At What Point in the Foreclosure Process Can the Mortgage Lender Enter Your Home?
To you, your house is home, the place where you have cooked holiday meals and where your children have lived since they came home from the hospital as newborns. To the bank that issued your mortgage loan, though, your house is collateral. The real asset is the money they get from you when you pay your mortgage; the house is just a consolation prize that they can claim if you don’t pay. The foreclosure process is a months-long ordeal. With every notice that you receive, you feel the day coming closer when the house no longer belongs to you, and the lender can come in and kick you out. The good news is that the lender cannot enter your house or evict you from it until the foreclosure process, sheriff’s sale and all, is finished, and you can halt the process at any point, right down to the last possible moment. If you are facing the possibility of foreclosure, contact a Philadelphia mortgage foreclosure lawyer.
Is It Ever Acceptable for the Mortgage Lender to Enter Your House Before the Foreclosure Process Is Complete?
The short answer is that, as long as you are still occupying the house, the mortgage lender does not have the right to enter your house without your permission until after the sheriff’s sale or foreclosure sale. The lender does, however, have the right to enter the house sooner than that if the borrower (the homeowner) abandons it. Some people vacate their houses when they realize that it is impossible for them to come up with enough money to avoid foreclosure. In this case, the lender has the right to secure its collateral.
Abandoned houses can quickly fall into disrepair, and its resale value can decrease. If the homeowner left food in the house, perishable food can rot, and non-perishable food attracts insects and mice. When people realize that the house is vacant, squatters can take up residence there. If the house is still connected to water, electricity, or natural gas, these can also cause damage. Therefore, the mortgage lender has the right to enter an abandoned house for which the borrower has fallen behind on mortgage payments. The lender can remove food or other items that could damage the house, such as flammable cleaning chemicals. It can also remove any animals left in the house. It can turn off the utilities, known as winterizing the house. The trouble comes when borrowers and lenders disagree about whether a house has been abandoned. Several years ago, a lawsuit by Alexandra and Anthony Hlista of Bethel Park made news. They were only a few months behind on their mortgage, and they were out of town for a few months, but the mortgage company changed their locks and bolted the windows shut. The plaintiffs did not find out until they returned home. The house was not in disrepair; Alexandra’s father had been mowing the house’s lawn regularly.
Let Us Help You Today
A Philadelphia mortgage foreclosure attorney can help you avert the foreclosure process if you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments. Contact Louis S. Schwartz at CONSUMERLAWPA.com to set up a free, confidential consultation.