Just because a bank forecloses on your hour doesn’t mean that you’re completely out of the woods. Several former homeowners have been attacked by “zombie foreclosures.”
According to CNN Money, many people in the United States are currently in some sort of foreclosure limbo. They’ve been forced to move out of their home, but when a bank doesn’t hold an auction or can’t transfer the title of the home, they still technically own the home. That means that they could be responsible for property taxes and other fees despite the fact that they no longer live at their home.
The exact number of zombie foreclosures aren’t known but CNN reports that almost 2 million people have started the foreclosure process since 2005. RealtyTrac predicts that tens of thousands of those people are being attacked by zombie foreclosures.
Rose Nathan, a 37-year-old who lost her home in Indiana in 2009, said:
“The most frustrating part is that I can’t move on … On Christmas Eve, the bank called and told me a sheriff’s sale was coming and I had to move out right away,” she said. “So that’s what I did — seven days after New Year’s.”
Nathan sold most of her belongings in order to move out of her house. But now, nearly two years later, she has started to receive property tax bills since the bank never took possession of the house.
So how do you fight back against zombie foreclosures? Allan S. Glass, president of ASG Real Estate, told Forbes that many people get into trouble by leaving their homes prematurely. Glass said that you shouldn’t make assumptions about their foreclosure status.
“Many homeowners leave their homes during the foreclosure process assuming they are doing the honorable and morally right thing … The unfortunate risks they assume are that someone takes possession of their home, damages the home causing additional loss, or that the house lingers in disrepair until it becomes a nuisance to their neighbors and city. All of these things could lead to a greater loss financially for the homeowner, or worse yet potential legal liability.”