Tag Archives: homeowner

Homeowner beats HOA in lawsuit over purple backyard playground

The swingset can stay. A Missouri judge has ruled that a suburban Kansas City family’s purple swingset won’t need to have its color changed, following repeated threats from their homeowners’ association. Per Fox News:

“We’re super excited, we’re very happy,” Marla Stout, who owns the swingset, told Fox4KC at a neighborhood barbecue Sunday celebrating Friday’s ruling.

The article explained that after an initial hearing on Aug. 21, the court ruled in the Stouts’ favor.

But after eveyrthing that has happened, the article said that Stout believes the homeowners’ association should apologize to the entire neighborhood.

“It’s been very embarrassing for our community and its cost every resident in this community a lot of money and reputation,” she told Fox4KC.

The news first came out in mid-August that the family wasbeing sued with jail time by the HOA over a playground they put up in their backyard.

“We got a notice that we were being fined by the HOA,” Stout said.

That was last year. The family fought it and won, but the dispute wasn’t over yet. The family received more letters outlining more serious consequences.

“(The letters said) that if we didn’t remove the swing set from the subdivision in a couple of weeks, we go to jail,” Stout said.

Source: Fox News

Foreclosure Sales and Deficiency Judgments in Tennessee

When a lender forecloses on a parcel of property, it is not unusual for the property to sell for an amount that is less than the amount owed. In that instance, the lender often seeks a judgment for the difference or the deficiency. In Tennessee, a statute directs that the deficiency judgment shall be the total amount of the debt less the fair market value of the property at the time of the sale. (Tenn. Code Ann. Section 35-5-118.)

The sale price at the foreclosure is presumed to be the fair market value absent fraud or irregularity in the sale process. But, the debtor can overcome that presumption by showing that the sale price is “materially less” than the fair market value of the property.

In Cutshaw v. Hensley, No. E2014-01561-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. July 29, 2015), the court of appeals held that a price at the foreclosure sale that was 78% less than the fair market value of the property was “materially less.” That conclusion is not surprising. The court of appeals found that the fair market value was the price that the lender (who purchased the property at the foreclosure sale) sold the property 49 days later.

Read on.

Valbuena v. Ocwen: Homeowner beats Ocwen on foreclosure appeal


The Soap Box:

California appeals court  slaps down servicer’s attempt to require payment of the entire mortgage loan a condition of homeowner protection.

Nice try, Ocwen.

But no, says an intermediate California appeals court.

Such an interpretation would gut theCalifornia Homeowner’s Bill of Rights.

Facing foreclosure

The facts in Valbuena v. Ocwen  are common:  Ocwen became the servicer of the Valbuena’s mortgage loan when the loan was in default.

Ocwen filed a notice of foreclosure sale and sent the homeowners a letter offering to consider a loan modification.  The homeowners submitted an application and supplemented it when Ocwen told them it was missing necessary documents.

Two days later, Ocwen foreclosed.

Dual tracking prohibited

California’s homeowners bill of rights forbids a foreclosure sale while the mortgage servicer is considering an application to modify the loan in default.

Nonetheless, Ocwen solicited a loan modification application and barreled right along to foreclosure.

Ocwen sent the homeowners a letter promising to consider a loan modification application on March 13;  the letter, received by homeowners March 18, required submission of an application by march 18.  An application was submitted March 21 and supplemented on March 22.

On March 25, Ocwen wrote that the modification was denied and conducted a foreclosure sale the same day.

The servicer attempted to import into HBOR a requirement of older California mortgage law requiring the complaining borrower to tender payment in full as a condition of getting legal relief.

No such tender requirement is found in HBOR, said the appeals court.

Such a requirement would completely eviscerate the remedial provisions of the statute.

From homeowner to homeless, meet a victim of Florida’s ongoing foreclosure crisis

For our Making Sen$e story about Florida foreclosures, we met a man named David who had to hand over the keys to his house for cash. Paul Solman catches up with him on his third day living out of his truck.

In 2007, a man we’re calling simply David bought a modest house on a quiet street in Fort Myers, Florida, for $139,000. He intended to live there with his parents and his brother. Eight years later, now 39, he, his brother, his ailing mother and two dogs live in a Ford Explorer in a truck stop parking lot unsure of where to go next.

“I had a good job. I had thousands of dollars in my bank account. I didn’t have to worry about nothin’,” David told Making Sen$e last week. “People think that ‘oh, it’s a joke,’ it’s [homelessness is] not gonna happen to ‘em. … It did happen to me. I never thought it would.”

Like millions of Americans, David took out a mortgage to buy his house. But later that year, his father died unexpectedly. The family used money from low-income jobs and the mother’s widow’s pension to pay the bills. Tragedy struck again in mid-2010 when his mother suffered a heart attack that’s left her dependent on more than a thousand dollars in prescription drugs each month and needing frequent care. David stopped working to look after her. Unable to make his house payments, he got a loan modification from mortgage-servicing company Litton in January 2011 that reduced the interest rate he paid. Several months later, he told us, a company called Green Tree took over the mortgage and started raising his payments. He drained his bank account and 401(k), sold his 2003 Monte Carlo and picked up odd jobs around the neighborhood.

Last week, Making Sen$e watched David hand over the keys to his house for a $1,500 check in a “Cash for Keys” transaction. He was told that if he returned, he’d be trespassing. His belongings curbside, the house, which is now worth a third of what he bought it for, belongs to the bank. He was told he could take the refrigerator. But it barely works, and besides, where would it fit in the Explorer?

The $1,500 is supposed to give the newly displaced a fresh start, but for David, his new start is a truck stop parking lot where the best he can hope for is some shade for his dogs and access to the bathroom. His mother slept upright in the car the first night, but David was concerned about possible swelling and blood clots, so he put her up in a motel starting the second night. At $120 a night during tourist season, though, there’s only so far $1,500 can stretch. And there’s no telling how long David and his brother will be able to park where they are. His brother has a criminal conviction for inappropriately touching a minor, and although he maintains he’s innocent and was framed by disgruntled family members, local police treat him as a sex offender.

Read on.

Cliffside Park homeowner’s lawsuit accuses mortgage cos. of using false docs in foreclosure

A Cliffside Park homeowner fighting foreclosure in state court in Hackensack has had trouble determining who owns the rights to collect on her loan and repossess her house, and late last month she took her questions to federal court, where she accused two mortgage companies and a debt collector of relying on false and illegal paperwork to press their case against her.

Patricia Mogavero filed a civil lawsuit in federal court in Newark against Michigan-based mortgage servicer Seterus Inc.; Mount Laurel law firm Phelan Hallinan Diamond and Jones; and the Federal National Mortgage Corp., the government-sponsored mortgage investor also known as Fannie Mae.

Mogavero’s main allegation is that while the defendants have been trying to collect the mortgage refinance loan made in 2006, they have misrepresented who actually owns the paper and have not complied with federal disclosure requirements. The state judiciary put a virtual halt on foreclosures by large banks in 2011 and early 2012 to allow time to root out so-called “robo-signing” and other documentation irregularities in lenders’ home repossession actions.

Read on.


Irvington residents are rallying behind a local veteran in danger of losing his home to foreclosure after a bout of post-traumatic stress disorder left him unable to work.

More than 1,500 people have signed an online petition for Clifton Beckley, and veterans and community activists came to his Maple Avenue home to pledge their support prior to a scheduled February court date.

“We’re going to fight,” Beckley said of the foreclosure order sought by HSBC bank. “I’m not going to walk away from this neighborhood like so many have done in the past few years.”

But it is unclear whether the effort will succeed. Unlike most of the nation, the number of new foreclosure cases is increasing in New Jersey, climbing back toward the record levels of the Great Recession.

Read on.

Young couple charged with fraud in filing deed for $1.1 million house

A young couple in Florida has been charged with fraud for filing a forged quit deed for a $1.1 million home, where they were squatting.

The bank only discovered this after the bank lawfully sold the foreclosed property to another couple.

And, of course, before getting caught the couple bragged about it on Facebook.

From the Florida Times-Union:

Jenna Dean’s friends were shocked when the 23-year-old wife and mother posted photos of herself and her family at their new $1,395,000, 7,000-square-feet home with the two-story Corinthian columns on 240 acres in Keystone Heights.

“It’s amazing … way better than you made it sound!” one said. “I’m totally jealous!”

Most people would be with six bedrooms, double two-car garages, spiral staircases and a swimming pool.

“How do you guys find such amazing places?” another friend asked.

“Takes years of looking and harassing banks about their foreclosures,” Dean responded. “I should start my own business.”

The Deans twice changed the locks and photos of the family in the home’s swimming pool were posted to Jenna Dean’s Facebook page.

However, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, what it took was forgery and deceit.

Dean and her husband, Justin Kyle Dean, turned themselves in to Clay County deputies Dec. 8 on charges of unlawful filing, uttering a forged instrument and grand theft.