Homeowners are caught up in a little-known horror of the U.S. housing bust: the zombie title.

zombie title

According to an article in the NBC News – thousands of homeowners are finding themselves legally liable for houses they didn’t know they still owned after banks decided it wasn’t worth their while to complete foreclosures on them.  With impunity, banks have been walking away from foreclosures much the way some homeowners walked away from their mortgages when the housing market first crashed.

“The banks are just deciding not to foreclose, even though the homeowners never caught up with their payments,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, a real-estate information company in Irvine, California.

Since 2006, 10 million homes have fallen into foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac, a number that in earlier, more stable times would have taken nearly two decades to reach. Of those foreclosures, more than 2 million have never come out.  Some may be occupied by owners who have been living gratis.  Others have been caught up in what is now known as the robo-signing scandal, when banks spun out reams of fraudulent documents to foreclose quickly on as many homeowners as they could.

No national databases track zombie titles. But dozens of housing court judges, code enforcement officials, lawyers and other professionals involved in foreclosures across the country tell Reuters that these titles number in the many thousands, and that the problem is worsening.

We have several videos on our web site.  Below are a few that might be of interest:
  • “Lender’s Foreclosure Rights in Arizona”
  • “Should I keep my home or let it go into foreclosure?”
  • “Meet Ms. Drain and Suggestions on How to Hire an Attorney”

MUSINGS BY DIANE: “I have been involved in the Arizona foreclosure market since 1987. I cannot count the huge number of people who assume that walking away from their home or business will terminate their obligation to pay the debts or maintain the property. This article explains that walking away does not mean the debt is gone or the burden to maintain the property is gone.

Talk to a very good real estate attorney who is experienced in foreclosures or trustee’s sales before taking any steps to abandon the property.”