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Potential damage of a zombie title

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2016 | Asset Forfeiture

The Oregon housing market is currently booming, but some people are still feeling the effects of the recent recession. Many struggling families are currently facing foreclosure. When this occurs, they usually walk away from the property they are no longer able to afford and expect the bank to move forward with selling the home as they usually state they will do. However, this is not always the case, and homeowners are the ones paying the price.

Many families are shocked to learn months or even years after their foreclosures began that the bank never sold their homes at auction, which completes the foreclosure process. National Mortgage News reports that if a family moves out of a home prior to the bank taking physical possession of it, and the bank also refuses to put in the time and money required to sell the property, it becomes a zombie title. In this situation, the homeowner retains the responsibilities of homeownership, including the mortgage, maintenance fees and taxes, even if they are not aware they still own the home.

According to Fox News, no regulations exist that require banks to notify homeowners that they no longer wish to foreclose on a property. This means that unsuspecting individuals who are already facing extreme financial hardships have no protections against this kind of action by a bank. They do, however, have the ability to remain proactive in their own foreclosure process. Those whose banks have begun the proceedings to take repossession of their homes should not leave until the bank has taken legal possession. This prevents the home from falling into disrepair should the lender decide they no longer wish to proceed, and also allows the financially strapped homeowner to live in the home rent free.

It is essential for homeowners going through a foreclosure to maintain contact with their lender up until they are sure they no longer carry liability for the property. This is the only way to ensure they do not fall victim to the zombie title. 

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The Law Office of Kim Covington, is a woman owned debt relief agency, and I have helped families, individuals and small businesses, file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, for over 24 years.