We’re told that the housing crisis is over, and especially we’re told that we’ve reached the end of all these “technical errors” in the documentation and foreclosure process. We’re over that hump, the banks have cleaned up their act because those brave souls in the Obama Administration and the state AGs “took them on.” That’s what Kamala Harris, the Attorney General of California, implied the other night at the DNC convention. Somebody should send her this clipping from her home state:
A local couple’s dreams have been shattered by a foreclosure mistake that left their retirement home in ruins.
When banks take over foreclosed homes, they often try to salvage the contents inside to recoup their losses. But what if they have no right to those contents in the first place? Alvin Tjosaas says that scenario is all too real for him.
Back in 1961, a 14-year-old Tjosaas literally helped his father build a vacation home in Twentynine Palms. He’s taken his family there ever since, sharing unforgettable moments [...]
The house recently had valuables stored in the garage, including decades worth of family heirlooms. But the house was in ruins after Tjosaas says subcontractors hired by Wells Fargo entered the property with a foreclosure notice in hand. The notice had the name Stephen A. Janosik on it, but the address for the Tjosaas family home.
“It’s the wrong house, simple as that. It’s a big mistake, but sort of a simple mistake,” said Tjosaas.
Tjosaas is being way too nice about this. It’s a simple mistake that should simply NEVER HAPPEN. There are several layers of alleged safeguards to prevent this from ever happening. It’s not the kind of thing that can be explained by a wrong address – this happens too often for that to be the case. The address was written on all the forms because the banks have about as much knowledge about who owns what and why as the convenience store clerk down the street. The subcontractors destroyed this house, and got paid handsomely for it.
Wells Fargo is apparently making amends, offering the family $260,000 for their mistake (the Wells Fargo rep told Mr. Tjosaas outright that he sought them out for compensation after “media calls”). The larger point is that it’s a mistake that reveals the continued chaos in the land title system, which the big banks simply broke. I’m almost surprised this kind of chaos doesn’t happen more often.
But remember, housing recovery, nothing to see here…