Real Estate Law
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What was their response to your deed in lieu request?
There may be a bit of confusion about what a short sale is and what it does. With a short sale, the lender agrees to allow the owner to sell the house for less than what is owed. As long as this is a "non-recourse" short sale, which most are, then the lender can't come after the borrower for any deficiency.. That is kind of the point of a short sale... to get the borrower out of the house that they can't afford to keep without the bank having to go through a formal foreclosure.
So if you didn't get any traction with a deed in lieu request, the next step is to ask for a non-recourse short sale and explain that you aren't going to pay the mortgage again and are prepared to file bankruptcy if they foreclose and try to sue you.
I would also go ahead and mail them the keys along with a letter stating that you are abandoning the property so they can retake possession and secure it as well as monitor and maintain the exterior so it doesn't get vandalized.
But as for your direct question....no, you can't force them to foreclose if they don't want to... However, there is nothing that would prevent you from renting the house out to someone and earning income from it until they do foreclose or work something out with you. If it is habitable, there is no reason for it to just sit empty until the bank decides what to do...