A couple is accusing banking giant Chase of locking them out of their home and removing their personal property before a foreclosure was finalized.
Banks across the country have faced similar accusations. Lenders have argued they have the right to “secure” vacant properties they’ll soon own, but lawyers say it’s trespassing or breaking and entering when home owners still own the title of the property and the banks don’t yet.
In this most recent case, the Florida couple says they arrived home one night to find the locks had been changed and a sign posted on the window that said the home was being managed by Chase Home LLC. The couple, who said the house was to be sold in a foreclosure sale in a few weeks, say the bank didn’t give them a warning or notice of eviction.
The couple has accused the company’s representatives of removing the home’s appliances and the air conditioning unit as well as some of their personal belongings. Chase says the stove, refrigerator, and air conditioning unit were already missing when their representatives entered the house.
The couple’s mortgage has been in default since 2007, but court cases have prolonged the foreclosure since the couple filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2009.
Chase spokeswoman Nancy Norris says that Chase authorized “a vendor” to change the locks on the home after it “determined” the house was vacant.
“Before the property was secured we confirmed that the home was empty,” Norris told the Miami Daily Business Review. “The utilities were turned off … we took photographs on the day we secured the property and the home was in disarray.”
Source: “Chase Accused of ‘Breaking and Entering’ Couple’s Home; Banks Claim They Have Duty to ‘Secure’ Collateral,” Miami Daily Business Review (March 24, 2011)
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