When you're a pizza delivery person, getting the wrong house might be a little embarrassing, though not a big deal. But when you're in the business of repossessing foreclosed properties, it's pretty important you get the right house.
When Mel and Harriet left their home in New York to go to their Home in Florida for the winter, they were surprised to find that their locks had been changed and items were missing from their home. Their first thought was that they had been robbed and in a sense they had. It's an alarming trend that some are calling “legalized” robbery though there's really nothing legal about it. Mel and Harriet were actually the victims of a foreclosure mix up.
When Mel and Harriett finally realized that they hadn't been robbed but foreclosed on, they were understandably confused. They had paid off the property years earlier and couldn't understand how the bank could take their home. Upon further investigation, the couple realized that the bank had actually foreclosed on a property nearby and there was a mix up with the address.
Whether it was the bank or the company they hired to take possession of the property that made the mistake no one was certain. But somehow Safeguard Properties ended up changing the locks, shutting off the utilities, and taking some of the possessions that belonged to Mel and Harriett.
How did this happen?
If this had been an isolated incident it could have been overlooked, but this wasn't the first time a property was mistakenly foreclosed on. In fact, homeowners in 31 states and Illinois' attorney general are suing Safeguard Properties for unlawful break-ins. One potential reason for the problem is that Safeguard Properties regularly hires subcontractors to do the actual dirty work of possessing the property.
Currently, Mel and Harriett are working with Safeguard Properties to resolve the matter without a lawsuit. Their home is still musty from being without power for 6 weeks and they are very embarrassed to have their home foreclosed on because they have always paid their bills on time. They want their neighbors to know that they have done nothing wrong.
Cases like this one are forcing banks and property management companies like Safeguard Properties to look at the processes they follow in taking possession of homes to make sure mistakes like this one aren't made in the future.
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