29 Sep 2010

Forclosed Home Owner Vandalism ~ Risky Business

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Foreclosure vandalism and destruction by upset homeownersHomeowner Stop Trashing continues to happen and is a crime!

 We’ve heard how some homeowners on the verge of losing their homes to foreclosure have sold and/or ripped out everything, including the kitchen sink and it’s continuing. I just saw a video myself on YouTube on the subject.

With absolutely no regard for anyone including the neighbors the video demonstrated the efforts of the homeowner to sabotage the lender and the neighbors alike.

Last year one of my clients who bought a foreclosure property mentioned that she found used appliances for the home on Craig’s list. Right after our closing she had commented how many matching sets (of appliances) were listed for sale and thought they must have come been ripped out of another foreclosure sale.

Then last week a fellow REALTOR mentioned that  a neighbor held a “Demolition Sale” on their soon-to-be foreclosed home.  She said the owner sold everything he could even including the bathroom fixtures!  Any and everything was for sale. I let her know that was a very serious situation and lenders were beginning to prosecute people for doing so.

Then just the other day I received an email alert from legal counsel for our Association of Realtors reiterating that fact.

Homeowner Vandalism is a crime

Home Owner Vandalism is Against the Law

The report said in summary, damages intentionally caused by the mortgage holder can be subject to criminal and civil penalties. In fact, removal of fixtures valued more than $100 constitutes a felony in the State of California and can result in a state prison sentence for a year or more.

Even fixtures totaling less than $100 can result in a misdemeanor and could include county jail up to one year and/or a fine up to $1,000.

Some may think it’s about big business, you know the ones with deep pockets “getting even with the man” but situations like this can impact us all. We know that stripped down homes, whether they’ve been vandalized by outsiders or damaged by homeowners usually sell for considerably less than others. Sales like this further add to the decline in neighborhood home values.   

So the next time you hear of someone contemplating something like this, educate and inform them of the costly consequences.

  • Although these statutes exist in California, I would imagine that other states must have similar laws on the books, check it out.

Homeowner vandalism on foreclosed properties  risky business and is not okay in any way shape or form!

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About the Author


I maintains an active residential re-sale brokerage in Brea, CA, located in Orange County, about 20 minutes north of Disneyland. Contact Lynda directly at (714) 595-1494, or Lynda@PreferredHomeBrokers.com – CA License #00402040

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