Profile picture for tinymight

my landlord died a afew months ago, the house is going into forcloser. I have lived here for 25years

I want to keep this house but I just finished with my bankrupty, what can i do?
  • August 30 2009 - Porterville
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Answers (18)

Just noticed the foreclosure bit of this....

Obviously, there is a mortgage owed.  Need to know more about the financials involved with the property to guess what the heirs might do.  If the place is underwater, it is most likely that the heirs won't touch it and it will go to the bank.  The typical foreclosure process will occur (or continue unabated) from there.
  • August 31 2009
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Hi all.
Don't have much time but I thought I would quickly check in on this.

Need more info. (of course) but my sense is that Rob hit the nail on the head on this one.  The fact that rental money was paid generally throws a claim for adverse possession totally out the window.

Most likely, an heir will show up.  Probably best to communciate with the heir(s) and see if they are interested in continuing the rental arrangement.  After all, it is not the best time to sell in most areas. If your rental payment covers the expenses for the property, it might work out.  Much depends on what, if anything, is owed on the mortgage, and the willingness of any heirs to assume the rental responsibility.  Your bankruptcy situation may be a problem for them, however.  A new owner may not be interested in dealing with you if you do not have a clean record for payments.
  • August 31 2009
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Geesh! Just think, if you'd bought it 25 years ago instead of renting, you'd only have 5 years left of your mortgage and then be 'rent free'. Sorry, no insult intended, it's just so amazing that you lived there that long! My record is 3 years anywhere and we finally just bought... hoping to make it 30 and be 'rent free'. It boggles my mind! 25 years!!

You can check and see how much the loan is at, but I suspect it's high, or a relative would have picked the rental income up. If it's low, and there is no relative, then you could see if your lawyer could do something. Check with a mortgage broker and ask what the loan value is left on the place. That should tell you your landlords situation.

Honestly, there's nothing you can do but wait till they kick you out if it's got a high mortgage on it. The bank owns it now. I've always said the docs take one house per person at the end, and it sounds like they might have done it. Medical bills, cost of living, etc. just really takes a home at the end.
  • August 30 2009
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Sometimes the young have had less time to get creepy.
  • August 30 2009
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Profile picture for Mr Caveat
and in the legally dubious catagory i was 18+ 2 months at the time... the POA was drawn up, probably when i was 15 or 16... but even though the bank didnt bring up my age, how many 18 y.o. boys would you leave with the keys to the proverbial liquor cabinet/ candy store or Porsche?(pick your poison)
  • August 30 2009
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Profile picture for Mr Caveat
well and hes family and i am what you lawyer folk call "responsible" but while a financial POA gives me the discretion to act as he would or to act with his full authority, its arguable how far i can legally take that power, especially with notice that the document was "insufficient." i agree that i probably wasn't risking criminal prosecution at the time, but i was pretending to be someone else in order to utilize his financial information and i did seize his assets... i don't know if there is a formal vesting process involving the courts which could have made my POA more legally binding or declaring that it did cover his main checking account at the only bank he patronized for decades, but i didn't follow up and i am pretty sure that part of the right of a POA is that in the event of his recovery, the financial powers end. he would have no authority to retrieve such funds should he have recovered, as they were in an account at another bank which i had set up in my name. i did it because i wanted to protect his credit and blah blah blah but i should have preferred the bank just tell me "okay you can write checks out of his account".

lets just say that there was the potential for someone in a similar situation to be "in the wrong" acting under similar pretense(as there always is). its a matter of being careful and walking a fine line.

after all just possibly a week prior he was competent to make these decisions, and without going into too many details, he was on dialysis and antibiotics... its not like i was preparing to take over his finances over the next year or two. at that moment he could barely sign his name and was exhibiting dementia and other issues, but i was expecting things to turn out better than they did.
  • August 30 2009
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Not a lawyer, yadda yadda....but if you had a POA I don't know that I would put your "bank break-in" in the dubious category - you did have a POA and all. 

 ;-)
  • August 30 2009
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Profile picture for Mr Caveat
PS i have zero formal legal training so i am by no means an expert. whatever you decide to do, don't decide to do what NTETS says because you like the way it sounds... its a very simplistic version of a very long drawn out process. i have every confidence that any RE attorney worth his salt would call my advice foolish... but if you are serious about keeping the home, i know from first hand experience that the "less than legal way" is sometimes easier(and more effective) than the legal way.

when my dad got sick he had a medical POA and a separate financial POA, these documents were drawn up by an actual attorney who charged us. i took the financial POA to his local bank branch where he was a patron for close to 50 years, handed them the document plus notes from 3 attending physicians that said word for word what the document said the notes needed to say. i also brought identification and a witness. the bank would not honor the power of attorney because rather than listing each of his bank accounts separately, it listed stated "all bank accounts" or something similar.  i then proceeded to use his bank card, social security number, and other information to break into his online acct and take ALL of the money there and transfer it to an new account which i could write checks against. legally dubious, but highly effective.
  • August 30 2009
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Profile picture for Mr Caveat
well yeah i'll admit my idea is a little out there... (just a note you can make a payment on the mort without stealing the actual bill each month, assuming its a fixed, etc etc.) i was looking at it from the pov that if there is an estate, they obviously have, for whatever reason, decided that continuing to watch and maintain the property isnt worth it... perhaps the landlord has other debts or just recently cashed out full value on this property, in which case all of the assets in the estate are attachable...

in the event however that there was no estate created, a little research on our buyer-to-be's part might be able to figure out if there is such an entity to lay claim besides himself. if there is no next of kin, then what? well then he continues to pay the mortgage company, just as if it were a landlord and if it should so happen that several more years pass by with no one claiming the property i think that he might be in a position to legally assume the property.

A lender is unlikely to call the note if payments continue, but...what happens when it is paid off? You aren't the owner....

well then you aren't the owner yet. as a 25 year renter i dont think you ever really expected to be the owner, did you? its not really like i am trying to protect your interests in the property, just keep you there untill someone complains. if that happens then you at least have a person to talk to. now on the off chance that that 5 years from now(or whatever the statute says) you are still there, then i would only possibly reccomend going for a title... upon bringing the suit, there is still a chance that THAT course of action could see you evicted too... but they say that "knowledge is power" right? so i would still look into it.


i agree with you tiff, if there is someone to talk to, talk. lots of talk. take notes, who you talked to, what they said, when, everything. search out any executor search them out. contact an attorney.

  • August 30 2009
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Profile picture for Lady Chattel
25 years renting......shoot me!
  • August 30 2009
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It depends on where it is in the process. If it head to foreclosure I think that they could do an assumption because they would be taking title. However, before that would likely require the blessing of the estate.
Mail theft is probably a bad idea under most circumstances since I think it's a felony. Generally, a felony is not the best way to achieve one's goals. There also may be a clause in the note that calls it due upon death of the note holders (usually all of them if it is more than one so a note doesn't become due if a spouse passes). I'm not sure how common this was 25 years ago or in California. A lender is unlikely to call the note if payments continue, but...what happens when it is paid off? You aren't the owner. So you would have to sit tight for the statutory minimum for adverse possession and then file for quiet title. Better hope for an oblivous executor in this case. Although, this is moot since the bill is already past due.


Generic opinion here, but applicable in most situations - communication. The more the better. And document, document, document.


Legal disclaimer: this is just a personal opinion, please see a licensed attorney for actual legal advice.
  • August 30 2009
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Profile picture for Mr Caveat
well i think open and notorious have been satisfied, hostile hasn't(in opposition to the rights of the landlord), but in a case where there is no formal estate, couldn't you proceed from here with the intent of claiming the property as your own after the statute passes, assuming no other claims by an estate or relative surfaces? i believe it would involve 5 more years(in CA) of occupying the property and doing so "as if you were the owner" right now the goal is just to prevent foreclosure and that's why i suggested stealing the mail. if a relative did appear you would essentially have to do what they said, but i don't believe that the bank can foreclose while the property is kept current even by a third party. i also don't think a bank can authorize an assumption without representation of the estate.

but indeed i may be just muddying the waters.
  • August 30 2009
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The key to adverse possession is "open, notorious and hostile". Paying rent usually means you are there with permission (negating the hostile requirement). Although it's a shame since I'm fairly certain 25 years is past the statutory minimum in Cali.


One could take the theory of filing an adverse possession claim to stall things and cloud the title, but it probably wouldn't work since the mortgage holder would have first lien position. (not an attorney, contact a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction for legal advice - this is a personal opinion)


Most likely you should call a good real estate attorney and see if the lender will do an assumption of the loan if it isn't too ridiculous of a balance. Call the lender too - you might have better luck working with them without the attorney involved, but have an attorney ready to go and up to speed. Mostly, get your paperwork together!!!!  If you have documentation that you have paid in a timely fashion on this specific property for 25 years and have the ability to continue to do so, the lender may let you do an assumption. (An assumption is when you take over the responsibility for a loan made out to someone else and finish pay it until its completion). Assumptions have fallen out of favor, but there is a good chance this will change with economic changes.


You can contact the executor, but there is probably little they can do except bring the loan current if the assets are available to do that.
  • August 30 2009
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stealing the mail, paying the mortgage would probably not work.

The possession has to be "open and notorious" i.e.  obvious that you are there illegally. I'm sure some family members are going to come out of the wood work and claim it.
  • August 30 2009
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Profile picture for Mr Caveat
in ca, you might have a claim of adverse possession if you were allowed from this point to pay the rent + utilities for 5 additional years with no legal claims against you by an estate or heir, but, judging by the research i have done, you dont qualify yet.

that "pay the dude's mortgage for 5 years" plan of mine might be worth exploring though...

where is k101 or tiffany bond when you need 'em!
  • August 30 2009
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Profile picture for Mr Caveat
there is also the "i am going to steal my deceased landlord's mail and pay his mortgage on time and the house will not go into foreclosure" plan, money is green and if there is no interested party in the estate its not a terribly bright plan but effective while you explore your options... they really wont care who's name is on the check as long as it references the correct acct. mail tampering is a crime, fyi...

i dont know the legal precedent, and i could be talking out of my adz here, but i read once that a person who lives on land for a certain period of time has a claim to the title... it has something to do with the statute of limitations for bringing an eviction suit, so it probably doesnt apply but after you get an attorney, ask them to look up case law re "right of adverse posession"

edit: i dont think it does apply because you haven't "treated the property as your own for a substantial period of time" but i would still look into it, the argument could be made that you have treated it as your own even though you knew it wasnt your own... i am not really sure... anyway like phillip says, "scare the bajeeses out of them" because the lawyers who work for the legal dept of a bank... not the most motivated group out there.
  • August 30 2009
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Profile picture for Mr Caveat
what exactly would you like to do? assume the property? buy it? continue to pay someone else rent? there are new laws that force people who purchase a home to let you stay for several months after foreclosure.

i would contact the executor of the estate of your landlord. do you know who that is? it would be well within the power of the estate to arrange this, if he has no executor the courts should appoint one... i believe. you should contact an attorney though.

  • August 30 2009
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In a bankruptcy the judge can retrieve any amount of money paid out to a creditor, if it is paid within 90 days of a BK. If you were current on 25 years worth of rent. then 25 years worth of rent would be past money paid within a rolling 90 days. Get the judge to lein the property for you. It may work.
Get your attorney to see about getting all your rent back. Scare the bank into holding paper for you or letting you assume the old note.
  • August 30 2009
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