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  1. #1
    Marla Netzer's Avatar
    Marla Netzer Guest

    Red face My neighbors' house

    I really hope you can help.

    My neighbors are a bit elderly so I am looking for information for them.

    They have a mortgage. They got late on their payments. The bank filed suit for foreclosure, but the mortgage is not foreclosed. They had renters. The renters and they signed the lease.

    One day the renters were gone but came home to somebody "winterizing" their place. He told them that the house was foreclosed, and she couldn't live there. The owners were not there and didn't know anyone was "winterizing." They didn't even authorize it.

    The inspector took out the kitchen cabinets, closed the blinds and changed all locks on the house. The owners couldn't even get into it. They left a note saying the place had been winterized but left no name or phone number.

    Then they called the bank. The bank said they didn't ask for winterizing the property, but they paid the bill.

    I've read your posts, and you all sound like professionals. I'm just wondering who can authorize winterizing. Is it always the owner? Who then if not the owner? What about properties in the middle of foreclosure but not yet foreclosed?

    What about changing the locks on the door? Is that a part of winterizing?

    What about removing kitchen cabinets?

    What about kicking out legitimate renters?

    Have any of you heard of this? Is this normal?

    We are anxiously looking forward to your responses to begin this unraveling of a puzzle.

    Thanks, Marla

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  2. #2
    mike huntzinger's Avatar
    mike huntzinger Guest

    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    sounds like a bad deal all around/ my guss is the banks employee got the wrong address, and no they dont take anything to lower the property value, ie. cabinets, and winterization in not part of lock changes


  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    Took the cabinets? Sounds more like theft than winterizing. I have never heard of someone (other than an irate former owner) taking the cabinets.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    Sounds like the house got foreclosed on.... It's pretty unlikely that the winterizing people "got the wrong house" and just happened to get one that was on the brink of foreclosure.

    As for changing locks, closing blinds and turning off the water... this is all common stuff. Taking the cabinets? Not normal but I'm thinking there's more to this than that.... or at least some clarification.

    As for the bank saying they didn't authorize or order anything? Good luck getting one person on the phone at a bank that has any idea what another person is doing.

    Kicking renters out? Typically, they can't do that without some notice but if the house doesn't appear to be occupied it could happen. There should have been some postings on the door at some point. Usually, law requires several at different times just to be sure the message gets through.

    In any case, it sounds like a mess.... at the end of the day the facts are the payments were behind and the bank took over. Granted, there is some gray area in there but that's seems to be the general course.


  5. #5
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    Did they post a notice on the windows with contact information?

    if you do not have a notice posted saying do not enter. they tell them to go back in turn the water back on unless the city is the one that shut that off? but if they the tenants were current on there water bill payments then its there place move back in and call the cops and report the action and any thing missing.

    no notice move back in. got a notice call the contact #

    Best

    Ron


  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Omaha
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    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    The lender has no rights to the property until the foreclosure is complete. The owner should have been notified of the process leading up to foreclosure. Your county register of deeds will have any filings regarding foreclosure and/or liens against the property. That is public records and is there for anyone to view. Some counties have all the information on-line. The assessor office may have the lastest change of ownership but that can lag the original filling in the deeds office by months.

    In some states the lender has the right to secure abandoned property. That is when the payments are not being made and the house is vacant. But it is rare that a lender knows a house is vacant/abandoned.

    Once the property is foreclosed upon the bank will secure it. They hire a company to come out and change the locks and prepare the house as it can sit vacant for over a year in many cases. Typically the company securing the property will post notices and contact information.

    The tenants have rights under their lease but if they quit making payments and move out they become a nonfactor. The tenants may have been receiving the foreclosure notices and never informed the owner.

    There may also be laws concerning personal property left at the site and how it may be disposed of. The lender may be required to store anything of perceived value and allow the owner a chance to claim it. If the so called cabinets were not attached and appeared to be furniture the bank may be in possessions of them. Contact the lender right away as they may only have to store them for 30 days.

    Mortgages are transferred and it can hard to know who currently owns the mortgage without going to the county. Whenever rights or liens to a property transferred they have to be recorded. By going to the county deeds office you can find who currently hold the deeds. The clerks at the office are usually helpful.


  7. #7
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    Your elderly friend may not have been paying attention to the mail and or phone calls. As far as the home goes there would have been an eviction notice to anyone residing in the resident no matter it be owner or renter. There would have been something posted on the front of the home no matter what the case. It sounds like the owner not keeping up and the tenant ignoring notices.

    Either that or someone just wanted some cabinets and took anything else they wanted while they were there and the whole winterizing note was to delay police action from occurring so it would be more difficult to follow any leads

    All speculation by the way. I have no idea due to absolutely no info other than the tenants were locked out of the home.

    Changing locks.....a thief would not bother

    Someone mentioned the bank.....It is difficult getting a hold of anyone on a bank owned property just to see if all the utilities are on or for the buyers or buyers agent to get them turned on. All banks have companies that handle all the ins and outs of moving property or repairing property or listing the property.

    The tenants or the elderly seller is far from telling you the whole story


  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    key-word(s) "writ of possession" and "civil procedure".

    Your neighbors shouldn't be seeking legal advice from you.

    If you believe you witnessed some illegal/criminal or otherwise suspicious activity contact your local police department and make a (miscellaneous information, etc.) report.

    Some areas are as much as 60-70 percent vacant/foreclosed. The remaining neighbors are the eyes and ears for the PD regarding suspicious activies. Similar "covers" have been used as scams/shams to fool onlookers (even police officers to not question activities) to completely strip homes - metals, appliances, electrical wiring, A/C-heat pump condensors, etc.


  9. #9
    Marla Netzer's Avatar
    Marla Netzer Guest

    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    Thanks for all of your responses. Since this is new to me and my neighbors, I learned a lot which is what I wanted. I do know that the house is not foreclosed yet; the bank only filed suit. The foreclosure is not complete yet.

    I won't give them legal advice since I'm not an attorney. They can check with the police about what could be done since an unknown person went in, took attached kitchen cabinets and changed the locks.

    My neighbors haven't gotten anything from anyone saying they had the right to kick out the renters. There was nothing on the rental house either regarding an eviction.

    It's obvious that I don't have the whole story. It will be interesting to find out what happened.

    Has anyone heard of changing the locks on a house that isn't in foreclosure? Have you guys done it?

    Do only private individuals and banks with foreclosed houses hire you to do the winterizing inspection?

    There was no notice of any kind on the windows or elsewhere. Just a notice on the door saying the house had been winterized.

    We'll see what happens. Thanks, Marla


  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    Marla, home inspectors do not have anything to do with any of the things you describe. Your neighbors need to file a police report and contact insurance, etc. as with any break-in and theft.
    Banks hire winterization contractors, not related to home inspectors in any way. There may be a few home inspectors that have branched out to offer winterization services but by and large the home inspectors that post on this forum do not perform winterization services.
    Good luck with helping your neighbors. It sounds like there is more to the story than you have been told.

    Last edited by Jim Luttrall; 04-22-2010 at 11:38 AM.
    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  11. #11
    Marla Netzer's Avatar
    Marla Netzer Guest

    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    Thanks, Jim.

    I guess I misunderstood. I thought you guys winterized.

    What would a winterizing contractor look like? Meaning, a general contractor? Would there be a plumbing winterizor, an electrical winterizor, an interior winterizor?


  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    Quote Originally Posted by Marla Netzer View Post
    Thanks, Jim.

    I guess I misunderstood. I thought you guys winterized.

    What would a winterizing contractor look like? Meaning, a general contractor? Would there be a plumbing winterizor, an electrical winterizor, an interior winterizor?
    Simple Google search under "REO winterization florida" term yielded this Florida Property Preservation and REO Services Companies | www.CubicYard.us
    link. They have a list of contractors towards the bottom of the page.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    Why would you even need to winterize in Florida in April? I would think you could just shut off the water at the meter or well and call it good until December.

    I'd double check on the paperwork from the bank, and call the cops if the elderly couple still do own the home. A local legal aid office may help them out as well, if that exists in your area.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    Marla,

    Call Frank Nosko, (352) 371-2959, ( Home Page ), tell him I recommended you call him - he is the best person I can think of in Gainesville who may be able to help you.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    Why would you even need to winterize in Florida in April? I would think you could just shut off the water at the meter or well and call it good until December.
    Jim, that is exactly what I was thinking.

    I guess these kind of things do happen.
    Safeguard Properties Inc. - Foreclosure Scam!! Stealing personal property.... - Property Preservation/Inspection


  16. #16
    Join Date
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    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    Why would you even need to winterize in Florida in April?
    Quote Originally Posted by chris mcintyre View Post
    Jim, that is exactly what I was thinking.
    "in April" ... no way would that be needed.

    Seldom done even in December, January, February (with January and February being the coldest months there - at least for the 20 years I lived there).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    state of jefferson
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    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    jerry,
    what exactly does winterizing in flahda involve? put a sweater on the yorkie? make sure the gas log works for those 60 degree nights?


  18. #18
    Philip's Avatar
    Philip Guest

    Default Re: My neighbors' house

    In some states it can take over a year before the forclousure is completed and the lending inst has control of the property. Sounds like someone wanted cabinets. If the bank is involved in any way, and I think you said the bank acknowledges paying for the service but not ordering it, then they need a lawyer to sue the bank.


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