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Rip off a House, go to Jail

This post was written by jd on February 12, 2009
Posted Under: Real Estate
A totally ripped off home

A totally ripped off home

Just as we get a high when we purchase a new home, it must be an equal low when you are losing your home to foreclosure and for some people it brings out their dark side.

For example, browsing on the Internet, I read where someone was having a “Demolition Sale” on their soon-to-be foreclosed home. According to the article anything and everything in the house was for sale!

Here’s another one from a house that once sold for $630,000 that was published on Voice of Sandiego.org 

“The kitchen cabinets were gone from the yellow, 1960s-era four-bedroom, two-bathroom house. So were ceiling fans, blinds, light switches, outlet covers, interior doors, closet doors, the toilet, a vanity, the stove and marble counters. The kitchen walls had jagged lines of marble tile, marking the perimeter where the cabinets once were. Gaps showed in the paint, inside and out, the job stopped in mid-refurbishment. The former owner had stripped the house and taken nearly everything with her.”

According to an article from the California Association of Realtor®

“The report said, in summary, damages intentionally caused by the mortgage holder can be subject to criminal and civil penalties. In fact, removal of fixtures valued more than $100 constitutes a felony in the State of California and can result in a state prison sentence for a year or more.

Even fixtures totaling less than $100 can result in a misdemeanor and could include county jail up to one year and/or a fine up to $1,000.”

The problem of course is that the foreclosed owner of the house has no assets. So pursuing them would not get the banks any money. However, I think they should pursue them. Why? Because twenty percent of the people foreclosed on do just that, rip the house apart. This hurts you and I, because it reduces the value of the home when it goes back on the market and it lowers the value of your home and everyone else’s too.

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