Newest Foreclosure Scandal Adds Injury to Insult
The New York Times has reported on the latest lender misdeeds during foreclosure, and to no one’s surprise it involves Bank of America. This new controversy involves third party management firms hired by banks, including Bank of America, to investigate whether property in foreclosure is inhabited. A seemingly innocent and reasonable response by the lenders, since thousands of property owners have “walked away” since the beginning of the mortgage crisis, leaving property abandoned and at risk of vandalism.
Unfortunately, these property firms are entering inhabited homes, often breaking doors and locks, removing or damaging property, and changing locks – all the while claiming a right to enter and secure the property. Homeowners and tenants have returned from work or school to find their homes vandalized and burglarized by the property management company!
Recently the Attorney General for the State of Illinois filed a lawsuit against Safeguard Properties, an Ohio based property management firm, alleging that Safeguard wrongfully dispossessed hundreds of homeowners. The lawsuit contends that the company broke into homes despite overwhelming evidence that homeowners still lived in them, bullied tenants into leaving even though they had no legal obligation to do so and, in some instances, damaged the very homes they were sent to protect. The Illinois Attorney General points to more than 400 consumer complaints as evidence of Safeguard’s illegal practices.
The New York Times reports that Safeguard has had over 14 million work orders this year for properties in foreclosure. Much of this work is subcontracted to independent workers who are typically paid a flat fee. Homes declared as vacant, rightfully or not, make the subcontractors more money. Often the subcontractors remove property left behind by the homeowners for profit.
The foreclosure crisis is on-going and often devolves into a contentious struggle between the rights of the homeowner and the interests of the lender. If you are facing a foreclosure, get legal assistance from an experienced attorney who can help you protect your rights. Bankruptcy may be a viable option to force the lender to accept payments on a property arrearage, eliminate debt to help you afford your home payment, or help you to walk away from a bad debt without fear of financial reprisal. If you are considering bankruptcy, the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at the Fears Nachawati can educate you on your options, and create the best course of action to get you on the right path to financial stability again. For a free consultation, contact our office at 1.866.705.7584.