Cases are arising of banks who begin foreclosure proceedings and then later change their minds, usually because they won't get much money selling a home. The original homeowner eventually finds out that they are still responsible for the house when they receive overdue property tax bills or bills for municipal cleanup. The house may have been sitting empty for years, rotting and vandalized, before they learn this because banks are not obligated to notify the homeowners they evicted.
No regulations require that banks let homeowners know when they change their minds about a foreclosure. So they rarely do, according to housing court judges, homeowners' lawyers and academics who study foreclosure problems. "The banks do not answer inquiries, they do not answer phone calls, they do not answer letters," says Judge Patrick Carney of the Buffalo, New York, Housing Court. His zombie-title caseload has swollen in the past few years to well into the hundreds. "The whole situation is surreal," he says.
(Image credit: Reuters/Jay LePrete)