Due to financial challenges, many people throughout Tennessee have struggled to make their monthly mortgage payments. As a result, some have had their homes foreclosed on, while others have been forced to walk away from their residences. Those who find themselves in these types of situations, however, are often unaware of zombie titles and their potential dangers.
After beginning the foreclosure process, banks may decide to dismiss the case. As such, the lenders never take over the titles for these properties. Instead, the owners, who have often already left their homes, unknowingly remain on the titles. Such titles are commonly referred to as zombie titles. National Mortgage News reports that there are about 152,000 zombie-titled homes throughout the U.S.
Until a bank has taken over possession of a home, or it is sold to another person, homeowners are liable for their properties. As such, they are responsible for paying the property taxes for the home, not the banks. Since people often do not know that they are still listed as the owners on zombie titles, they may not realize they must pay these taxes. Even in the case of zombie-titled properties, however, neglecting to pay property taxes may lead to legal actions, including wage garnishment.
With no one there to care for a home, it may fall into disrepair, or be vandalized or damaged. When a foreclosure is never finalized and a home violates the local ordinances and housing codes, the homeowner could be held liable. Therefore, the responsibility of paying for any maintenance, repairs or fines resulting from violations would fall to the homeowners in these cases. As a result, people may develop substantial debt for a home they did not realize they still owned.
Getting a foreclosure notice can be devastating for Tennessee families. If the process is never completed and their home's title becomes a zombie title, the challenges can be even more difficult. Working with an attorney may help people to understand their options for stopping foreclosure, or how to escape becoming the victim of a zombie title.