Consult an attorney to be sure. You can take items that are not attached like refrigerator, washer and dryer as well as all of your personal items. I personally wouldn't damage the property or remove affixed items. Many folks are in this same boat. Cut your losses and move on.
I'm not a lawyer, and I do not know the particulars of your State law; however, in my experience your question boils down to whether the item is considered a "fixture" or not.
"fixture n. a piece of equipment which has been attached to real estate in such a way as to be part of the premises and its removal would do harm to the building or land. Thus, a fixture is transformed from a movable asset to an integral part of the real property. Essentially a question of fact, it often arises when a tenant has installed a lighting fixture, a heater, window box, or other item which is bolted, nailed, screwed or wired into the wall, ceiling or floor. Trade fixtures are those which a merchant would normally use to operate the business and display goods, and may be removed at the merchant's expense for any necessary repair."
I have heard of banks prosecuting owners who have stripped houses of fixtures, so it's best to make sure you know exactly what your options are legally.
I have to ask, what part of the "foreclosure" are you in? Have you put the home on the market and tried to sell it? Often people think they don't have time to sell it before the foreclosure and that's not always the case. If you are able to sell it as a Short Sale, you can write it in the contract that you're taking the appliances and not only do you have your appliances, but you also protected your credit.
Let me know,
We are sorry about these difficulties..........
Dave's advice is solid advice. You don't want to make your bad situation worse by doing something that may create bigger problems for you. Because other people in the same situation are doing it doesn't make it legal.
Before doing anything, consult an attorney.
REO specialist, REALTOR
Windermere Exclusive Properties
San Diego CA
Both of the answers below are good ones.
I don't like to anwer questions with questions but was wondering if foreclosure the only answer for you? Have you tried to avoid foreclosue by arranging a workout program with your lender? Have you tried to or considered selling your home before it goes to forclosure (a short sale)? Many homeowners are pursuing options like these to keep their homes (and appliances) and avoid foreclosure.
Best Regards, Woody