Court Finds Foreclosed Homeowners Not Liable for Removing Fixtures From Home

In the case of Gerber Federal Credit Union v. Shields, unreported, Docket # 303663, the Michigan Court of Appeals were faced with a case brought by a credit union against homeowners who allegedly removed cabinets, a sink and countertops from the home that the credit union had foreclosed. Gerber Federal Credit Union foreclosed on a house owned by the Shields. After the Shields moved out and the credit union took possession, they discovered that the items were missing from the home. In addition, the credit union provided evidence that the cabinets, sink and countertops in the Shields’ new home resembled the fixtures that had previously been installed in the foreclosed home. However, the court of appeals agreed with the trial court and held that the credit union did not prove that the Shields had removed the items. The case was decided based upon the relative credibility of the homeowner versus the credit union employee.

While this is interesting, this case was decided based upon a prior version of the foreclosure statute. As of December 22, 2011, under MCL §600.3278, a homeowner can be held liable for “physical injury” beyond “normal wear and tear” to a foreclosed property. This section is new so there is no case law interpreting it yet, so it is not clear what a court will determine to be “physical injury” to a structure. Certainly, using a sledgehammer to put holes in walls would fall within the statute, but it is questionable whether removing built in appliances or other fixtures would be deemed “physical injury.” Homeowners should take care before removing any built in items from a foreclosed home.


Bank of America Issues New Short Sale Guidelines

Bank of America has announced “Enhanced Second Lien Deficiency Waiver Guidelines”. It is important when processing a short sale to understand all of the latest programs in place by all of the lenders.  The latest announcement reads:  

Based on the Department of Justice settlement, effective June 1, Bank of America is extending additional support to homeowners in agreeing to enhanced 2nd lien deficiency waiver guidelines.

Once you have determined if your homeowner may qualify for this waiver, contact your short sale specialist for establishing the amount to request for the 2nd lien.

Basic qualifications:

Short sales initiated on or after June 1, 2012

 The 2nd lien must be attached to a 1st lien mortgage owned by Bank of America

Bank of America has also recently announced that they are paying up to $30,000.00 to homeowners for a successful short sale. Working with qualified Realtors and attorneys is necessary to obtain the best possible results for you.


Redman Law Firm Moves to Birmingham

On June 11, Redman Law Firm has moved its offices to downtown Birmingham, Michigan. From 2003 to 2006 Bruce Redman managed a firm in Birmingham. When the firm outgrew its space, it moved to Bloomfield Hills. But ever since moving out of Birmingham, Bruce, a life-long Oakland County resident, has wanted to move back.  Bruce said, “Birmingham has always felt like the right place for our firm. I grew up here. I rode my bike into downtown Birmingham as a kid. Our new loft space on Old Woodward in the heart of downtown is the perfect place for us.”

Redman Law Firm continues to specialize in Real Estate Law and Commercial Litigation. A large part of the firm’s practice has been to assist homeowners in working with their banks through the real estate meltdown.  We have seen property values drop more than 50% in some areas. Homeowners need to understand their options.  Banks are not going to tell you the best option for you.  Homeowners must consider Bankruptcy, Short Sales, Loan Modification and even “walking away”.  Explaining the process and the different options is what Redman Law Firm is all about. A real estate agent may have a lot of knowledge about the short sale process, but that does not mean that a short sale is necessarily the right option for every individual.  Personalized service is our calling.