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Ask Dave Kennett Your Own Question
Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience practicing attorney
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If you abandon a home and move somewhere else and the home

Resolved Question:

If you abandon a home and move somewhere else and the home has defects,
are you responsible, is it a crime? To let it deteriorate or remain unoccupied?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Is this a rental property or a home you own?

Who caused the defects and was it intentional?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Bought a home where the former owners left marks in the wood, it needs new wallpaper,

I wanted to just move and let it sit empty but it will deteriorate, is that a crime? i was planning

to possibly pay off the mortgage and let the property taxes accumulate then it would

be foreclosed on and I would not own the home after three years. The marks might have

been intentional but not by me.

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?
How were you able to assume the mortgage?

Did the former owner have permission from the lender to sell the house to you?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Bought it like anyone would buy a home and it was damaged after that but

before we moved in.

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
DearCustomer- You indicated you wanted to pay off the mortgage so I thought maybe you were talking about the former mortgage. In any event, if you own the house you can do what you want with it. There is no crime in damaging your own property or abandoning it. Obviously you will still owe the mortgage if is foreclosed. I guess I'm having trouble understanding why you would want to abandon a property and cause it to lose value which would just cost you money. If that's what you want to do however, it is your choice.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

So letting the house sit abandoned is or is not a crime? Letting it deteriorate? The mortgage

would be paid and the foreclosure would be for taxes so I no longer owned the home. I would

'not pay them in order to not own it since I don't want it and feel it won't sell and want to live

elsewhere.

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
This is a civil situation and the debts are civil. You are not committing a crime if you walk away from a home but there can be civil liability.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
What kind?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
I'm not saying you are going to be liable for anything. I'm just saying that there is no criminal liability if you walk away from a home. That was what I thought you were asking. There is no way I can predict if someone might sue you for civil liability since that is up to the plaintiff. If the mortgage was a purchase money mortgage taken by you then there would be no deficiency suit by the lender.
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