Last week, we heard someone walking around in the back yard and the dog was going crazy. Then someone started pounding on the front door. We felt really nervous! Was this the sheriff?
When I had my landscaper dig up all of my rose bushes, he misunderstood me and stopped service. I figured we would be out at least within a month, so didn’t bother to correct him. We had gotten a letter from the HOA regarding the overgrowth of the front yard and called him to come back and simply mow the grass.
The person at the door had been sent by the HOA to maintain the lawn, as they thought we had moved out, due to letting the grass grow. He said that about 90% of the time they send him out to properties, the homes have been vacated. Often, he runs across people who are renting the home from the former homeowners, ignorant of the fact that it is a bank-owned property and they are living there illegally – through no fault of their own. Rarely, he said, does he run across people in our situation – fighting the banks and continuing to live in the home.
While I’m grateful it wasn’t the sheriff and that he was so nice, these numbers are a little disconcerting to me. They tell me that most people don’t fight.
With our lawn already taken care of, he left, and our heartrates returned to normal.
* * * * * * * *
We found a place we loved after a month of searching, and applied, only to be turned down. Turned down because the courts didn’t do their job.
My roommate’s credit report came back saying that she had been evicted in 2009, which is when the first Unlawful Detainer was filed. The case was dismissed in 2011, and she was never evicted. Her name was added to the suit against me by my attorney, because the lender did not follow proper procedure in filing the UD. Federal law requires 90 days’ notice to be given to tenants and they only gave 30 days’ notice to me. Because we were applying to live in an individually-owned condo, the owners said they were uncomfortable with the fact that the eviction happened in the first place, regardless of whether it was standard procedure in a foreclosure, which does show up on my credit history. Apparently, the foreclosure was of less concern than an eviction.
I got a copy of the court files on the UD, and it plainly shows that, not only was the UD dismissed against both of us, but also that the records were sealed! California law dictates that records of any evictions arising from a foreclosure are to be sealed. This was enacted to protect people like us and ensure that we would not end up on the streets after losing our homes.
The eviction process is clearly being exploited, in my opinion, by lenders because people fear evictions and the blights they leave on your credit history. Being evicted, regardless of the reason for it, signals to property owners that you are a potential fiscal liability to them – whether that be damage to property or non-payment of rents. In California, you cannot start the eviction process until 3 months have passed, then it could potentially be another 3 to 6 months to get the tenant out, which substantially cuts into anyone’s profit margin.
But still, this is no fault of our own. Unfortunately, this is not an easy fix where I can go into the courthouse and say, “Um, excuse me, but the court records show that this case was sealed, but the information is still coming up on her credit report.” No, your attorney has to file for an ex parte hearing in front of the judge who initially ordered the case sealed and ask them to fix it by updating the credit agencies.
This is just another example of how jacked this system is. Usually, when there is an item on your credit report, you can file a dispute. In this case, however, the information didn’t show up on the free annual credit report everyone is entitled to. Only corporations requesting your full credit report, which pulls up some information you, as an individual – your own personal information – are not privy to. In my opinion, this is not how things should work!
So, in the meantime, we are continuing to search for a place to live. It really is surprising to me that, almost as soon as places come on the market, they are pulled off. Definitely an indicator of the fact that there has recently been another round of foreclosures – over 1 million since January 2012. In California alone, foreclosures in June actually jumped 18% over 2011, despite the new Homeowner’s Bill of Rights, which wasn’t signed into law until July 2, 2012. With that jump, it’s no wonder that so many people are looking for rental housing right now.
I feel very fortunate that, at least, we’re not being pushed out the door just yet, which brings me to the last piece of news – my loan has been transferred yet again. The lender that foreclosed on me was Aurora Loan Services, a servicer for Lehman Brothers Bank. Yes, of the always-infamous Lehman Brothers. Their banking division remained intact though their investment division failed in September 2008. (The same month I was downsized, and in which I requested a modification – coincidence?) Last year, the bank was renamed Aurora Bank, and my loan was transferred to them. Now, it is owned by NationStar.
A brief review of the search results for NationStar returned do not make me feel very good! There are thousands of complaints against them. Yet, this corporation is on a buying spree, purchasing mortgages from banks seeking to divest themselves of all mortgage loans. Hmmm…
All I can do is hope for the best!