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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4836
Experience:  Lawyer- Broker 30+years - foreclosure, short sale, liens, title attorney.
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Personal property has been mishandled after auction sale

Customer Question

Recently, my house was sold at an auction sale; while I was under the impression that my lender was working with me for a loan modification. A few days prior to the sale date, the lender had convinced me that they were not going to go through with the sale, because my situation was under review. I was not in town due to a job in another state. I had forwarding mail service and there was not any mail indicating who is the third party that bought my house at the foreclosure auction sale. Almost three weeks went by and no one to contact or anyone making any effort to contacting me. I returned to gather my stuff just to find out they had already changed the lock. I contacted an attorney and I was advised to change the lock to claim possesion of my personal property that was inside the house; so I did that, just to find out all my personal stuff, clothings, cookwares, important documents, memorabilia, basically everything that I had was all gone. The only things left behind was my expensive furniture and top of the line appliances. I found out that the new owner has posted an ad to re-sell the house as a furnished unit. I have pictures to prove that those furniture & appliances belong to me; and that all the furniture & appliances were here before the foreclosure process began. The attorney had advised me to stay in the house, while we are demanding an answer about what happened to all my personal belongings. I was convinced that if they threw away my personal belongings, then we are looking at serious violations of the law process. Also, they can be sued for using my stuff in the ad to re-sell the house quickly. Please, I need to be well-educated on what I am possibly looking at here. My home was not abandoned, I paid all the utilities up to date and the house is very tidy and kept very well....the furniture was selected by a designer and very well placed...I want my personal belongings back... and if they just threw them away or sold them separately...what are my options to reach out for justice?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 1 year ago.

Hello, and thanks for submitting this question. The buyers have committed conversion of your personal property. Conversion is a civil wrong (tort) in which one converts another's property to his/her own use. Conversion includes holding onto such property which accidently comes into the convertor's (taker's) hands, or purposely giving the impression the assets belong to him. You have the right to sue for the return of your property or the value and loss of use of it. You might even present your situation to law enforcement authorities since conversion usually includes the crime of theft. In your particular case, it will be a judgment call by the prosecutor because the converter held legal title to the premises where they were located.

I hope that this information is helpful. Please click on a smiley face so that I will be compensated for assisting you. If you have a follow up question please send me back a Reply without entering any rating. Also, be sure to verify this information with a local attorney who is familiar with your local laws and procedures. Thanks again for using Pearl.Com- Just Answer. Your business is appreciated.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for taking time answering my question.
What about me changing the lock to regain my personal possesions? How should I properly handle this new owner or his agent when they show up to confront me that I have re-entered the property? Can they force me out and unjustly and take my furniture and appliances? If they show up with an authority, what is the best way to handle the situation? They knew I had returned and they tried to prevent me from taking my furniture etc, by changing the lock again. I am fighting back for my rightful ownership of these personal items. When and how should I contact the local authorities, when I don't exactly know who is the party I am dealing with? Would it be a good idea to start moving whatever is leftover furniture & appliances out now, then suing them for all the other personal items that are missing from the house? What is the proper measurement to suing them for all the irreplacable missing personal items that meant a lot to me; basically I lost my entire journal of life, pictures, videos, important documents, irreplacable memorabilia.
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 1 year ago.
Can they force me out and unjustly and take my furniture and appliances? Would it be a good idea to start moving whatever is leftover furniture & appliances out now, then suing them for all the other personal items that are missing from the house?YES, THEY can take legal action to force you to vacate, BUT NO, they cannot keep your furniture and personal property. Those are never part of the mortgage that is foreclosed on. If I were you though, I would get my things moved into storage as quickly as possible. Then bring your lawsuit for the missing personal property items. The measure of damages is very difficult to pinpoint for the items you mention. A small claims court could attach whatever monetary value they feel compensates you. PLUS, you should point out that those buyers knew they had no right to the personal property and furnishings when they bought the home. There may be some punitive aspects to your damages. Good luck. I hope this Answer is helpful and that you will give it a positive rating. If you have any follow up questions please send back a Reply. You should consult a local attorney to verify that this information is accurate for your state. Thank you for using Pearl.com- Just Answer. We appreciate your business.
Irwin Law, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4836
Experience: Lawyer- Broker 30+years - foreclosure, short sale, liens, title attorney.
Irwin Law and 4 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have another question that I need your help with..
You mentioned earlier that if you are in my position, you would move the stuff out to the storage.
Currently, I have a lawyer concerning the unlawful detainer, who is working on getting an agreement of extending my time to keep my house and get some compensation for the cash for keys. The last phone conversation between my lawyer and the CEO of the investment company who now owns my house; they may have already donated and thrown away all my personal properties except the furniture & appliances....with their excuse that they thought I had abandoned my home including everything in it; and would never return. However, since the stuff is worth thousands of $$ and they are not allowed to just take it without properly storing them for at least 15 days...that can be a lawsuit for conversion of property.
My lawyer said he will hear back from the lawyer of the other party in a day or two..My dilema is... I have to go out of town again for a couple weeks.... and I don't know what the other party may come up with. If I remove my furniture and apppliances....then I may reduce my lawyers bargaining power to be able to get a further moving date and compensation of all the missing items. On the other hand, if I don't move these furnitures out...can they do something about it while I am out of town? Btw, another piece of puzzle...I just found out that they took my home off market since my lawyer contacted them a few days ago addressing my complaint that they used our furniture and appliances on their ad. Please advise as soon as you can. Thank you.
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thanks for your follow up question. These are things that your current attorney should advise you about since s/he is currently negotiating with the other party. S/he knows what their intentions are at this point. Be sure that s/he knows about your having to be gone for a period of time.

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