Banks don’t always own the homes they’re trying to repossess, a crucial oversight that residents facing foreclosure can exploit to stay in their homes—though not without effort. Mamie Ruth Palmer successfully sued the Bank of New York after the bank tried to foreclose her home without possessing the note securing the property. After six years in court, the bank agreed to slash her outstanding mortgage in half and waive $12,000 in foreclosure fees so she could keep her home.
The problems associated with banks that begin foreclosure proceedings when they do not have proper legal standing are now looming larger in the mortgage meltdown. Loans were heaped into trusts with little documentation of ownership or proper loan assignments — it was all about volume and the fees that came with it — and now that sloppiness is hurting both lenders and borrowers.
Mr. Rothbloom said he had another case in which the lender’s representative has been unable to prove ownership for two and a half years.
Meanwhile, consumer lawyers fear that borrowers are being pushed out of their homes by companies that have no right to do so. Such a prospect is particularly worrisome for residents in states that allow lenders to foreclose without court supervision, known as nonjudicial foreclosure states.
Losing a home is devastating for any family. Such monumental and consequential proceedings should adhere to letter of the law, and if they don’t, families shouldn’t hesitate to ask a court to defend their rights.