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Thursday, June 07, 2007
Mortgage Foreclosure lockouts are illegal
A family I ran into the other day had gone to the funeral of a family member in a distant city and were gone for 4 days. They knew they were in deep problems with their mortgage but had never been notified that they were in foreclosure. They didn't have a clue as to what they would find when they got back home. Here, in graphic detail is what they found when they returned.

Lockout notice photo
Here is the front door as they found it upon their return.

Locked out photo

So they went around to the side door and this is what they found there.

Side door photo

And on the side door stoop they found the ring that formerly held the deadbolt in place.

Deadbolt bezel on stoop

So how did they get in? Well, first they pried the screens off of every window on the side of the house trying to find a window they could crawl in. Finally, on the back side of the house they found this window.

Entrance window photo

And of course, they opened it wide and in they went like thieves in the night except they did it in broad daylight and nobody noticed. They threw all their belongings out on the curb and by the time the family got home it was all gone, taken by people cruising by or by neighbors. Nobody knows which it was. All that was left was a little pile of trash nobody wanted to bother with.

Obviously, I didn't get involved until June when I was talking to another family about their foreclosure and they mentioned what had happened to their relative who happened to be there at the time. He didn't have a clue that what had happened to him was an illegal eviction as well as vandalism, destruction of property and a whole host of other damages.

We checked and found out that the petition for foreclosure had been filed the day before they left to go to the funeral!

Will they be able to recover their damages via a lawsuit for illegal eviction at the very least? Only time and a trial will tell. This one should be worth at least 50 grand or more by the time the punitives are added in if he wins.

On the other hand, the court could rule that he was either contributory by failing to keep up his mortgage payments or by failing to properly secure the home to prevent unauthorized entry. All depends on how the judge looks at it.

Although this is the most extreme of cases, this same type of thing is happening all over the U.S. when people are being foreclosed on and there is indication that the property might be abandoned. Mail piling up, grass not cut, anything at all that can be used as an excuse for them to break in and conduct an illegal lockout. I've seen cases where the actual damage to the property was much worse than what was done to this home.

So if you are in foreclosure or even having problems with keeping your mortgage payments current this can happen to you! The first thing you need to do whether you are in arrears on your mortgage payments or not is to make as certain as possible that your home is totally secure, otherwise you too can come home to find your home stripped out to the bare floors. Don't take a chance. It simply isn't worth it.

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