A zombie title is a real estate title that has stayed with the owner of a residential property after the mortgage lender has begun a foreclosure process (making the owner believe that the owner no longer owns) but then the lender does not finish the foreclosure process – thus leaving title in zombie (limbo) status.
Imagine, you lost the house to the bank…and yet, you’re still responsible for the bills!
Owning a home costs money. The mortgage companies know that, and don’t want to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of a house for a few years. That’s expensive. So the strategy has been to keep the home in the original homeowner’s name so the upkeep expenses would stay there as well.
The 58-year-old former social worker and his wife, Jennifer, packed up their home of 13 years and moved in with their daughter. Joseph thought he would never have anything to do with the house again. And for about a year, he didn’t.
Then it started to stalk him.
First, in 2010, the county sued Keller because the house, already picked clean by scavengers, was in a shambles, its hanging gutters and collapsed garage in violation of local housing code. Then the tax collector started sending Keller notices about mounting back taxes, sewer fees and bills for weed and waste removal. And last year, Chase’s debt collector began pressing Keller to pay his mortgage, which had swollen, with penalties and fees, from $62,100.27 to $84,194.69.
It’s here, folks….the Zombie Title!
Of course, the other problem is…who takes care of a zombie house?
“It is an ideal breeding ground for snakes, cockroaches, mosquitoes as well as other insects and critters,” said Curtis, who became Rockledge’s code enforcement officer in 2009. “Generally things that can make someone’s life miserable.”
Seems like this would drive down property values.
If you are in foreclosure, or need help with a zombie title, phone Axsmith Law LLC at (202) 285-5415.