Do you own the contents of a foreclosure? - Posted by Realmaven

Posted by John V, FL on September 11, 2003 at 10:55:40:

Well said JT. Here in Florida you get a certificate of sale and then have to wait at least 10 days to get a certificate of title recorded giving you an actual deed. Only after the certificate of title is issued can you even enter the property and only then if it is vacant or has been abandoned (utilities off ect). If someone is in possession you need a writ of possession along with the shreriff and a locksmith before you can evem think of entering and taking possession. Then you must remove any personal property that day and place it on the curb unless you have an agreement with the person in possession to let them go back in (under supervision of course) at a future time to take their belongings. The original poster IMHO jumped the gun and needs serious legal assistance.

Do you own the contents of a foreclosure? - Posted by Realmaven

Posted by Realmaven on September 10, 2003 at 09:34:57:


In New York, I bought a foreclosure high-ranch house at sheriff’s sale. The day after closing, I cleared out half the contents of the house and “liquidated” the articles.

The ex-owner shows up a week later saying I “burglarized” the house? He says he lives there.

Opinions on this and what I can do? Was I wrong to prepare MY house for habitation?



Unfortunately, the ex-owner is correct… - Posted by B.L.Renfrow

Posted by B.L.Renfrow on September 10, 2003 at 21:37:58:

…and you will be lucky if you aren’t arrested and charged, should the former owner want to pursue it. You might as well figure on writing a big check to the former owner for his possessions which you stole and hope he will take the money and forget about it.

Upon taking title, you need to go through the usual eviction process. Depending on where the property is located and how busy the courts are, it may take a few days or a few weeks to get a court date. Once you obtain the eviction order from the judge, it will need to be served by the sheriff. Figure on a few more weeks for that to happen. Once the occupant is served, he will have 72 hours to vacate. If he doesn’t, then you make arrangements with the sheriff’s office for a deputy to accompany you (and your moving crew) to the property, remove the owner and stand by while you change the locks and remove the contents.

I forget off the top of my head what the requirement is for storing the former occupant’s goods and furnishings, but I don’t think you can go straight to the landfill with them.

You definitely need legal counsel, and maybe a criminal lawyer, if you are charged. It may not seem fair, but it’s the law and you’d best know it and follow it before moving forward.

Brian (NY)

Re: YOU jumped the gun (nt) - Posted by Ed Copp (OH)

Posted by Ed Copp (OH) on September 10, 2003 at 20:38:21:

Re: Do you own the contents of a foreclosure? - Posted by Jasonrei

Posted by Jasonrei on September 10, 2003 at 12:46:52:

I used to buy at foreclosure auctions in Texas. I know the real property belongs to the buyer once the trustees deed is recorded. Only one house I bought had “valuable” personal property left behind. I moved all that stuff to a storage unit. I was prepared to let the previous owner have the stuff if they just reimbursed me for storage. Turns out the previous owner was a ward of the county and the trustee should have followed certain steps before recording the deed. I transferred title to another entity in hopes of clouding the title and forcing the sale. A couple of months later a judge validated the real property sale and gave me the personal property.

I would tread lightly if I were you. Get an attorney ASAP.

“Oh attorneyperson, I need your help” - Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA)

Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA) on September 10, 2003 at 12:21:58:


I haven’t yet got my diploma-mill law degree for NY. Any day now. So, I cannot offer you legal advice. I would be willing to charge you what an attorney does if that would make you feel better.

But I think you need to talk immediately with an attorney that does only real estate matters. Try to find some attorney that is familiar with the foreclosure laws already. You don’t want to have to pay for somebody’s education on the topic.

Good InvestingRon Starr*

No… do not own… Negotiate - Posted by JT-IN

Posted by JT-IN on September 10, 2003 at 10:05:34:


When you say you “bought a foreclosure”… what exactly are you referring to here…? Had the sale confirmed…? Also, was this a “judicial foreclosure”…?

I’m no expert on N.Y. foreclosure law, but this is the proceedure that I read:

“Within thirty days after the completing the sale and executing the deed to the purchaser, the officer must file a report of sale, which must include the receipt from the lender, with the clerk of the court. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the sale can’t be confirmed until three months past the filing of the report of sale.”

My guess here is that you do not actually get occupancy until the sale is confirmed. So where were you in the overall time line of the foreclosure process…? How long after the sale, and had it been confirmed…?

If you violated the former owners possessions and occupancy rights, they would have a strong case against you from a civil standpoint, as well as the Sheriff prosecuting you criminally for tresspassing and theft. Hope this is not the path you are on, but if so, you may want to negotiate heavily with the former owner to eliminate this from spinning out of control.

Just the way that I view things…


Good case for an example to be made - Posted by JT-IN

Posted by JT-IN on September 10, 2003 at 23:09:43:

by the Prosecutor… Depending upon whether they have been having much trouble witht this sort of thing in your county… If so, once in a while the Prosecutor will want to just make an example out of someone to eliminate future problems with other investors… Hope this is not the case, but I have seen it…

Once again, a matter of a new foreclosure investor… probably one who would take offense at Ron Starr’s advice for novices not to get involved in buying at the auctions… due to risk. Well, maybe that is not a fair assessment, but it is certainly just one of the risks of buying at sheriff sale. Who would think that you could get yourself in legal or criminal trouble, just trying to buy a piece of property…?

Hope it turns out for them…