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EDITOR’S COMMENT: every once in a while we see a spark of American ingenuity. Sparked by the housing needs of a soaring group of people who are homeless even if they are employed, the end result is a challenge, on more personal terms, as to who actually owns that home.

This group sees it as a relatively simple problem to solve. On the one hand you have millions of empty homes that are not being maintained, and on the other hand you have millions of people who can afford to maintain the homes, pay the taxes, and repopulate neighborhoods — and that is exactly what is happening. Some are called squatters while others consider themselves civil rights activists.

The cities that collect the taxes, the insurance companies that collect the premiums, and the utilities that collect their monthly charges have every reason to make it easy for people to start their accounts at an address that was vacated long ago by a homeowner who didn’t realize that legally they probably didn’t need to leave.That homeowner is probably legally still the owner and has considerable equity in the property if he/she wants to fight for it.

In the meanwhile, moving homeless people out of the elements and into a house removes the threat of violence and unrest for an already troubled society while at the same time providing some dignity to people, many of whom were homeowners before this debacle — and as already stated might still be homeowners and don’t know it.

The only reason to prevent them from entering on property that doesn’t belong to them is that they don’t have a lease agreement. The problem for BOA and others is that in order to dispossess these tenants they must file an eviction suit and allege that they are the owner. That is a potential problem if you are not the owner.

The management of the huge number of homes that have been the subject of foreclosure proceedings exceeds the ability of the megabanks who claim ownership but can’t prove ownership. The negligence in management and reluctance to pay condo and HOA dues is causing problems for homeowner associations and taxing authorities, as well as zoning and compliance boards in dealing with grass 3 feet high and doors falling off hinges.

Maybe somebody should have told BOA that home-ownership is not all is cracked up to be.

Then you have cases like this one:

When Virginia Henry bought her boarded-up and abandoned Rochester, N.Y., home in December 2007, she saw potential where others were blind to it. The house, a short sale, became her home to live in and care for, she said. She plopped down her $20,000 and filed her paperwork for a loan program that would pay the balance — $43,000 — to rehabilitate the property.

But what followed was a series of unanswered calls and letters to Bank of America, Henry says, eventually culminating in her arrest Friday for a charge of trespassing on her own front lawn. The arrest, like much of this story, is the source of a dispute. Henry asserts police officers shoved her to the ground during the arrest, police claim she fainted from the intense heat. She has a court date for the trespassing charge July 28.

The facts of the short sale are also at issue. The bank has told Henry that the short sale never closed and that the house at 5 Appleton St. — with all her worldly possessions trapped inside — is no longer hers. A Bank of America spokeswoman, Jumana Bauwens, said she would investigate the claims.

“This is my home,” Henry told AOL Real Estate in a phone interview after the arrest. “How can I be trespassing in my own home?”

16 Responses

  1. Martha…
    I tried to read your complaint and it has been removed……

  2. sorry, I decided to add something-take away something. Leave the element of surprise for them on the hearing on Weds.

  3. martha – scribd says you complaint has been deleted

  4. My case is one of the most complicated I, or any of you will ever have ever seen. This is NOT a foreclosure case. It’s a criminal theft case.

    I flat out told them I would not request a TRO. My name was forged.

    I did not get a lawyer prior to this, as I knew I would not find the truth.
    I knew my SAC was poorly pled, but had to resist the request to amend it. Up until now.

    Because I knew that I did not have the truth, and that’s what I wanted to plead. Now, today I know the truth, and I will slam them with this monday, or if YOU are reading, you’ll get the overnighter Friday morning.

    I never thought I would win. I lost my sanity over this. I lost no matter what.
    Now, though I think I will be able to find an attorney…
    Fearless Dragon Slayer Wanted!


  5. Tn, sometimes I wonder about you. What makes you think only the state can violate the Civil rights of someone? If BOA seizes a home, that someone else owns, then that persons civil rights have been violated.
    A “seizure” of property occurs when “there is some meaningful interference with an individual’s possessory interests in that property.” United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). See also United States v. McIver, 186 F.3d 1119, 1127 (9th Cir.1999), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1177 (2000) (quoting United States v. Karo, 468 U.S. 705, 712-13 (1984).

    Am I not correct that another person, or entity can violate my Civil rights? Does it have to be ONLY Uncle Sam to be a violation?
    I could be wrong, so if I am let me know.


  6. martha – you’re not reading all the words in the sentences again….where’s the state action that would allow either 4th amendment or the 14th amendment for that matter to apply?

  7. Oh, god… here it comes…

    WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 2011

    NH Bar, regulatory agencies and Hillsborough County Court start dodging the KingCast/Mortgage Movies foreclosure ethics complaint.

  8. tn. the fourth amendment protects us from unlawful seizure, sounds civil rights to me.

  9. carie – how exactly is it a civil rights issue?

  10. Exactly, Mario…it has become a human rights issue, in addition to a civil rights issue…

  11. I personally view this as a sort of necessary balance of a shifting in massive wealth, in order for the economy to become healthy again the wealth has to flow in all directions and the people mush have homes, this is the best way to get the economy back and going, the banks have taken too many titles, the economy can never work like that.

    I have always supported squatting and I know the very word makes people cringe at the sound of the word, but since the judicial and governmental branch has failed to address the issue the people have a natural right to follow the economic turns and shifts and with so many empty homes and so many homeless people, what do you expect?.

  12. Some banks will fight this and some won’t. After enough of them, the banks will not fight it. They do not have the resources to fight it. We just think they do. The banks are on the verge of collapse/bankruptcy now. They need these houses to put on their phoney accounting books. They have invisible assets, because there are no assets. They need to be allowed to fail, and the economy will get better fast.

  13. i’m not following this story – i appreciate how the homeless would like a place to live, but how will they pay the taxes, utilities, insurance, HOA fees, and general upkeep on the properties? it’s an elegant solution to two problems, but aren’t these people going to be pretty upset after paying taxes, insurance, utlities, etc when they are evicted from the homes? and without lease agreements, their right to occupy is tenuous at best.

    i clicked through to the actual story and was taken by the following quote : “The fundamental purpose of housing should be to house humans. Right now, housing is a corporate profit center.” there is no fundamental right to home ownership, period. and housing IS a corporate profit center. unfortunately what starts as a real community movement with a philanthropic goal turns into socialism with two sentences…

  14. You mean I was right again, we are all squatters now? oh my gosh.

  15. I’m all for making the banks fight on EVERY front as they have not been operating in good faith … would it be wise to openly occupy a home , openly claim adverse possession and immediately file a lis pends challenging the supposed owner to prove ownership? Here in FL the prior judgement would likely be taken at face value and you’d lose rather than even get a hearing… That was basically what I was alluding to in an earlier reply on another post ,, I’d love to do something similar on some properties in my neighborhood…

  16. How can I do that sort of thing here in colorado.

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