You may recall the story discussed in a prior post on FindLaw's Legally Weird about the woman whose house was wrongfully foreclosed on and how the lender in question padlocked her house and took her pet parrot. Unfortunately, this was not the only incident of this type. Several other stories have surfaced over the last year, one worse than the next. What do they all have in common? A "foreclosure" by a lender who destroyed property, caused emotional and other kinds of harm to the rightful homeowners and to their homes. In some cases, the lenders failed to even acknowledge a mistake was made, let alone make amends.
In an article first published in March and updated September 24, YahooNews outlined six stories of very, very wrongful foreclosure. In one of the most egregious, the lender who foreclosed on the property wasn't even the lender. Jason Grodensky of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, found his home foreclosed on by BofA. Grodensky and his son had purchased the home in a short sale several months before. For cash. Unusually, BofA apologized. It can only be hoped they helped repair his credit score.
In another example from YahooNews, Nilly Mauck of Las Vegas came home one day to find her possessions gone. Contractors hired to reposes furnishings in foreclosed condo 1156 hit 1157, her home, instead. Mauck is suing to recover $100,000 to $200,000 in compensation, after being offered only $5,000 for the complete destruction of her belongings, including her wedding dress and immigration papers.
Others have come home to find pets missing, locks changed, the electricity cut off. The only other element that is common to each story is the hard work each homeowner has had to do to get a modicum of compensation for the destruction. Most have had to sue to get the attention of the lender. Causes of action can include intentional infliction of emotional distress, possible violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, breach of contract and wrongful foreclosure.
If you receive unusual communications from your lender regarding your mortgage, take prompt and, if necessary, repetitive action. Make all requests for action or information in writing so there is a paper trail for any resulting legal proceedings. Contact a lawyer if necessary -- and don't give up!
- Avoiding Foreclosure (Department of Housing and Urban Development)
- What is Foreclosure? (FindLaw)
- Foreclosure Scams on the Rise (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Find a Local Foreclosure & Foreclosure Alternatives Attorney (FindLaw Lawyer Directory)
- Bankruptcy Info Center (provided by Koehler Law Offices)
- Bankruptcy FAQs (provided by George R. Belche, Attorney at Law, LLC)