Foreclosure in 98022>Question Details

Yahyahs, Home Seller in Auburn, WA

If my home is in foreclosure, can I take the fencing surrounding the property before the bank owns it completely?

Asked by Yahyahs, Auburn, WA Sun Oct 3, 2010

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Dear Yahyahs,

Your question is a good one because when people stop paying for their mortgage, for whatever reason, the bank--who loaned them the money in the first place is now no longer their friend, and now these borrowers who were once happy to get a loan so they could buy a house, feel their house is being stolen from them. It's human nature.

But unfortunately the answer to your question is NO, you will be expected to leave all the various parts of the house for the next owner.

The fence is a part of the home as much as is the landscaping including plantings, walkways, the garage, and other interior items like carpeting, appliances and so on. In Florida we are seeing homes going to foreclosure with items missing--like air conditioners, pipes and wire. As it turns out, that falls under the bank fraud statutes and will involve the FBI. So a simple fence that you installed and then took along with you can turn your foreclosure into a jail term.

Sorry to share reality, but that's how it is.

Dane Hahn
Broker Associate
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 3, 2010
Probably not, you need to read your mortgage agreement or deed of trust. It should state what property is included in the foreclosure. Doesn't mean you can't take it with you anyway. The lender most likely will not waste time and money to sue for the cost of a fence, and unless your property is worth enough that you will have surplus proceeds available to you after the sale, and you don't want the lenders to keep it to cover the cost of the fence, then I'd do it. Heck, if I had it to do all over again, considering how badly my lender screwed me, I'd take everything I could with me. I'd even move the house or part it out if I could. Karma
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 3, 2016
yes but, only a scumbag would do so. It's yours to do with as you wish until the day the bank or a 3rd party owns it. All of the other posters that state to the contrary are wrong. Now if you cause harm to the property that negativley impacts your neighboors, you may be liable for that. Think health and safety but to your question and unfortunatley, yes, you can take it.

Your contract terms in the note state you must maintain your property and violating those terms could cause them to accelerate the loan but you already violated those terms when you stopped paying so, while you are in breach of contract for taking the fence, you haven't committed any civil or criminal offense unless you have some local or state ordinance/statute/law to the contrary.

I'm not an attorney (Thank God) so, this is my opinion, not legal advice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 29, 2015
Like many of the other comments say, anything that is a permanent part of the house while in foreclosure belongs to the bank. Unfortunately, taking your fence could be considered vandalism, and the bank could press charges. Once you are in foreclosure, the bank could be very keen to get as much money as possible, and sadly that fence helps them do so. I hope everything works out well for you.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 27, 2015
Tonya, that is a very clever way to think about the fence in this situation. Like many of the other comments say, anything that is a permanent part of the house while in foreclosure belongs to the bank. Unfortunately, taking your fence could be considered vandalism, and the bank could press charges. I hope everything works out well for you.
Flag Wed May 27, 2015
Fencing is considered a permanent fixture, and you can only take it with the permission of the bank that is foreclosing on the property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 1, 2014
Call me insensitive but I say leave the property the way it is including any improvements. Would you take the fence if it was a home you rented? Essentially it's the same thing now....just my opinion
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
Do what you wish it is your property until the bank takes it back, but remember any deficiency after the bank sells your home is your responsibility, therefore decreasing the value of the property is not advisable.

Good Luck
Bob Patrick
Buy a home after foreclosure expert
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
Actually, Washington is a non-judicial foreclosure state which makes it very easy for anyone to foreclose on your property if you signed a deed of trust with a power of sale clause. In exchange for making the foreclosure process fast and easy, the lender cannot sue for deficiency judgement after the sale, but they can keep any surplus proceeds of the sale if the property sells for more than you owe.
Flag Sun Jan 3, 2016

Just from past experiences, and I've been involved in many where the homeowner took things including fence, sidewalk, landscaping bricks, etc. It is best to leave these things if they were there when you purchased the home, or paid for out of funds used from a HELOC. The reason for this is it can be considered intentional damage, and in certain states it is treated as vandalism. I know of 4 homeowners who did jail time for things like this, so be careful in what you are thinking of doing. Do the right thing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 3, 2010
I know you are angry, and you probably should be if you are losing your home. I work with a lot of people who have lost their homes & just want to get what they can out of it. But, really, you are just hurting the next homeowner then you are the bank. And, in any case, the whole thing is really no one's fault.
My question to you, is, why not do a short sale instead of just letting the bank take the house back. That will let you stay in your home a few months longer & keep the foreclosure off your credit. Contact me if you have any questions or you want help doing that.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 3, 2010
I think you already know the answer to this question, but the bigger issue is one of ethics. This economy has hurt a lot of people and as a result there are many angry people frustrated about the system. When people take the law in their own hands in whatever way they justify their actions, they are depriving other people usually from also getting justice. I recommend that you start writing letters to your congresspeople and letters to the editor and support some of the new legislation that is finally coming down the pike, and just heard there may be a moratorium on foreclosures. This is a time for you to speak out, not to to do desperate things that will embarass your families further! What is a backyard of old boards in your rental house going to do for you??? Support your neighbor who hasn't been foreclosed on yet and vote for people who want to help. Do things that show you are the ethical ones, not the banks!!! My opinion! Best,
Terry Bell, Realtor, Santa Rosa, CA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 3, 2010
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