Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Help Me Howard: Tenting Foreclosure
If you live in a house connected to other houses, and they are all invaded by termites, that's bad news, but if one of the townhouses is in foreclosure, it's nearly impossible to get it done because many banks don't want to pay their share. What can you do? Contact Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- When Nancy Spear bought her townhouse nine years ago she was excited, especially when she found out there was no homeowner association.
Nancy Spear: "And we thought it would be great. We could save a little money on that homeowner association fee, but I think that turned out to be a bad thing because nobody's watching to make sure everything is done."
And today, this little pest has pointed out the need to to get something done.
Nancy Spear: "The problem is we all have an infestation. I think the one on the end has the worst."
Six townhouses infested with termites, five owners want to tent.
Nancy Spear: "Except the bank that owns the foreclosure."
A few months ago, the owners of unit 934 abandoned the property letting the tree weeds and rats take over, while the bank muddles through the foreclosure process.
Nancy Spear: "The property value has gone down in my house now that it's foreclosed, and it's a mess, who wants to live next door to it."
Before the tent is installed over the property, the pest control company has to inspect each unit. They need a key for 934 and the other homeowners need a check from the bank for their share of the $2,400 tenting.
Nancy Spear: "They won't return the calls, and we are stuck because we can't tent and not tent that unit."
Nancy has been given the task of getting the bank to co-operate. She has failed, leaving the termites to munch away.
Nancy Spear: "I don't want to see a pile of sawdust where I live, that's what I don't want to see. I would like to see the house tented."
But, Howard if the homeowner walks away, if the property is abandoned and the bank has not legally foreclosed, who has to pay for the tenting?
Howard Finkelstein: "Legally the person who owns the house has to pay, but they have disappeared, and until the bank completes the foreclosure they can argue it's not their property yet, but common sense says, if you are soon going to take ownership you should maintain the property."
When I spoke to the bank's attorney, he told me to call Saxon Mortgage Service which takes care of the property. I did, they promised to get to work. A few days later Nancy got this check for $400 for the banks share of the tenting and a lock box was put on the door so the pest control company can get in, but Howard says the banks work may not be done yet.
Howard Finkelstein: "This townhouse is in North Lauderdale and this city, like many others have passed laws forcing the banks to notify the city the property is going into foreclosure, and forcing the banks to keep the properties clean. If you live near a foreclosure check to see if your city has one of these laws."
Nancy and her neighbors got what they needed. The tent will soon be over their homes. Their battle with the bank is now over.
Nancy Spear: "Thank you very much. Thank you for the help. Thank you Howard.
Now if you live near a foreclosed property that is becoming a paradise for rats, whether it's a house or a townhouse, notify the city, better yet, bug the heck out of them. When they complain to the bank and slap them with a fine it will get their attention quicker than your phone call.
A situation eating at you up for closing it down bank on us. We'll be a pest for you.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include your contact phone number when emailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com