I can't give you legal advice but in general you cannot remove anything that was included in your original contract when you purchased the home. However, in this case it sounds like you want to remove an upgrade that you added after the fact this is not crtical to the operation of the house. If you paid for that upgrade on your own (not financed as part of a mortgage) then you should be able to remove it and as you noted make sure it does not result in any damage to the home.
As a potential buyer, I am running into this exact problem everywhere! People that are being foreclosed upon stripping houses right down to the ground! I have found some absolutely lovely homes (on the outside) that have been stripped of everything from kitchen cabinets to bathroom fixtures & even digging up trees and plantings out of the yard! I find this act absolutely deplorable!
Despite the fact that you are facing foreclosure, you will again eventually find yourself on the other end (there are programs that allow 2 yr old bankruptcy on credit). But how would you feel, thinking you've found the perfect house/ home - only to see that it was stripped down/ nothing replaced - holes covered up or not? Illegal or not, just imagine the shoe on the other foot for a minute. Know most in foreclosure don't care (why should they, right?) But you will be on the other end of the table soon enough - just imagine what you would feel like? What would think of the person(s) that did something like that? Then think . . . do YOU really want to be 'THAT' person? Illegal or not, have a little more pride than that (and integrity) by doing the right (and ethical) thing.
Just b/c the bank is threatening foreclosure does not mean that you have to move out. I know many people, my family included, that were served July (08), and the bank has still to take the house. Please, please, please, read the documents that you get served with, when they serve you, because from the time they say they will foreclose, to when the bank will have the attorney prepare the docs, are two very different times.
If the complaint says the note was lost or stolen, it is veryyyyyyyyy likely, that the Plaintiff, has NO Standing to sue you. Don't let that listed Plaintiff take your house leaving you personally liable for the remainder of the amount you owe on the home. If you can, try asking at the legal aid office in your city whether they can help you. Or if you can afford it, hire your own attorney or try to go to the courthouse and sit on hearing of what is happening in your county. Also, the court house may have something posted in its website about what the Plaintiff's attorneys need to bring into court to claim the home. This is happening in FL.
Remember, I am not attorney, and I am in position to give you legal advice, but get educated, read and study what is happening with cases being thrown out b/c the Plaintiff cannot show that it is the rightful owner of the mortgage and note.
As far as the fixture, I am not sure. Trying going online to see the AZ statutes and see if you can find if that is listed anywhere in the statutes.
Best of luck.
In my opinion... you still own the home. Let's say the evap cooler was no longer working, you could remove it, and would have it done so that you would still be able to live in the home. If the evap cooler was not a part of the financing of the home - it wasn't done with a 2nd Mortgage or Home Equity Line - then you could probably remove it - professionally. If you rip it off of the roof and leave a gaping hole - then that would be very wrong. If you damage the home, for example, removing the A/C, kitchen cabinets, appliances that came with the home, toilets, etc - then it would definitely be considered theft. I would just treat it as if you were going to be living there forever. Do it tastefully - if that is what you choose. You may still consult the bank or a lawyer if you want to know for sure.
By the way, have you considered trying to do a short sale instead of letting it go to foreclosure? You might try that as soon as possible. The more time that goes by, the less chance you have to get it done. A short sale will probably hurt your credit less than a foreclosure. Think about it - and then call a Realtor !!!
-- Lisa Miller
Sorry to hear about your financial problems... as mentioned in Stew's blog, you cannot remove these items and if you do so, you run the risk of being prosecuted for a felony. This is considered theft and there is a new FBI task force that has been formed for just this reason. My advice to you unfortunately is to leave what is on the house there, pick up the pieces and move forward.