They locked me out of my house without notice. I am not in foreclosure.
I am late on my house payment, but not in foreclosure. I moved out of my house in July 2014 and notified my bank that I was moving due to a job change (a permitted reason to move and not occupy the home under FHA loan regulations). In June 2015, I received a letter stating that they just learned that my home was vacant and that I needed to call them within 10 days or they would take steps to ensure security of the home. I called immediately and worked it out with a representative to South Pacific's satisfaction at that time. I traveled to the house on September 4, 2015 and stayed in the home until September 8, 2015. I have a friend who regularly checks on the house and who is considering purchasing the house who went to check on it today and the locks had been changed on my house and a realtor box placed on the door. I did not receive any kind of notice that the house was going to be locked up, or I would have told them that I was using the house when I traveled to *** to visit my mother. I called today to let them know that I cannot get into my own home and they said too bad. They informed me that I could not remove the lock to get into MY HOUSE. I am not in foreclosure. I have not received any notice that the house would be locked and I would be locked out and not provided any access. This is a violation of the law and of my rights. I am an attorney. I understand the law and my contract and this chain of events is a breach on the part of south pacific financial. They have an obligation to inform me and cannot lock me out of my own home. They also stated this was partially because the utilities were turned off. The utilities are off because I am having the house completely rewired and new electrical installed.
I am ready to ***.
I demand appropriate compensation for every single day that I am locked out of my own home in violation of our home mortgage agreement. Furthermore, I demand punitive damages for a violation of the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
We take all complaints very seriously and after researching thoroughly have determined that the steps our Servicing Department took to secure the property were both legal and appropriate given the circumstances. Pursuant to federal regulations 24 CFR § 203.377 through § 203.381 and 24 CFR § 234.270 the lender is required to promptly secure and continue to protect all vacant properties. Ms. ******* was provided with two separate notices of our intention to secure the property, one in June 2015 and another in August 2015. Upon receipt of the notice provided in June, Ms. ******* promptly called our Servicing Department which confirmed for us that she had not abandoned the property at that time and no further action was required. However, she never responded to the notice sent in August. As a result, a property inspection was ordered which revealed that the property is in a severe state of disrepair and the utilities have been shut off.
The inspection report states the following: Mortgagor Neglect: This property is severely damaged missing flooring, damaged cabinets, damaged appliances, holes in sheetrock, damaged ceiling, smoke damage from fire, graffiti throughout the house, pet/human stains on carpets/ walls such as feces and urine damaged appliances, broken windows/ doors, garage overhead door, missing copper, broken plumbing, missing electrical wires, damage electrical meter, infested with roaches/other bugs. The extent of the damage cannot be completely addressed due to the excessive debris in the house once debris is removed rep can access the damages , damaged windows, damaged siding. Unfinished Renovation: missing dry wall, electrical. 2000 square ft needs installed, missing interior doors, Rep will have to install electric wires then install drywall then paint walls and install the doors.
Additionally on August 31, 2015, Ms. *******'s loan went from delinquent status to default status. Given the vacancy, lack of utilities and condition of the property as well as the status of the loan and lack of response to the notification, our Servicing Department reasonably concluded that the property had been abandoned and took action as required by federal law to secure the property from further damage. It was never our intent to deny her access to the property. Ms. ******* contacted our Servicing Department shortly before 5 pm CT on September 10, 2015 regarding access to the property. Because it was so late in the day we were unable to arrange for access at that time and requested that she contact us during business hours the following day. She did so and was promptly given access to the property on September 11, 2015.
We understand that Ms. ******* is currently experiencing financial difficulties which can be very stressful. We have made multiple offers to explore loss mitigation alternatives with her since January 2015, but she has repeatedly stated that she doesn't need assistance. We would encourage her to complete the necessary paperwork so that we may assist her in exploring her alternatives. We have contacted her to arrange for a call to address her concerns directly and are awaiting a response from her at this time.
Update: On September 24, 2015 we were able to reach Ms. ******* directly to interview her about her complaint. At that time we confirmed with her that Property Preservation notice was provided to her via certified mail on August 19, 2015. She acknowledged that she understood why the steps were taken to secure the property and confirmed that she has had full access to the property since September 11, 2015. She further confirmed the property is not habitable in its current condition but that she is actively working on the property. We again recommended that she apply for Loss Mitigation and she agreed that she would submit the application. She indicated that she was satisfied with the outcome of the call and we consider the matter closed.
We hope this addresses your concerns and would be happy to provide any additional information you may require.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
The company states that my mortgage went into default on Aug. 31, I called and made a payment by phone August 31. The company states that they took steps necessary to protect and preserve the property the house was locked up tight. They had to drill through a lock on the door to gain access - a sure sign that they did not have to protect anything. The CFR may state that they mortgage company has to take reasonable steps to secure a property - but in this case I argue their steps were not "reasonable." The company says they mailed me, via certified mail, a second notice, I did not receive a second notice. They stated someone signed for it but could not identify who. In fact, any documents which were mailed me in August were all repeats of prior documents and several had been forwarded from the Nevada mailing address. The company says they do not know why they were sending my mail to the Nevada mailing address even though they had my Montana mailing address for nearly a year. The company says there is mortgagee neglect of the premises. This is a significant misstatement. The house is in the middle of a remodel. The cabinet doors are removed, not damaged, they were in the process of being painted. None of the appliances are damaged. There is no graffiti or feces in the home. The flooring in the kitchen was sagging when we purchased the house and was properly repaired. The repair required the removal of the linoleum. The company stated they felt that because of the missing fixtures and flooring, they were sure the house had been abandoned. But, of course, they entirely failed to mention the 1200 sq feet of laminate flooring and padding which are in the basement awaiting installation. Nor did they mention the extra wiring and outlets and fixtures awaiting installation. Nor did they mention the new faucet and glass for the cabinets waiting for installation. Nor did they mention the 8 uninstalled new windows for the house which were waiting for installation. Nor did they mention the antifreeze in the toilets, or the fact that the water heater was completely drained. Nor did they mention the plastic covering which covered the windows. Nor did they recognize the 8 uninstalled sheets of drywall in the house, nor did they mention the fact that the fridge was propped open to preserve it. They are picking and choosing which evidence they would like to recognize in order to justify their decision to call the house abandoned. I stayed in the home and attached the photos I took when I was there from Sept. 4-8 to my response to their response to my CFPB complaint. Apparently, the lock was drilled through and a new lock was installed on the side door while I was staying in the house.
I did have a conversation by phone with the company - which was recorded. I specifically stated through that conversation that I did not know whether my concerns were satisfied and their representation that I stated I was satisfied is false. In fact, on the recording, I made a specific statement that I had not decided whether I was going to *** or not. Near the end of the call, the company stated, we feel confident that we could defend a lawsuit. This certainly does not imply any kind of satisfaction on my part. Furthermore, the company stated that they wished that their representatives had explained loss mitigation more thoroughly to me because of my response when asked about loss mitigation. The company is again, blatantly misrepresenting what it said to me and leaving out parts which are disfavorable to it.
I maintain that while the company might have "reasonably" believed the house was abandoned, they did not act "reasonably" by drilling through a locked door and changing the locks. Their only purpose to get inside and so the company could have a key. Furthermore, it is my opinion they were trying to bully me into making a payment which i promised to make in the month of September during my August 31 call with their representative. Why else would they have drilled through the locks and accessed a well secured house?
Final Business Response
I am disappointed to hear that we have not resolved this matter to her satisfaction. During our call, which lasted more than an hour, I explained in detail all of the steps taken and the reasons why those steps were both appropriate and legally mandated. I encouraged her to complete and submit the loss mitigation application which she confirmed she had received but not yet completed. In conclusion, I said that unless she has something else she would like us to address, we would consider the matter resolved. She offered no additional concerns or comments, other than to say that she would like an opportunity to research the regulations. I encouraged her to do so and even shared the statute references with her. We concluded the call with her saying that she believes and appreciates that we truly want to be of assistance. I gave her my cell phone number and encouraged her to call me directly should she have any further issues or concerns. I have not heard from her since then so I assumed the matter was resolved satisfactorily until I received your communication.
The facts are, as the Lender, we are required by law to secure, preserve and protect abandoned properties. The property met the criteria for an abandoned property per Nevada statutes. As she acknowledges we reasonably believed the property to be abandoned based on the information available. The property is not habitable - the utilities have been off for a year and it has been gutted. Despite this, she says she was staying in the property on the day it was secured and for two days after that without issue. She admitted to me that she lied when she told our Customer Service Representative that she was locked out with nowhere to stay on September 10th - she was actually in Montana that day. In reality she was never locked out at all - only one of the locks was changed to allow access to preserve the property. The rest were left intact. The notice dated August 19, 2015 was sent to her home address of record in Montana via Certified Mail and is attached. On September 10th she stated that she had "just picked up the certified letters". Since that was almost a month after the notice was sent, it appears she wasn't aware of the notice previously because she hadn't read it. Her call on September 10th was at the end of the business day and the issue was resolved in less than 24 hours from the time she contacted Customer Service. Her claim that the property was secured to "get inside so we could have a key" or to "bully her into making a payment" is without merit - we were solely attempting to fulfill our legal and regulatory responsibilities.
There was not, nor has there been, any attempt by our company to misrepresent anything. Given these facts we find her demands for "compensation for every single day she is locked out" and "punitive damages for a violation of the Nevada Deceptive Trades Act" to be meritless and respectfully decline her request. We appreciate the opportunity to respond but this will be our last response on the matter through this forum.
Update: I do not see a way to attach the copy of the notice that was referenced as an attachment in our above response. If you would like a copy please advise on how to do that. Thank you so much.