Occupied I think not - REO Property Preservation Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2014, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Occupied I think not

So we went to do an initial on a property a few days ago and did the usual knocking on the door, ring door bell to see if anyone comes to the door nothing.
So we proceeded to do the lock change, pcr, ect. When outside we heard what sounded like running water, of course the huge ice patch right outside of the garage kind of was a dead giveaway that there was water coming from somewhere.
Found a busted baseboard with water running out of it (the electric was on). So we turned the water off to prevent any further damage. The toilets were frozen solid and there was maybe 30 yards of debris mostly bags of trash and empty boxes.

He gets approval to thaw property to winterize best as possible and when he goes back to the property today (5 days later) there is a NO Tresspassing sign and a note that states property is occupied.

I find it funny that who ever put that note and sign really thinks the bank is going to believe someone is living in a frozen home. The house had no recent evidence of any activity unless you count mouse droppings. Even the windows were frosted up with ice.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2014, 06:00 PM
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In New Hampshire no trespassing signs mean nothing unless they are hand written on the signs, just saying either which way there is nothing easy in this field
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2014, 06:59 PM
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Now who are we to judge how people live?
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2014, 10:05 PM
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A property is not abandoned if the owner can document they drove by a looked at it a minimum of 1x per month...

We learned that on a very earily similar story as yours to the tune of $15,000. I would go back and PUL all or any signage that has your OR your service companies name so its difficult (not impossible) tp find you and make a trespassing charge on ya. Nothing like a Sheriff knocking on your door at 5:30 to serve ya!
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-08-2014, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctquietcorner View Post
I find it funny that who ever put that note and sign really thinks the bank is going to believe someone is living in a frozen home. The house had no recent evidence of any activity unless you count mouse droppings. Even the windows were frosted up with ice.

Had a shack in the country one of my crews secured during a sub zero day; broken pipes and 4' of frozen water in the cellar. County sheriff called us 6 weeks later and said the owner wanted to file a police report, claiming we stole a box of VHS pornos from his basement. They were still there of course, just frozen below the surface.
Joking aside, don't count on the national or the bank yukking it up with their hand on your shoulder. You will be the first one hung out to dry if there is any pushback from the owner or the authorities. We too have had our fair share of legal issues over supposedly empty properties.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-08-2014, 06:43 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GTX63 View Post
Now who are we to judge how people live?

I really don't care how anyone lives, but if this property is supposedly occupied and this person might have kids (a few pieces of childrens clothes were observed) living there then that is an issue and I will call DYF on them for child endangerment. We have had 5 degree days with windchills up to -20 and if someone is living in a frozen house I don't want to go there again and find a dead body or two or more.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-08-2014, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
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Have to update you all.
Apparently the person who put the handwritten no tresspassing note on the door is NOT the owner of the property, but a girlfriend who feels she has rights to the property. The real owner passed away over a year ago and the house is owned by the bank as of 3/2013. The town records also show that owner is indeed the bank. We have received a work order to meet a sheriff at the property for a physical eviction if she is in fact living there. Which I personally don't think she is as the note had a Massachusetts phone number and the property is in Connecticut. We will see tomorrow.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-08-2014, 09:37 AM
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Every state and even every county is different, however, we had seen instances where the home owner will have someone such as a girlfriend, cousin, etc, set up as an occupant. There are sheriffs who will refuse an eviction because the unknown adult(s) are not listed on the paperwork signed by the judge. On more than one occassion we have had to notify a National's legal team to reorder an eviction and include "all occupants" to the judgement.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-08-2014, 10:32 AM
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Exactly right GTX! We found out that these States really have no "set in stone" laws pertaining to the definition of occupied or abandoned. There is our "understanding" of what the word means THEN there is the legal definition which is determined by how each atty or judge interprets.

A broker yesterday was complaining over a personal property eviction since the sheriff determined propery unoccupied and still had tons of valuable contents while 3 weeks ago another sheriff LOST a lawsuit over $500 worth of quilting patches that was left behind by prior owner... No rhyme or reason to the game.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-08-2014, 11:01 AM
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Our policy is if there is even a hint of occupancy we bail. One work order is not worth the headache or cost something like this could bring. It's better to be safe than sorry.
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