Last week I wrote about the problem of what happens when banks don’t officially foreclose on a home.
The results are what’s known as “shadow inventory” – houses left uninhabited and uncared-for.
It’s a serious, even disastrous, problem in Memphis. Just this past week The Commercial Appeal reported on a massive cleanup of one abandoned house that had been taken over by rodents and pests. It wreaked of trash and animal excrement, and was only taken care of after neighbors complained.
Memphis Animal Services and the city’s Public Works Division had to spend hours clearing the property. The undertaking no doubt cost the city a lot of money. Plus the rightful owner most likely deserves a hefty fine.
The problem is, there is no rightful owner. The home was given up during a bankruptcy but never officially foreclosed upon. So while the bank should be held responsible for all this trouble, it claims the home still belongs to the family they recently evicted.
I practice bankruptcy law in Memphis, and this kind of story doesn’t surprise me at all. Banks are willing to hold you accountable, but they’ll never hold themselves accountable. They expect you to pay your mortgage, and if you fail they’ll kick you out of your home. But ask them to invest a single dime in the property they demanded you leave, and they’ll throw their hands in the air and say you were the rightful owner all along – even though you’re not allowed to live there anymore.
For banks to leave homes in the kind of disarray that the Appeal reported on is so disrespectful. It’s disrespectful to the community that suffers from lower property values; it’s disrespectful to the taxpayers who have to foot the bill for cleaning up the land; and it’s disrespectful to the evicted homeowners who have to watch their property be destroyed by poor management.
That’s one of the reasons we work so hard at my firm to make sure you can keep your home if you want to stay in it. You shouldn’t be evicted by a company that cares so little for you and for the place you’re leaving behind.
If you’re being threatened with foreclosure or eviction, we can help make sure you keep your house. Contact us to talk about it for free.