Stripping Foreclosed Home No Way to Get Even

Are you facing a home forelosure? Have you been tempted to take matters into your own hands? There have been a lot of stories where former homeowners have stripped their home and left nothing but a shell for the mortgage company.

This personal bankruptcy story was shared on an internet blogging site:

“We left our house empty, took the sheds, appliances, kitchen sink, bathroom sinks and vanities, ceiling fans, light fixtures, sold the HVAC for $400, sold the hot water heater for $60, and sold the deck and playhouse that we had built. We even took the satellite dish. I figured whoever buys the house is going to re-do it all, so I figured we were doing them a favor as the emptier it is the better. I did however cap all the plumbing and generally weatherize the house.”

Depending on what state you live, the general rule of thumb is if the fixture comes with a house and is a part of the taxing entity for that house, it stays with the house. Another general rule of thumb is if any improvement on a home is attached, like a covered patio, even if you added the improvement, most states will make you leave the improvement as part of the house. Finally, in some states, if a shed has a concrete foundation, it is part of the property. Fences are generally considered part of the property because they are attached to the property grounds.

Depending in which state you live, stripping a home can be a crime. It is considered a tort of waste, but in Surprise, Arizona in 2009, a grand jury indicted man on charges of criminal damage and defrauding a secured creditor. He was arrested for fraud. In some states, stripping a home could be considered vandalism.

If a bankruptcy court trustee finds out you have stripped a home that is being held in the bankruptcy estate, he has several options. When you act in bad faith, the trustee has the option of dismissing the bankruptcy with prejudice so that you no longer will be able to file, and he could also recommend you be investigated for defrauding the secured creditor.

Filing for bankruptcy is a legal proceeding designed to protect debtors. It also may allow debts to discharge certain types of qualified debts or restructure existing debt payments. Bankruptcy fraud is a crime and common criminal acts under bankruptcy laws typically involve concealment of assets, concealment or destruction of documents, conflicts of interest, fraudulent claims, false statements or declarations, and fee fixing. Destruction of a secured creditor’s property can be considered a debtor/creditor conflict.

If the local authorities or the bankruptcy court doesn’t get you for stripping a home, insurance companies may follow-up on claims they consider vandalism. They will pay for the damage and either file criminal charges against the responsible parties or they will file a civil lawsuit to collect the money owed. Insurance companies have the means to pursue the offenders and can be relentless in their pursuit.

Stripping a foreclosed home is no way to get even. The best thing to do when it comes to foreclosures is to ask what property you may keep, especially if you are not sure if it is part of the home you are vacating. Don’t take anything off the property if you are not sure.

Bankruptcy laws can be complicated. Contact a bankruptcy lawyer if you have questions. If you need relief from the stress of debt and you live in or around the metropolitan area of San Diego, California, contact us at .We will help you find a bankruptcy attorney in your area who will answer your bankruptcy questions.

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