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Foreclosure/foreclosed property - personal property

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Question
Hello,
If a property has been declared vacant on 1/8/12 by a bank official and then the bank sends an order out to a company which then sends the order out to a sub-contractor to do an initial secure - change the locks and winterize. But the homeowner says it wasn't foreclosed. A utility trailer came up missing and the homeowner has pressed charges on the contractor saying it was personal. Can you provide any help. It is a Bank of America property and no one can get the bank to answer the phone let alone give any kind of answer.

Answer
Although individual states may have slightly different statutes, I have found that most require not only for a property to be vacant but also "abandoned" for a lender to secure it.  It does not have to be in foreclosure for this to be done but 99% of the time a lender will discover that a property has been vacated and abandoned because they are verifying occupancy due to a pending foreclosure.

Simply put is that a lender can secure and protect it's asset if a property has been abandoned.  But abandonment must meet several tests.  A big one is whether the utilities are still on.  If they are not, that is a good indication of abandonment.  If they are still on, it is hard to argue this issue (the exception being that the utility company has left them on but has not been receiving payments).

Now in the situation that you describe you said that the house was rekeyed and winterized.  However, I don't see anything about the property being cleaned out by this sub-contractor.  A utility trailer would obviously not be in the house.  Was it is a locked garage or locked out building?  Or was it sitting on the property?  

When dealing with personal property, again, there will be state statutes regarding timeframes.  But all these that I have dealt with only go into effect if the property is foreclosed upon and now owned by the bank/lender.  In most areas after the foreclosure is complete the property would be secured and a notice posted that personal property still remained.  (If the foreclosure process was still going on and the property was secured the lender would simply have contact information posted on the property.)  Then a timeframe (usually 30-60 days) would be given for the resident to notify the securing party that they wanted their personal property back.  And then arrangement would be made for this person to be let back into the property to claim the possessions.

Now I have seen situations like this happen where someone has mistakenly told the lender the property was abandoned and the it was then rekeyed and personal property taken or thrown away.  Ultimately the lender is responsible for the sub-contractor.  

My question would be how does the homeowner know the sub-contractor took this trailer.  Is there proof?  Did they admit it?

You are saying this is a Bank America property but also that no foreclosure has taken place.  Do you mean the BA is the lender and the homeowner is in default?  If so, there must be some contact going on between the borrower and BA.  At the very least notices of default have been sent by mail.  I would start there as there will be contact numbers.  Also if the house is secured by BA there should be notices posted on the property with contact numbers.

I have dealt With BA many times and while one can be on hold a long time, they do answer the phone.  Perhaps you can clarify the situation a bit more in a follow-up response.  In the meantime I will see if I can find some contact information for you.

Steele

Foreclosure

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Steele V. Propp

Expertise

Can answer questions on all areas of the foreclosure process both judicial and non-judicial. Also on loss mitigation and foreclosure prevention including loan modification, short sales and deed in lieu of foreclosure. Also can assist with questions on purchasing property in foreclosure and already bank owned (REO, Real Estate Owned). Both as an investor and/or a homeowner.

Experience

I have 18 years of working with the foreclosure industry as a Foreclosure Specialist. Currently work with over 20 major lenders as well as a dozen asset management companies. Head up the Bank Owned Property Division of the Schatz Real Estate Group located in Minneapolis, MN. Regularly consult and advise consumers from across the county.

Organizations
I belong to the Realtor Association at the National, State and Local levels. Also the Real Estate Investors Association. The Real Estate Educators Association. The National Association of Real Estate Consultants. The Short Sale Specialist Network. As well as number foreclosure related industry organizations.

Publications
Consumer Reports, Money magazine, Consumer Digest and many local and national newspapers.

Education/Credentials
Bachelors Degree work in Psycholgy and Economics. Masters Degree work in Counseling Over 15 real estate designations. Specialized ongoing study of foreclosures, short sales, mortgages and real estate.

Awards and Honors
Diamond Award from the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) origanization. Chapter of the Heart as President of the Minnesota CRS Chapter. Consumer-Certified Real Estate Consultant Certified Distressed Property Expert

Past/Present Clients
GMAC Asset Management, First American REO, HomEquity REO, Keystone Asset Management, Greentree, REOWorld, ServiceLink and more.

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