Elderly Woman Evicted From Home Due To Deed Mix-Up

An elderly woman in Kansas City was forced out of her longtime home this week because of a deed mixup. No, Bank of America didn’t foreclose on her by mistake. Why are her belongings on the lawn? The situation dates back to 1998, when her friend and roommate, the owner of the house, died without properly transferring the deed. A probate battle ensued. Now a real estate company owns the house, and has offered to sell it for $60,000. They paid $13,000 at auction.

The woman refuses to pay the company for the house, insisting that she’s the rightful owner even though the law says otherwise.


Property Deed Mix Up Evicts Elderly Woman from Home of 25 Years [WDAF]


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  1. cynical_reincarnation says:

    sell at 60000, bought for 13000….


    • GMFish says:

      Yeah, all capitalist should go to hell. Anyone who buys low and sells high should be shot.

      • code65536 says:

        Nothing wrong if you buy low and sell high IF you added value (e.g., a retailer providing convenience, service, better location, etc., over a warehouse). Added value is the basis of a productive economy. Buying low and selling high is also acceptable (although unproductive) if no value is added, but the arbitrage corrects systemic pricing problems on the market. But this case, although perfectly legal, is both morally bankrupt and economically destructive and is actually a market failure. It’s essentially a forced transfer of funds. Like taxes in a way, but unlike taxes in that taxes generally result in services and public goods. What it basically represents is an opportunistic highway robbery–a leeching, if you will.

        • balthisar says:

          Selling at below value is the pricing problem, and selling at market value corrects that problem.

        • Gulliver says:

          Actually nobody is being forced to do anything. If the woman thinks their sales price is too high, then she can move. THe fact they actually bought it for 13k hurts EVERY single one of the neighbors. Selling it for $60k helps bring that into line for appraisals.

          • psiphiorg says:

            I work for a company that makes software for county appraisers, and we have counties in five states, each with different laws. In each of those states, the appraisers are required by law to determine whether a particular sale was a bona fide, arms-length sale, and the price reflects the “fair market value” of the property. If it was not, that sale is not allowed to be used as part of the statistical analysis in determining market price for the property, nor can it be used as a comparable sale if somebody protests the appraised value of their home in an effort to reduce their property taxes.

            A man sells his home to his daughter and her husband? The sale includes non-monetary consideration, such as allowing the seller to lease the property for a time after the sale? A property is sold to or bought from an entity such as a church, fraternal lodge, or school? A property is foreclosed on and it is sold for the cost of back taxes? All of these sales are not qualified.

            To be fair, I only know about the governmental side of things. However, I can’t imagine that real estate agents would use significantly different criteria for determining whether a given sale is legitimate for determining the market price of a property. Yes, a buyer’s agent could try to use an invalid one to get a seller to accept a lower price, but the seller’s agent should be able to recognize it for what it is.

            Therefore, the sale price in this case should have absolutely no effect on the appraisal of neighboring properties.

    • sirwired says:

      It’s not the Real Estate company’s fault that nobody else showed up at auction! They got a good deal, and more power to them!

    • wkin says:

      I have a part time hobby-business buying and selling houses.
      We invest in buying and selling distressed houses that were foreclosed or going thru probate.
      The last house I bought was in probate (Mother died kids fighting) the property taxes were not getting paid. I bought the house thru court ordered sale legally. I paid $12,000. That was what was owed to the county, city and left over utillities. I cleaned up the house and yard new carpet and some paint. My total investment (not including my time) was ~$14,500. I now have it on the market for $68,000. The county appraised value $76,950, The market value about $98,000. I stand to make $53,000. All this was done legally and by the book. Including evicting the person living in the house paying nothing to live there.

      If this makes me or my business partners Dicks so be it.
      If this lady didn’t dot her i’s and cross her t’s to see that she got what was hers thats her problem not the investor for taking what he paid for.

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    This is just sad on so many levels. Two elderly women, one of which did not properly record a deed, the other one not having a clue that her friend’s paperwork was not filed properly, the system not catching it before the woman had already lived there 25 years, the roommate’s family, who pursued the ownership of the home and sold the house to the bank without (it seems) ever discussing the matter with their family member’s friend.

    • Pax says:

      1998 was only 12 years ago, not 25.

      • hymie! says:

        She and her now-deceased friend, who died in 1998, have lived there for 25 years.

        • Pax says:

          Yes, but the paperwork issue only happened in 1998. This isn’t a “failre to register the deed” problem, this is a case of the other woman (the dead one) not having a proper will.

    • Paladin_11 says:

      Welcome to the world of gay people. This used to happen to gay partners all the time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case here. But whether it is or not it’s a sad reminder that we should all put our affairs in order before the unexpected happens.

  3. EmanNeercs says:

    I didn’t have a chance yet to research myself, but isn’t there a law somewhere, maybe, that states if you’ve squatted in a place long enough (more than a decade?) you have a right to claim ownership of the dwelling? And if that’s a real law, would this fall under that category?

    • hotdogsunrise says:

      Adverse possession. But it’s not as easy as you may think and the number of years to qualify depends on the state.

      • eatyourchildren says:

        Also, being a roommate does not qualify as being adverse to the owner’s interest, so a roommate can not claim adverse possession unless they were asked to leave and then didn’t for the required period of time.

        • LastError says:

          But then it becomes a simple trespassing case.

          Many jurisdictions have essentially eliminated the concept of squatting as an anachronism. Modern laws and concepts of property rights state that somebody who does not belong somewhere is a trespasser, no matter if they stay for a minute or ten years.

          In the old days, if you squatted somewhere and maybe built a house on the land, you gained some interest in the property. But nowadays, all of that is trumped by other laws. You don’t gain any extra property rights just because you’ve been somewhere for a while and managed to get away with it by intent or by accident. It’s still not your property.

          But these laws do vary. I don’t know what the particular laws would be in this case. Just noting that squatting is an endangered species -and pretty rare too, for that matter.

    • humphrmi says:

      Adverse Possession is a very convoluted law, but in general the first requirement is that the disseisor (the legal name for the person who is trying to disposes the true owner of the property) cannot have either a challenge from the owner, or permission of the owner, to posses the property.

      In other words, when her former roommate (the true owner) gave her permission to live there, she was no longer considered a squatter.

      • Commenter24 says:

        The period in Missouri is 10yrs. As to the hostile requirement of adverse possession, couldn’t one argue that her possession became “hostile” when the true owner died?

        • humphrmi says:

          Yes, but it would reset each time ownership changed. So first the probate court owned it, then the deceased’s family owned it, then they sold it to a bank. If one of them owned it 10 years, and never challenged or approved her living their, then she might have a squatter case. It’s a longshot.

          • ARP says:

            I don’t think it resets when it changes hands. As long as it’s “open and notorious” the clock would continue to run even with the change in ownership. Likely state laws are different here.

          • Jezz1226 says:

            In common law the “clock” doesn’t start over when the property changes hands, adverse possession runs with the property. Whether the elements of adverse possession (continuous, adverse, notorious, open, and exclusive) were met isn’t definitive but it is possible.

            However, as stated by others, most states have laws that have limited/changed/etc. the common law requirements so it would depend on what the statute(s) says.

    • shepd says:

      Depends. Many places have abolished adverse possession laws. This is why when you buy an old house with a screwed up plot, you now need to make sure it is fixed, or that an adverse possession situation occurred dating back to when adverse possession laws were in effect. I have seen houses here that have the lot line running THROUGH them.

      Where I am, 1980 or so was the cutoff date. Anything after that and you will have to tear the house down, remove the fence, or pay the neighbor that owns your land.

  4. sirwired says:

    She lost the probate battle. Is this tragic? Maybe. We don’t really know the whole story there. There’s a winner and a loser in court cases. She was the loser.

    Is it the Real Estate company’s fault? No. Are they making a lot of money? Sure! (If it sells…)

    And good luck for the buyer trying to get title insurance for this mess.

    • peebozi says:

      Do i ask myself easy questions to answer? yes. do i believe this is an honest way to make my opinion known? no.

      would i like to be a scavenger realtor? no.

      do i think it’s reasonable that people discontinue the practice of asking themselves softball question aloud while knowing what their answer is going to be? no.

  5. SharkD says:

    The website of the realtor in question, http://realtyaq.com/ touts their policy of stealth property sales, boasting of “confidential sale[s] without signs” and “no ‘lookers’ or open houses.”

    Considering that the firm appears to consist of a husband and wife and their site is a single page with a ‘sell your home to us’ form, I’m guessing they’re a pair of foreclosure scavengers who are relatively new to the game.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      If the real estate agents were hired for those selling points, then I have a feeling that the other parties didn’t want the friend to know that the house was being sold out from under her. Either the deceased’s family didn’t like the friend, or they just wanted the money and didn’t care about screwing her over.

    • SharkD says:

      I take it back, they’re not husband and wife (the itty-bitty website infers they are, but the WHOIS records indicate otherwise).

      The domain was registered in April 2007, via GoDaddy, to an “office” at an address that appears, in actuality, to be a very large house in a very ritzy neighborhood. The site appears to be an attempt to minimize the Google crawl, as all the “text” is, in reality, images and there is zero SEO metadata.

      The image text also mis-spells the company’s name as “Realty HQ.”

      Extremely shady.

    • Sneeje says:

      Yeah, there’s what’s legal and what’s morally right. This does not smell even remotely right unless you are a heartless being without any principles whatsoever. If you bought it for $13K, it seems like you could have chosen to let her continue living there (perhaps pay rent) and wait to sell until she “moves on”.

      Yes, that requires personal sacrifice, but that is what comes from living in a world full of other people sometimes.

    • sunnypies says:

      I use the site’s basic form to express my opinion ;)

  6. peebozi says:

    free market forces in effect! i don’t see a problem with this.

  7. El-Brucio says:

    Given the length of time they lived together, I have to wonder if they were more than friends and never said anything for fear of scandalizing their children.

    I mean, I like my friends, but I can’t imagine living with any of them for 25 years.

    • adrienna says:

      Yeah, and it sounds like the deceased’s family wasn’t supportive of her lifestyle. Very “If These Walls Could Talk.”

  8. Mcshonky says:

    got to love the way her possessions are strewn about the lawn.

    remember; be a dick, but do it with respect people.

  9. common_sense84 says:

    The real estate company has nothing to do with this.

  10. FrugalFreak says:

    What real estate company? she needs a lawyer to fight for abandoned property

  11. Talisman says:

    Since she paid the taxes on the property for all those years, she should be entitled to a refund on those taxes. The sale was a tax sale for past due taxes before she started paying them.
    While this sucks for the elderly woman, it is perfectly legal. The only way she might be able to get the house back would be if the estate finished filing the deed transfer on the behalf of the deceased lady. I would contact the executor of the will to see if they missed something as executor.

  12. bshockme says:

    She needs a lawyer well versed on adverse possession. She has been living in the house for more than 10 years (the legal requirement for adverse possession in Missouri). I am assuming adverse possession began the day after the death of her roommate, and continued on till this week. She has a very good case to gain ownership of the property, if she can find the right lawyer.

    • Gulliver says:

      If there had been no probate fight happening then she could possibly have an adverse possession, but as long as that claim was going on, it does not matter. The start of the period would be the day they allowed things to stay the same. The woman failed to file the paperwork on a FREE house. She could have avoided it all, with a trip to the court house before her roommate died.She probably did not want to pay the taxes that would cause at the time

  13. nightmage61 says:

    Laws can be evil. Why do we obay evil laws?

    • Rena says:

      Because they’re still laws, so there are still consequences if we don’t. Most would rather obey. Not everyone does.

  14. ElizabethD says:

    When I first skimmed the headline, I thought it said “due to dead mix-up.” The correct version isn’t nearly as exciting.

  15. NydiaGeben says:

    Just stick “elderly woman” in the headline, and no matter if it was her fault or not, the the tears come pouring out. …

    The woman refuses to pay the company for the house, insisting that she’s the rightful owner even though the law says otherwise.

    The law normally wins here. … time to go rent somewhere else.

  16. zifnab0 says:

    Assuming she does have a valid warranty deed, she should actually win out over the real estate company.

    A bonafide purchaser is entitled to priority in real estate over an unrecorded deed, but the children who got the deed through probate weren’t bonafide (they never paid for it).

    Of course, if she doesn’t have a deed, she is SOL.