If my home is in foreclosure, can the lender lock me out of my home?
The answer to that question is: No. Once they file the mortgage foreclosure action, they have to conclude it and get what they call a “certificate of title” showing that they’re the owner before they’re entitled to possession. Even after getting the certificate of title, they must apply to the court for what they call a “writ of possession” before they are entitled to have you removed from the property and take possession of the property.
If the property is abandoned – meaning that there’s no one living there – the lender does have a right under most mortgages to secure the property. And they hire contractors to go out and change the locks and to maintain the property, cut the grass and basically make the property look like it’s not abandoned.
We’ve seen any number of abuses and very aggressive contractors going out and changing locks even though someone may be maintaining the property. However, if you’re living there, I can assure you that they will not come on the property to change the lock. Or if they do, simply call the police, 911, and have them arrested for breaking and entering if they attempt to change the locks on your house.
If you go away on vacation and come back and see they’ve changed the locks, all you have to do is break in and take their locks off because it’s still your property. So you’re not divested of that property until such time as the mortgage foreclosure has been completed. They get a certificate of title and then they have the occupant – whether it be a tenant or you if you’re living there – obtain a writ of possession. If you have tenants there, the tenants have the right to remain in the property for the balance of their term under a federal law that allows tenants to remain in possession even after the mortgage foreclosure.
If you have any questions about your mortgage foreclosure or would like representation, give me a call at (727) 847-2288.