Thursday, January 31, 2013
Banks ignore the County
Speech to the Josephine County Commissioners, 4/11/2011.
One of the things that have caused me to start focusing on enforcement of nuisance ordinances by the City and County is the deterioration of a property that I renovated just as the housing bubble started to go soft. It took a long time to sell, and the new owner was foreclosed within a year by Bank of America, which has neglected it badly. It now grows the biggest and most dandelions I’ve ever seen in a yard, shedding seed all over my neighborhood.
When I moved back into that neighborhood and started walking dogs past that house every day, I started calling B of A to ask them to maintain their property. I also asked City police to talk to them. I was told by our head Community Service Officer that the banks take over properties, change the locks, and then tell the cops that they don’t own them yet, so they don’t have to maintain them. The other day, an B of A operator told me that they don’t actually own the property, at which point I started yelling at her that they shouldn’t have foreclosed on it and she hung up.
There is a grain of truth in all of this; the banks have been foreclosing properties on which they don’t own the note, and don’t know who owns it; they are just servicing the note. They didn’t record their sale of the note with county courthouses, which an Oregon judge has ruled makes the foreclosure illegal, along with the fact that only the owner of the note can foreclose a property. He ruled that the online registration system that the banks created is not a substitute for a properly recorded sale of the note or the participation of the owner of record.
Our County should go after those banks and the recording fees that they have neglected to pay. County staff should research all foreclosures in the County to see if the note was sold without recording the transaction, and should go after the banks involved to make them record their sales and pay their fees. Our sheriff should go after banks that have illegally kicked people out of their homes.
I don’t know exactly what statutes the County can rely on in this effort, but there ought to be some teeth in the law that requires us to record real estate transactions. Certainly people should not be thrown out of their homes by people who do not even own the note. There should be something the County can do about this, and we should go after the revenue that we have been cheated out of.