Special Report: The latest foreclosure horror: the zombie title
Five years ago, Keller, 10 months behind on his mortgage payments, received notice of a foreclosure judgment from JP Morgan Chase. In a few weeks, the bank said, his three-story house with gray vinyl siding in Columbus, Ohio, would be put up for auction at a sheriff's sale.
The 58-year-old former social worker and his wife, Jennifer, packed up their home of 13 years and moved in with their daughter. Joseph thought he would never have anything to do with the house again. And for about a year, he didn't.
Then it started to stalk him.
First, in 2010, the county sued Keller because the house, already picked clean by scavengers, was in a shambles, its hanging gutters and collapsed garage in violation of local housing code. Then the tax collector started sending Keller notices about mounting back taxes, sewer fees and bills for weed and waste removal. And last year, Chase's debt collector began pressing Keller to pay his mortgage, which had swollen, with penalties and fees, from $62,100.27 to $84,194.69.
The worst news came last January, when the Social Security Administration rejected Keller's application for disability benefits; the "asset" on Avondale Avenue rendered him ineligible. Keller's medical problems include advanced liver disease, hepatitis C and inactive tuberculosis. Without disability coverage, he can't get the liver transplant he needs to stay alive.
On the day Bennie Coleman lost his house, the day armed U.S. marshals came to his door and ordered him off the property, he slumped in a folding chair across the street and watched the vestiges of his 76 years hauled to the curb.
Movers carted out his easy chair, his clothes, his television. Next came the things that were closest to his heart: his Marine Corps medals and photographs of his dead wife, Martha. The duplex in Northeast Washington that Coleman bought with cash two decades earlier was emptied and shuttered. By sundown, he had nowhere to go.
All because he didn’t pay a $134 property tax bill.
The retired Marine sergeant lost his house on that summer day two years ago through a tax lien sale — an obscure program run by D.C. government that enlists private investors to help the city recover unpaid taxes.
For decades, the District placed liens on properties when homeowners failed to pay their bills, then sold those liens at public auctions to mom-and-pop investors who drew a profit by charging owners interest on top of the tax debt until the money was repaid.
Others weren’t as lucky. Tax lien purchasers have foreclosed on nearly 200 houses since 2005 and are now pressing to take 1,200 more, many owned free and clear by families for generations.
Investors also took storefronts, parking lots and vacant land — about 500 properties in all, or an average of one a week. In dozens of cases, the liens were less than $500
Problems with HSBC are being felt all across the USA for years if not decades, they are criminals just ask a homeowner who has had a mortgage with HSBC, or a banker, realtor. about it and HSBC needs to be stopped with their shyster tactics, putting families through a living hell.. shera~
ALBANY – Thousands of New Yorkers have likely been denied a better chance to get their homes out from under foreclosure by HSBC Bank USA and its Depew mortgage operations facility, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is charging in a new lawsuit.
The legal action, to be filed today in State Supreme Court in Erie County and to be unveiled by the attorney general in a morning news conference in Buffalo, accuses the banking giant of illegally ignoring a state law designed to get homeowners and banks into settlement talks to resolve foreclosure cases.
“Put simply,’’ according to the lawsuit obtained Monday by The Buffalo News, HSBC’s “illegal business practices make it more likely that homeowners will unnecessarily lose their homes.”
Barry Tatum returned to his home in Chicago in December to find that his front and back doors had been torn from their hinges, leaving his possessions exposed to the frigid winds that whipped through his neighborhood.
Terrified that he had been robbed, Mr. Tatum, who had fallen behind on his Bank of America mortgage, raced inside only to discover an unlikely source of the break-in, he said: a subcontractor for a property management firm hired by the bank. A letter from the subcontractor informed Mr. Tatum that the bank had the right to enter and secure the property, according to a copy reviewed by The New York Times.
“It’s the most depressing thing,” said Mr. Tatum, who ultimately got the management firm, Safeguard Properties, to replace the doors.
Faced with more than 10 million foreclosures that have piled up since the start of the mortgage crisis, the nation’s largest banks are turning behind the scenes to property management firms, with the Ohio-based Safeguard the largest, to help them navigate the wreckage, determine the occupancy of the troubled properties and preserve them until the homes can be resold.
But the firms are coming under fire for using questionable and possibly illegal tactics. The scrutiny threatens to ensnare JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank and other lenders that depend on the firms. Legal aid offices in California, Nevada, Florida, Michigan and New York say calls about Safeguard’s aggressive tactics rank among the top complaints.
Thank you battleskin88