Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur Urges Squatting In Foreclosed Homes

Last week I was watching Lou Dobbs while scrubbing my dentures and complaining about joint pain (two of those things are true, sadly), and I saw a segment on Ohio congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who is encouraging homeowners to stay put in their foreclosed houses. She argues that many of the loans made during the subprime fiasco may not be legit, and that you should seek legal counseling and demand a mortgage audit from the bank before leaving. Kaptur admits her advice doesn’t trump the sheriff knocking at your door with an eviction notice, but a real estate lawyer told the Toledo Blade that otherwise she has a point.

Sandusky lawyer Dan McGookle, who is representing a homeowner trying to have a predatory loan rescinded, said mortgage firms may not be able to prove they complied with truth-in-lending laws and other state and federal procedures.

“We have strong reason to believe that a majority of the mortgage loans made in the last 10 years are defective – unenforceable for various reasons,” Mr. McGookle said.

Cathleen Tillman, director of the Lucas County Sheriff’s Department’s civil section, which carries out court-ordered foreclosures and evictions, also said people should remain in the homes until the deed has been transferred, and not to abandon a home that is still listed in their name.

“The foreclosure takes a long time,” she said.

In an interview with Democracy Now!, Kaptur explains her argument (visit the site for video and a full transcript):

The most important thing to do is to get legal help. And what we are finding is that if people receive a notice from a financial institution, their first reaction is fear, rather than getting proper legal representation. Here in our region, we recommend that people go to Legal Aid or the Advocates for Basic Legal Equality—or nationally, there’s a number people can call: (888) 995-HOME—and to get the proper legal representation, so they can actually have the scales of justice be balanced rather than, now, all the power to Wall Street and none of the justice to Main Street.

Most people don’t even think about getting representation, because they get a piece of paper from the bank, and they go, “Oh, it’s the bank,” and they become fearful, rather than saying, “Oh, wait a minute. This is contract law. The mortgage is a contract. I am one party. There is another party. What are my legal rights under the law as a property owner?” And many times, they are abrogating their own rights. They’re forgetting that they have rights in this proceeding. And they need to exercise those legal rights.

“Kaptur advises owners facing eviction to stay” [Toledo Blade]
“Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) Urges Homeowners to Stay in Foreclosed Homes” [Democracy Now!]
(Photo: {dpade1337} and Mike Licht)