The foreclosure process can be difficult for the homeowner who is about to lose his home. There may be feelings of anger against the bank that is foreclosing on the home, as well as a feeling of wanting to get even with the bank for its unfair practices. In some cases, a homeowner who has spent years paying on the mortgage may wish to make sure that if they are going to lose the home, they leave with something. These feelings lead a lot of homeowners to engage in what is sometimes referred to as foreclosure stripping.
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Foreclosure stripping is the process in which a homeowner takes out the fixtures or fittings in their home before the bank takes over and puts the home up for sale. In most cases, this is done in order to recoup the investment, but sometimes, it is done simply to damage the property and make it more difficult for the bank to sell it. Homeowners are not the only ones who strip foreclosed homes, in some cases the stripping is carried out by neighbors or other third parties.
Because a homeowner still legally owns the home until the foreclosure process is complete, many argue that it is the homeowner’s right to take whatever he wants before leaving the home. However, in many states, foreclosure stripping is a crime, and anyone caught stripping the home or selling fixtures and fittings taken from foreclosed homes may be prosecuted for fraud or theft. The mortgage documents that the homeowner signed in order to buy the home may contain terms that prohibit the homeowner from stripping the home before foreclosure. A homeowner’s refusal to abide by these terms can only result in civil action against the homeowner.
Stripping also reduces the value of a home. It can negatively affect the neighborhood in which the home is located, but can also cause financial problems for the homeowner. If the home sells for less than it is worth, and for less than the mortgage owed, the bank may decide to seek the balance of the loan from the homeowner as part of the foreclosure.
So what is acceptable to take from the home? Generally, personal items and some appliances may be taken when a homeowner leaves a foreclosed home. If items are attached to the home, such as toilets, sinks, cabinets, and pipes, these are generally to be left within the home. If you are unsure of what you can take from your home, you should check with an experienced attorney to ensure you are on the right side of the law.
Contact A Foreclosure Attorney For Assistance
If you own a home and are facing foreclosure, you need to seek legal advice on how to proceed in terms of vacating the property. You should not leave immediately upon receiving a notice of foreclosure; you may have more time to get your affairs in order before the foreclosure sale. For more information, contact the North Miami foreclosure attorneys at Charlip Law Group, L.C. for a consultation on your case.