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Can a bank after closing come back and request to remove appliances?

Can a bank after closing come back and request to remove appliances?  Here's some background on the situation.  I just bought a foreclosed home in Minnesota.  The bank was renting the place back to the previous owners after the foreclosure and they left the home before closing after being offered a cash-for-keys from the bank.  The previous tenants left the appliances in the home (some of which are in good to average condition).  Now after closing, the bank's realtor just contacted stating they either want me to purchase the appliances or give them back to the renters.  Apparently the renters feel that they still have a right to the appliances.

As with all foreclosures the home was sold as-is and I had even been told by the banks agent that the appliances wouldn't be removed since they hadn't been already.  So my take is that they don't have any right to come back and take anything as it was sold as-is and they had conveyed it would be included.  I never had any type of contact or contract with the former renters so legally I don't see how they can go after me.  The banks agent claims their was a missunderstanding between them and the former owner (renter) but that would lead me to believe that's their problem, not mine. 

Does anyone have any addtional insight into this issue?
  • March 16 2012 - Minneapolis
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Answers (7)

As this was property owned by renters, my guess is it comes under Minnesota statutes regulating renters rights as it was not property owned by the bank and they can't be in a position to give away what they do not own.

Whether the zero value language of the contract is superseded by renters law is best left to the opinion of an attorney. But Minnesota property law stipulates abandoned property must be held by Lessor (landlord) for a period of 28 days following abandonment or the appearance of abandonment. However there could be an argument made that the tenants hadn't abandoned the appliances if they had notified the bank and / or their agent of intent to remove the appliances.

I'm not an attorney so this can't be taken as legal advice nor is it offered as legal advice. I'm merely noting Minnesota Statutes.
  • March 16 2012
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Profile picture for user900982

A couple added points and potentially getting into legal interpretations.

There was no personal property addendum.  There was also nothing stating that it would not be left either.  Also would it not be inferred that anything left by the bank would have been valued at $0 by the bank.  The bank had the opportunity to go through the property and take out anything they deemed to have value. 

There was also no clause in the contract stating that they had any amount of time after the close to move any personal property out of the property.  Can't recall ever hearing of people who were buying through a traditional sale (ie. non-bank owned) who had a seller leave a bunch of stuff at the house and then expected that they could come pick it up after close. 

It seems the bank or their agent is in a pinch because former tenants of theirs are demanding compensation for something the bank themself valued at $0.  If it wasn't valued at $0, why didn't they take it prior to close?  Unless their was something in the contract specifying that something could be left, I fail to see where they would have legal standing for compensation.

  • March 16 2012
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No offense to Ofe and B Mike...  They just are not familiar with Minnesota and things are very different here.
  • March 16 2012
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When I've written purchase agreements for bank owned homes I omit the personal property agreement as the banks won't sign them. As Patti points out, if you don't have a personal property agreement that specifically states the appliances that are part of the purchase, you don't have claim to the appliances.
  • March 16 2012
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Appliances that are built-in or "attached as to be made permanent" are part of the real estate and must stay with the property (usually something like a dishwasher or ceiling fans).  Appliances like the stove, refrigerator, washer, or dryer are personal property and are NOT part of the real estate.  So you did NOT purchase the stove, refrigerator, washer, or dryer when your purchased the house, unless you had a separate Personal Property Agreement that was signed by the owners of the personal property (in this case, the tenants).  It is unlikely that you had such an agreement with a foreclosure, but check your paperwork just to be sure.  It would be a separate form with the title "Personal Property Agreement" on the top.

If you did not make arrangements to purchase personal property, they do not belong to you and you should give them back.

By the way, do not go by what out of state agents say.  Ofe is from New Hampshire and B Mike is from California - laws will be different in different states.
  • March 16 2012
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Profile picture for B Mike West
Have you asked your Realtor?  It sounds like the listing agent is trying to cover an error that they may have made.  Unless you signed documents indicating that the subject appliances were excluded from the sale, it sounds like you are on solid ground. 
  • March 16 2012
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
If there was a misunderstanding between the bank and the tenants, it seems to me that they must look into that issue.  Look at your contract and the listing to see if the appliances were listed.  Hang tough on this one!
  • March 16 2012
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