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Foreclosed Properties Getting Trashed, Why No Criminal Charges?

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Foreclosed Properties Getting Trashed, Why No Criminal Charges?

Old 03-18-2009, 10:06 AM
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Default Foreclosed Properties Getting Trashed, Why No Criminal Charges?

Been house hunting pretty hard for the past few weeks for my first home, and with the market have been looking into various forclosures. It absolutely amazes me the complete discrespect some vacating residents have for these houses. I can understand a general lack of maintaince given their obvious financial circumstances, but the downright abuse is mind blowing. What I really don't get, why are there not criminal charges brought against these people? I've hunted and can't find any instance where it was done.
Old 03-18-2009, 10:08 AM
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I would guess since the bank is already losing money, why would they spend more money to prosecute somebody that doesn't have any.
Old 03-18-2009, 10:11 AM
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I'm afraid I've seen the same thing... toilets being ripped from the wall, ligth fixtures missing from the ceiling, etc,
Old 03-18-2009, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by autobaun70 View Post
What I really don't get, why are there not criminal charges brought against these people? I've hunted and can't find any instance where it was done.
I'm not saying it is right, but

What criminal charges would you want brought against them for destroying their property?

Just wait until you see one with cement poured down the drains???

As to removing light fixtures, it could have been personal property not real property that they have the right to take with them.
Old 03-18-2009, 10:29 AM
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because up until the time they actually get a foreclosure notice from the bank it is there house and they can do what they please to it. alot of these people have been selling things on craigs list granite counter tops,sinks, faucets,toilets i have even heard some people have ripped the copper out of the walls (plumbing and electric) to sell.
Old 03-18-2009, 10:42 AM
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Well without catching them in the act, it would be difficult to prove and press charges. Usually the banks are just glad that they are gone.

Way back when I first started in business, I used to evaluate homes for a local bank that they foreclosed on. There was one case that takes the cake and is by far the worse abuse I have ever seen to any property.

The prior owner removed every electrical outlet and switch cover and then proceeded to take a pair of needle nose pliars and cut every wire as far up as they could reach.

The water was turned off to the house and they used a 1/8 drill bit and drilled countless holes on the water lines into and out of the furnace and hot water heater

They cut the low voltage lines for the thermostats as far back as they could reach.

They went to the attic, took a circular saw and cut every rafter as deep as the saw would go.

Went to the basement, took a circular saw and cut every joist as deep as the saw would go.

They left the walkout basement window open so every skunk, raccoon, and any other critter you could imagine had a warm place to stay.
Old 03-18-2009, 01:12 PM
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hell here in jax you can buy anything you want for a house on craigslist.they have no problem listing there contents and telling you it is in forclosure.I looked at some 25k cabinets and granite tops the other day and they wanted 2k.the AC was allready gone as was all the interior doors.they where selling anything that could be removed.not much anyone can do cuz it is still there house
Old 03-18-2009, 02:22 PM
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The good news is that you take it off the top with your offer. At least then you put in what you really want. Better grade cabs, granite, and light fixtures instead of builders grade specials. MAKE SURE you get a great home survey and have the septic inspected. Grease does wonders to a leach field.

It's not right but what can you do?
Old 03-18-2009, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by RI Builder View Post
Well without catching them in the act, it would be difficult to prove and press charges. Usually the banks are just glad that they are gone.

Way back when I first started in business, I used to evaluate homes for a local bank that they foreclosed on. There was one case that takes the cake and is by far the worse abuse I have ever seen to any property.

The prior owner removed every electrical outlet and switch cover and then proceeded to take a pair of needle nose pliars and cut every wire as far up as they could reach.

The water was turned off to the house and they used a 1/8 drill bit and drilled countless holes on the water lines into and out of the furnace and hot water heater

They cut the low voltage lines for the thermostats as far back as they could reach.

They went to the attic, took a circular saw and cut every rafter as deep as the saw would go.

Went to the basement, took a circular saw and cut every joist as deep as the saw would go.

They left the walkout basement window open so every skunk, raccoon, and any other critter you could imagine had a warm place to stay.
I wish they would use that time and imagination to make money to pay for their mortgage insted of destroy somebody elses home.
Old 03-18-2009, 02:39 PM
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Legally it's their house until the minute the court order says they need to vacate. So there's no criminal charge possible. The bank could request an injunction against renovation/removal of components but I've never heard of that being done.

They could also sue for failure to "protect and defend" but don't have to since they can simply bill the defaulter for the difference in sale price compared to the outstanding balance, plus cost of foreclosure. If the bank declares this a bad debt or forgives it, then that amount is considerred taxable income and the IRS might be interested.

So don't pity the poor bank. They have their ways of getting even.
Old 03-18-2009, 03:00 PM
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Years ago when we were house hunting we found a nice contemporary on something like 7 acres with a price that was a little out of our range but still an excellent price.

When we looked at the house we found out why. The previous owners must have left in the middle of the night with EVERYTHING including the kitchen sink. The kitchen was down the the sheetrock, with wires and pipes just hanging out. Same in all 3 bathrooms. The only thing they didn't take were the tubs and shower stalls.

To top it off the place had about a 20' cathedral ceiling. The last thing they did was close the flue on the fireplace and lit a fire. The ceilings and walls were black.

Needless to say, we passed.
Old 03-18-2009, 04:55 PM
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From what I've seen some of these "stripped" houses are selling at a significant discount. I was amazed to see some aquantances pass on a house that was more or less perfect for them because the previous owners had removed the kitchen. $4k-8k would have fixed it up just as good as it was beforehand, and the house was $20k under market value.
Old 03-18-2009, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Kamper View Post
... If the bank declares this a bad debt or forgives it, then that amount is considerred taxable income and the IRS might be interested....
I'm not a CPA so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the IRS has changed that rule for the time being.

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualify for this relief.

This provision applies to debt forgiven in calendar years 2007 through 2012. Up to $2 million of forgiven debt is eligible for this exclusion ($1 million if married filing separately). The exclusion doesn’t apply if the discharge is due to services performed for the lender or any other reason not directly related to a decline in the home’s value or the taxpayer’s financial condition.
Old 03-18-2009, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Kamper View Post

Legally it's their house until the minute the court order says they need to vacate. So there's no criminal charge possible.

I recall something in loan papers that says the borrower will do nothing to decrease the value of the property. I think theft and vandalism charges would be a no brainer, but where would you put all of the people charged? Hell, I suspect many of them would be ok with the free room and meals.
Old 03-18-2009, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by emudryj View Post
I wish they would use that time and imagination to make money to pay for their mortgage insted of destroy somebody elses home.
Yeah there are all kinds of money making opportunities in this climate.

I think your outrage is a little bit misdirected.

These people have lost their homes, their savings,,,,,,many of them have also lost their jobs.
It's a sad situation.

Plus, foreclosed homes are vulnerable to squatters, thieves, vandals etc.
Lots of unoccupied homes get broken into and stripped. The banks have not provided adequate security to all of these empty homes.
The Wall Street Journal had a whole feature story on this a few months back.

To use a boat analogy.......
Take a look sometime at an abandoned boat behind a shed at a boatyard.
All the good hardware is stolen from it, the anchor is gone, and sometimes parts from the engine are also missing. Sailboats will be missing turnbuckles and other rigging.
Old 03-18-2009, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Flot View Post
From what I've seen some of these "stripped" houses are selling at a significant discount. I was amazed to see some aquantances pass on a house that was more or less perfect for them because the previous owners had removed the kitchen. $4k-8k would have fixed it up just as good as it was beforehand, and the house was $20k under market value.
All repossessed homes are selling at a significant discount. Even many of the ones in perfect shape are going to be purchased well below market. Most of the banks have way too much inventory.
Old 03-18-2009, 05:26 PM
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Folks should keep in mind the single largest group of people in this foreclosure thing now are the illegal criminal aliens that crept over the board under the cover of darkness. Those criminals don't have the same cultural respect for property that Americans have. Reference their disregard for the border. Ok, so the Craigs List idea was a white guy's -- required someone that could read/write English.
Old 03-18-2009, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Soundbounder View Post
These people have lost their homes, their savings,,,,,,many of them have also lost their jobs.
It's a sad situation.
Some, yes, absolutely, and I feel for those people.

However, many of these folks are simply walking away from an obligation they agreed to pay, and are "maliciously" damaging the homes when they leave. In many of these cases, they simply could not afford the house in the first place.

There is a house down the street from me where the previous owner filled every "hole" he could find with great stuff. By "hole" I mean electric socket, phone jack, sink drain, door lock, etc, etc. There's a winner for you.

On my previous note - I misspoke - the house missing the kitchen wasn't $20k under market value - it was $20k under repo market value.
Old 03-19-2009, 04:15 AM
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Folks should keep in mind the single largest group of people in this foreclosure thing now are the illegal criminal aliens that crept over the board under the cover of darkness.
That's not true.
Do you have anything to back that up other than what Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, or the Drudge Report told you????

Read this:
http://online.wsj.com/public/article...Tabs%3Darticle
Old 03-19-2009, 04:32 AM
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However, many of these folks are simply walking away from an obligation they agreed to pay
They are not "simply walking away".
They are being served eviction notices, and their home is being foreclosed.

The idea that these homeowners simply decided to stop paying their mortgage, is ludicrous.

Last edited by Soundbounder; 03-19-2009 at 04:33 AM. Reason: grammar

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