As strange as this story may sound, it might become a whole lot more familiar over the following months given the current state of foreclosure fraud litigation. A family in Simi Valley, California, moved into their home on October 9, but they had to jimmy the locks to do it. The home belonging to the Earl family had been foreclosed on and sold, not once, but twice. However, the new owners are going to have a heck of a time moving in, the Earl family is all moved in and set up and their household includes nine kids, two cats and a dog.
The Earls, however, are not just your everyday squatters, reports AoL's HousingWatch. According the the Earls and their attorney, the original foreclosure fraud on their house made the resulting two sales invalid. To better understand the Earls' claim, it is best to start from the beginning.
The Earl famliy had fallen behind on their loan payments, reports AoL, but were working with their lender to make them up. However, despite the attempt to make up the difference, the extra payments were not being reflected on their balance sheet, according to Danielle Earl. In fact, one $12,500 catch-up payment was not credited to the balance due at all. This continued until the Earls claim there was a $25,000 discrepancy between what they thought they still owed, and what the bank said they owed.
To complicate matters further, after several transfers of ownership of the Earls' mortgage, their current lender sold the loan to Chase the same day the default notice was sent to the Earls. AoL reports that because of the faulty transfer of their loan, Chase never properly assumed the loan and thus did not have the right to sell it off. Thus, the investment group that purchased the house, and the people who bought it from them, never actually had the right to buy the property.
If the facts are as the Earl family claims, they may have a case. It is basic contract law that in order to transfer something to someone else, you must first have legal ownership of that thing. Otherwise, there is no "meeting of the minds" as to what the contract is for, and it becomes void.
Possession is not really nine tenths of the law, the law is nine tenths of the law; but it is going to be hard to get the Earls back out of the house now that are in. Thanks to the press release by their attorney on moving day and the lawsuit "against everybody," it is going to be some time before the true ownership of this house is untangled. In the meantime, the Earls consider themselves home. And as we know, there is no place like home, even if the bank owns it.
- Evicted family breaks locks, reclaims home (ABC News)
- Make a Legally Valid Contract (FindLaw)
- Mortgages and Loans (FindLaw)
- A Pox on Their House: B of A Seizes Customer's Home, Parrot (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- Real Estate Overview (provided by The Troglin Firm, P.C.)
- Real Estate Information Center (provided by Pulgini & Norton, LLP)