UPDATE - Bank Says I Don’t Own House - Posted by Elizabeth NJ
Posted by Elizabeth NJ on May 09, 2006 at 12:16:30:
GREAT NEWS – I WON!!!
I promised that I would update the status so here it is:
You may recall that about a month ago I posted here that I had purchased a nice 2 family house in March 2006, after running full title, etc. I recorded my deed, registered the bldg with the City as required and took every other action legally required to establish ownership. We gave the upstairs tenant a new lease and began working on the first floor apt. so we can rent it out.
I bought the property sub2, so my atty wrote to the bank’s attys & requested a payoff statement for the outstanding mortgage. A secretary at the firm called my atty & said the bank had foreclosed on the property and that I do not own the property and that my seller, the owner of record, had no authority to sell the property to me because of the foreclosure. However, there was nothing in title about a foreclosure.
I contacted the foreclosure dept. at the sheriff’s office and learned that, sure enough, the bank had foreclosed in 2002 but, lacking a buyer, they bid their lien. They did not pick up their deed from the sheriff until 2004 and never recorded the deed.
My attorney told me to hang in there, because NJ is a race notice jurisdiction state and I had legally purchased the property and secured it by recording my deed.
I love a challenge and I wasn’t about to walk away from the property I had purchased just because the bank’s attorneys said I should. I began the process of arming myself with any and all documentation that might be required in anticipation of litigating to establish ownership.
Last month the bank’s attys had one of their management companies sue my tenant in L/T court for past due rent. The action was dismissed because the plaintiff didn’t show up & the L/T Court.
In the meantime, my attorney continues trying to get a payoff figure from the bank’s attys, and they keep stalling and saying I don’t own the house and that my deed has no validity.
Last week my tenant called me & said she was being sued by the bank for possession of the apartment. She gave me a copy of the summons & complaint. I told her they couldn’t do anything because they don’t own the property.
Well, I prepared a beautiful package of documents for the L/T judge (with tabs & everything) with a brief covering letter clearly stating that the bank cannot evict my tenant because they don’t own the property, that they’re only entitled to be paid for their outstanding lien.
I went to L/T court with my tenant this morning and told the intake clerk that this action had to be pulled from the court calendar because the plaintiff had no authority to request relief of any kind from the court since they don’t own the property.
The bank’s atty showed up and I immediately told her what was going on, that she had no authority to make this action. I gave her copies of my deed, registration, & tax records, all in my corp. name. She said she had no idea that someone had bought the house, that this was all news to her. She then opened up her file in front of me and there in her file is my attorney’s letter asking for the payoff statement.
So, here’s the good news: The L/T court immediately dismissed the bank’s action. The bank’s atty called her partners for guidance & they instructed her to tell me that they will immediately issue a payoff letter to my atty, that all they want is their client’s money. Wasn’t that my position all along? And isn’t that what my attorney has been asking them for?
And my tenant paid her first month’s rent to me on the spot now that she’s confident about who actually owns the building.
What a great morning!!!
MORAL: If you know you’re right, hang in there!!