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Damage to Foreclosed Properties

September 27th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Chicago Sun-Times has an interesting article in the paper today about how many homes are being stripped of everything before the lender takes possession.  Certain items are considered part of the real estate.  Those items are known as fixtures.  A fixture is normally considered to be any physical property that is permanently attached to real property (e.g. molding, countertops, toilets etc.) so aren’t supposed to be removed when people lose their homes. http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/1792042,CST-NWS-strip27.article I’ve heard this is going on all over the country to the extent that some lenders are paying people facing foreclosure to leave without damaging the property.  What caught my attention is how difficult it is to prosecute the guilty party.   As a former assistant state’s attorney I know how challenging it can be to prosecute someone for criminal damage to property or theft unless there is an eyewitness.  While some guilty parties may confess when confronted by the police officer investigating the case, suspects often know that there is no way to prove the case against them without an admission of guilt.  Just because they had the opportunity commit the damage or steal doesn’t mean a prosecutor can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.  Many times vandals strip empty houses so it’s not necessarily the former homeowner who is the perpetrator.  It presents a real dilemma for the police as well at the lender.  Of course, if an officer finds the former homeowner listing the old kitchen cabinets on Craig’s list, that case has possibilities.

  1. September 30th, 2009 at 07:44 | #1

    As part of my foreclosure monitoring program I regularly check eBay, Craigslist and the local classified ads. In one case I found a local resident that was in foreclosure and had placed 17 ads on Craigslist. They were selling everything in the house and also their irrigation system and landscaping. I contacted the attorney for the bank and they were able to get a restraining order to stop the sale of the items.

  2. Linda Pieczynski
    September 30th, 2009 at 07:46 | #2

    Tom
    This is a great tip. Do you mind if I share it with everyone? I’ll give you full credit.
    Linda

  3. September 30th, 2009 at 07:51 | #3

    @Linda Pieczynski
    No problem Linda. I also have my complete monitoring program that I would be willing to share if it would be of help to anyone. I presented it at the IML conference in Chicago last week and we won the award for the best presentation at the Inovations in Government Showcase.

  1. November 29th, 2009 at 02:31 | #1

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