Who “Owns” That Foreclosed Home? Apparently No One Knows…But We Had All Better Start Caringin HPN Blog
Picture a monotonously stormy and foggy day. The rain is pouring..not just down, but sideways and upside down and swirling. It’s so dark, you can’t see six feet in front of you. And right in the middle of this, you’re barreling down the interstate at 100 mph. The water across the highway is so deep that you’re just hydroplaning and twisting and flying straight off the road. And more and more people just keep getting on that interstate, going faster and faster. After hours and hours of this the entire roadway is a scene of carnage and destruction. Bodies and mangled cars lying everywhere. And still the cars just keep on coming. Faster, harder, more of them.
Law enforcement and highway patrol are totally aware of the carnage on the road, but they do absolutely nothing. Worse, they stand there flagging more and more cars onto the interstate…”KEEP ‘EM MOVING!” , “GET IN THERE!” , “GO FASTER!” They shout.
Now, instead of cars on the interstate, understand that this is what’s happening with homes in foreclosure. The banks haven’t even begun to clean up the existing wreckage, but they’re throwing more carnage into the pipelines just as fast as they can spit foreclosure lawsuits out of their computers.
And the best part about all this societal carnage is the victims, the American taxpayer, are paying for all this.
Welcome to Amerika 2012!
Two articles appeared in newspapers caught my attention. Fist, the Tampa Times reports a dramatic increase in new foreclosure filings. Next, the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports on the fact that there are tens of thousands of vacant and abandoned homes and local code enforcement agencies cannot figure out who owns them or who should be taking care of them.
Hmmm, let’s put the two stories together and see what we’ve got. First thing is we know we got hundreds of thousand of foreclosures pending in Florida with hundreds of thousands of new cases set to be filed for the foreseeable future. Now down here at the ground level, in the trenches, we’ve been screaming for years now that banks should not be able to proceed with foreclosure cases unless they prove up who owns the mortgage, clearly identify the company that is foreclosing and specify the rights under which they are foreclosing. The form pleading that is still theoretically at least approved by the Florida Supreme Court requires a plaintiff to assert that it “owns and holds” the note and mortgage that they are foreclosing.
I say theoretically because no one seems at all interested in enforcing laws or rules anymore. I’ve gone on and on for years now, whining about plaintiffs not complying with the verified complaint rule and not pleading capacity and not showing any evidence at all of ownership or authority. In fact, for years we’ve all been pounded into dust making these arguments. Told they don’t matter or worse being accused of filing frivolous pleadings and engaging in improper litigation….because we dare to try and invoke the laws and rules that are supposed to govern a lawful and orderly society.
I became far more pragmatic years ago when I started screaming, “Judge, who are you giving that home away to?” Many courts are starting to get that these questions really matter….and many more will in the years to come as our nation devolves into a chaotic mess of anarchy caused in part by unchecked, rampant and systemic lawlessness. I mean seriously, if we cannot figure out precisely, exactly, undeniably who owns hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets and the real property that is quite literally the foundation of this nation, then exactly what kind of future does this nation really have?
There are millions of vacant and abandoned homes across this country, with many millions more hitting the foreclosure pipeline in years to come. If I were a judge I wouldn’t grant a single other foreclosure until I was darn certain precisely, exactly, undeniably who or what was going to take title and take responsibility for that home. And because foreclosure is a court of equity, I would be doing that in every single case that came across my bench, defended or not.
It’s just absolute madness to continue with this insanity of throwing citizens and families out into the street and continuing to reward the financial criminals that have thrown our nation into chaos and tyranny. At some point in time, it’s just got to stop. It starts with unraveling riddles like this one…
A single mortgage may involve several banks or companies — one that made the loan; another that “services” the loan by collecting payments; and another that funnels payments to yet another bank, or “trustee,” that disburses proceeds from mortgage payments to investors of loans bundled together as mortgage-backed securities.
Add to that the recent wave of bank closures and mergers, and you’ve often got a jumble of corporate entities.
Towns have struggled to unravel this chain of relationships to force the banks to act.
“It’s a legal nightmare to figure out who is responsible,” said Raquel Diaz, code compliance manager for Lake Worth.
For example, a house may be titled to “Deutsche Bank c/o Saxon Mortgage Services Company.” Deutsche Bank is a German firm that acts as a “trustee.”