getting no response, they entered. Movers worked for about three and a half hours removing the contents of the home: a stained couch, mattresses, box springs, broken-down IKEA shelves, chairs, a stove, a tire, a child’s electric truck.
Current owner Diamond Ridge Partners purchased the home from Chase Bank in May 2018, for $184,000 and offered Hanspal $20,000 to leave. Instead Hanspal filed for bankruptcy twice more. Two other residents also claimed bankruptcy after Diamond Ridge bought the house.
When one of the home’s occupants, Bhagwant Srichawala, 32, died in a Long Island Expressway crash this summer, a lawyer even argued the dead man’s estate should qualify for protection from eviction — even though legally, tenancy rights end when someone dies.
Hanspal didn’t do anything wrong, said a lawyer who recently represented him.
“This is the great American legal system … a man can stay in a house with one mortgage payment and he did not do anything illegal in all those 23 years,” attorney William Friedman claimed. “He’s the poster child for a system that has failed.
“He took advantage of the system, he used it and you’re blaming him for being bad for using the system. I don’t buy that. … He’s not a bad guy. The system is bad. He played by the rules. The system is completely broken. Every damn bit of it.”
It’s unclear where Hanspal or the other occupants relocated. The belongings will go into storage for 30 days, paid for by Diamond Ridge, company attorney Jordan Katz said.
“It’s a long time coming,” Katz said of the eviction.
“While this is a victory for us and we’re grateful for the ruling issued by Judge Hohauser, in a sense it’s too little too late and the damage has been done,” Max Sold of Diamond Ridge told The Post, adding, “I am disappointed that this individual was allowed to lie, cheat, and steal from hardworking taxpayers for greater than 23 years.”
“We’ll be lucky if we break even,” said Diamond Ridge owner Jason Epstein, who was on hand to witness the eviction. “I expected it would take about a year and a half and about $50,000 … It took three years and about three times that amount, plus the taxes for three years, which we had to pay.”
The company plans to renovate and repair the home, and then will likely sell it.
The experience has served as a hard lesson, Epstein said.
“The New York State judicial system is a tragedy of errors that allowed a derelict to leech off of hardworking taxpaying constituents for 23 years,” he said. “The fact that this man could cynically distort the ‘law’ shows how perversely tilted the playing field is in favor of scam artists who reign free and able to commit fraud without consequence.”
Additional reporting by Ben Blanchet