Foreclosing On Your Property? Why You Could Be Facing Criminal Charges

by Ladyblogger on July 3, 2012

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(US Law) No one wants to lose their home. If you are facing foreclosure on your property, you understand all of the emotions that are involved. You are scared, angry, confused, and not sure what life will bring you in the future. When people are experiencing all of these different emotions at once, it is common for them to act out. Some homeowners, because of their strong feelings of resentment towards the bank, might turn to damaging the property the bank is in the process of foreclosing. When you receive a notice of foreclosure, you should think twice before causing damage to the home you once called yours. Understand how a small act could land you in jail and think twice before your next home is a jail cell.

Does The Lender Have the Right to File Charges?

When you are paying your mortgage on-time, you have rights to the home. If you are foreclosing on the property because you cannot afford your mortgage, the lender will end all of your rights to the home and will take over ownership so that they can find a new buyer. The process of foreclosure can take anywhere from 3 months to a year, depending on the workload of the lender and the laws in the state. When the process is started, the borrower is allowed to live in the home until the process is complete. While the borrower is living in the home, the lender is the owner and failure to maintain the property can lead to criminal charges. Whenever intentional damage is caused, the lender does have the right to proceed with filing criminal charges against you.

What Actions Are Considered Criminal?

Knowing the difference between neglecting a property and intentionally damaging a property is very important. It is this difference that distinguishes between facing criminal charges or civil liability lawsuits. If you understand what is considered criminal before you do it, it can save you a lot of money and can even save your criminal record. All of the acts that lead to criminal charges are intentional. You may be angry and resentful that the bank would not modify your loan. With this being said, losing your home is enough. You do not want to be sentenced to 6 months in jail or penalized thousands of dollars just because your anger took hold of you. Here are some of the acts that can lead to criminal charges:

1. Intentionally setting a home on fire will lead to a felony arson charge.
2. Breaking windows.
3. Destroying flooring.
4. Breaking or intentionally clogging pipes.
5. Other destructive acts.
6. Stealing fixtures like toilets, sinks, and built-in appliances.

All of these acts come with serious consequences. It is up to the lender whether or not charges will be filed. If the lender does proceed with filing charges and you are guilty of any of these acts, you should hire an Orlando criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your interests.

What is Civil Liability?

Just because your acts are not criminal does not mean you will not pay for them. If you choose not to maintain your property, you could be sued for violating your mortgage contract. This means you will owe more money down the line and the civil lawsuit will be just one more hassle to deal with.

Each case is unique. If your lender is threatening filing charges against you, you should hire an Orlando criminal attorney as soon as possible. The attorney will review your case, let you know the laws in the state of Florida, and will come up with a strategy to protect your rights.

Molly Henshaw is a freelance writer and law student in the Washington DC area. She is also a contributing author for the defense team of Katz & Phillips. It is important to contact an attorney if your lender is accusing you of intentional property damage!

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