Still Waitingin HPN Blog
I have news – big news – well, maybe not so big, since I already proclaimed this before. I’m moving. I am packing in earnest now. Packing up the whole house. Preparing to relocate. Walking away.
Okay, not walking away from the lawsuits, but walking away from the house.
Why? Why would anyone fighting for their home choose to walk away from it? Because the appellate court refused to rule on establishing what a reasonable rental rate should be, I would have to pay $2,000 a month in rent. Again, this is $600 more than I was paying on my mortgage, which was $70,000 higher than what the house is currently worth. I just don’t see why I should have to pay more on a house that has a significantly lower value. (Yes, I am aware that I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but this is truly mind-boggling to me!)
“But you haven’t had to pay rent or a mortgage in 3 years.” Yes, this is true, but I have had to pay attorney’s fees, which are the equivalent of what I would have spent over that period of time anyways, if not more. Paying rent and attorney’s fees is like paying double rent. And I don’t get a tax write-off, unlike if I’d been paying on a mortgage.
I realize that the rental market has skipped along in the past few months, outpacing home sales, which is why rentals are becoming so expensive. People aren’t buying homes, are probably wearing out their welcome with the relatives they have been bunking with, and are unable to purchase a home either due to a previous foreclosure or increased difficulty in getting credit. The job market seems to finally be starting to stabilize (though this author remains without permanent work). So, as more and more people return to renting, the number of places available to rent are decreasing. It’s the basic economics of supply and demand – as demand increases and the supply decreases, prices must go up. It is part of why the mortgage company set their rate so high, despite the amounts they swore “under oath” on the eviction filings. They are claiming that I must pay the “going market rate” to rent my own home.
This kind of goes back to that “new” program Bank of America is rolling out in a few select states. (It’s not new, but a revival of a program implemented after the Great Depression.) To refresh your memory, they are offering homeowners in danger of foreclosure the opportunity to turn over their deeds, then rent back the house at “lower than market” rates. How nice, did you say? Well, what if “lower than market” rate is actually higher than their mortgage payment? If they couldn’t afford their mortgage payment, they certainly won’t be able to afford the rent, placing them in danger of eviction anyways. Don’t you just love it when things come full circle?
Before I received the news about the appellate court’s decision, I spent a lot of time thinking about what would happen if I had to pay rent higher than my previous mortgage payment. What would I do? What should I do?
You can rack your brain for hours, but I have to say, there are times you just have to listen to your gut. The thing screams louder and louder when you’re thinking about stuff that just doesn’t jive, will cause you stress in the long run, or just is the wrong decision. Eventually, you either listen to it, or wind up feeding it some pink goop to get it to shut up.
My gut told me not to pay rent.
Also, the question rankles around the corners of my mind “Why would I want to give more money to the company that screwed me over?” Now, in court-ordered rent situations, the funds do go into an escrow account and are held by the courts. But if you lose, all those monies get turned over to them. Given the partisan attitudes I’ve observed from my local judges, I don’t want to make that gamble.
So, I asked my attorney how moving would affect my cases. He said it wouldn’t affect them at all – I can even still pursue my fight on the eviction case. It may even be in my favor, because being forced to move and quit the property in the middle of the fight piles on more damages, perhaps prompting the mortgage company to move towards a settlement offer.
It changes the nature of the game. Rather than fighting for my home, I am now fighting to get justice for the illegal activities of my lender.
I won’t actually leave the house until the day the sheriff comes knocking at my door. Which could be any day now. I don’t know if the mortgage company has to wait x number of days past the due date to request the court to evict me. I’m sure I’ll find that out soon. Once the sheriff serves me with an eviction notice, I only have 5 days to get out, which is why I’m packing up everything now. How funny that things have come full circle from my first blog post "Waiting for the Sheriff"! I’m back to waiting again.
It feels really good to have made a decision and taken action on it. Knowing that I don’t have to spend much more time hunkered down in this little bunker, stuck in my energy, puts a big smile on my face.
I have no idea how much longer these court cases are going to drag out. I do know that I’ve had so much difficulty finding long-term work locally - not just these past few years, but in other times I’ve lived here - it’s like a big cosmic sign that I’m not supposed to be here. I live near where I grew up, and I moved back after college, then again after grad school. Now that my parents have passed on, my relatives are scattered across the country, and all of the friends I grew up with have moved away, there’s really not much for me here anymore.
With this freedom from my house, I can earnestly go after those jobs in other areas where I’m more likely to get hired into the kind of work I want to do. Whereas it’s scary to completely uproot myself from my hometown, it’s exciting, too, because I know that I can make a home anywhere I choose.
What do you think? Would you do things differently, or have you been faced with this dilemma yourself?
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