How can I stop being harassed after bankruptcy and where do I start? 16 Answers as of June 01, 2015

I filed Chapter 7 and included my house (mortgage) in the bankruptcy. It was discharged over a year ago and I have not lived in the house for that long as well. I am constantly getting mail from the city, sewer division and from the current mortgage holder and when I call and tell them this information I am told I am still responsible for the property because my name is still on record as being the owner. What can I do? Can I be sued for property violations or mortgage payments? I have tried to contact my lawyer and he will not return my calls or emails.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Novakov & Associates, PLLC
Novakov & Associates, PLLC | LINDA S. NOVAKOV
Until the house is foreclosed on and sold, the property remains in your name. You are responsible for the taxes, insurance, and any violations that are levied against it. Contact the lender and offer to sign the property over via a deed in lieu of foreclosure. There are some additional requirements, but it may be the best choice.
Answer Applies to: Kentucky
Replied: 6/1/2015
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
As to the city and sewer you are still responsible for those bills that accrue post petition as the homeowner. The discharge does not relieve you of future taxes or sewer fees if you own the residence. As to the mortgage they should not be contacting you to collect the payment. They can contact you about foreclosure or a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 5/29/2015
Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
Until the property is either sold or foreclosed upon you remain the owner of record, and as such, you remain responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the property as well as for any HOA fees and property taxes. Also, as the owner you would be liable for any injury on the property resulting from negligence.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 5/28/2015
A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
Well darlin, since you appear to still own the house, guess what! You owe all debts relating to home ownership that occurred after you filed bankruptcy. Why you haven't taken steps to sell the property and deal with the problem is a mystery!
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 5/28/2015
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
Pay an experienced BK attorney for one hour of their time to review your BK file with them.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 5/28/2015
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    Shame on your lawyer. I am sorry he or she does not recognise the depth of loyalty to a client which the relaltionship entails. In any case, you might retain a different, and more responsible, lawyer, to work this out. Failing that, notify all the utilities and other creditors that you are no longer in the house. Send copies to the mortgage lender(s). Separately write the mortgage lender, offer to give it a 'deed-in-lieu' of foreclosure. Tell them that if this is not dealt with (either by deed-in-lieu or some other way in which the lender takes over care of the property promptly (say 30 days) you will have the water, power, etc. shut off. But it's best to consult a local lawyer first.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 5/28/2015
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    Bankruptcy doesn't take you name off the deed, it only releases you from liability for the debt. Since your name is still on the deed, you're liable for property violations and taxes. As well as, for injuries that are caused by the vacant house (kids play in vacant houses, etc). Your attorney should have gone over this with you. The best thing to do is get with you mortgage lender and do a short sale.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/28/2015
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    Unfortunately it sounds like you either went for the cheapest lawyer available or one without any experience or staff. In any event, the bankruptcy did not change ownership of the home only a foreclosure can do that and you cannot compel the mortgagee to foreclose. You will continue to own the home and be responsible for the property although not liable for mortgage payments unless you reaffirmed. There is a difference in attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/28/2015
    Tokarska Law Center
    Tokarska Law Center | Kathryn U. Tokarska
    As long as you remain the legal property owner you are responsible for upkeep. The discharge in your Bankruptcy makes it so that the creditor cannot sue you to collect for not paying the mortgage. The creditor CAN and should foreclose however there is no law that requires them to foreclose at any particular time if ever. Unfortunately if a property owner vacates before the ownership transfers through foreclosure these types of problems can go on, especially if the property is not very valuable or has some other issues and the lender is not very keen on taking over the property along with its problems. I advise my clients to stay in the house for as long as possible, basically until a Trustee Sale Date is set, as doing so means you can live there basically for free MINUS the maintenance costs to keep things up to code. Alternatively some clients have rented out the property at a discounted rate with full disclosures to tenant that the mortgage is not being paid but you need money to keep things maintained and the discounted rent is so they keep the place occupied (less likely to attract vagrants) but knowing they may be inconvenienced by having to move if a foreclosure is scheduled to take place. I have heard this problem described a few times and same goes for old cars that the lender doesn't want to repossess but the owner don't have clear title so they can't sell it. You almost wish at that point someone would just steal the darn thing, especially if the car is falling apart and you have no place to park it. There may be some legal maneuvering that can be done to transfer the property to some kind of a corporation that has no assets and just keeps the property until foreclosure. I heard this mentioned but no more details than just that. Perhaps a real estate attorney may know more or maybe someone you know needs a roof over their heads, even temporarily, that you can let stay there for nominal rent that will cover expenses of maintenance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/28/2015
    Garner Law Office
    Garner Law Office | Daniel Garner
    Hundreds of thousands of former homeowners share your plight and the sad truth is, there is no easy way out. Check the mortgage holder's letters for disclaimers stating that if you filed for bankruptcy, the letters are merely for information and not an attempt to collect a debt. The city will continue to bill you as long as they can, and will not lift a finger to help you even if there are squatters living in your house. As a property owner, whether you like it or not, you remain responsible for whatever happens there until you get rid of it. The most direct route is to contact the current mortgage holder and offer to sign the deed over to them. If they don't want to do that, offer to help them sell it. The banks don't really want all the property they have, but they don't want to go to the expense of selling it either. So if you make it easy for them, even to the point of delivering them a willing buyer, they will go along with it if the offer is high enough. If you go to that much trouble, however, make sure that the bank agrees to pay off any unpaid bills you have from the property, including taxes, fines and penalties. Otherwise those bills could follow you even after the property is out of your hands.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/28/2015
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    The bankruptcy discharge eliminated your legal obligation to pay the mortgage loan. Since you are still the owner you are responsible for the post bankruptcy obligations except the mortgage and will be responsible if and until the lender forecloses and title passes to a new owner. Depending on where the property is located you could be civilly or criminally responsible for up keep and securing the property from hazards and trespassers.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/28/2015
    Freeman Law Group, LLC
    Freeman Law Group, LLC | Derek Freeman
    If you are the owner of the property, you are still responsible for paying taxes, HOA dues, utilities, etc. on the property. Your bankruptcy may have discharged your debt on the property, but not any other liabilities arising due to your ownership. It sounds like the mortgage lender didn't foreclose after your bankruptcy. But I'm confused by your mention of a new mortgage holder. What is your relationship with this new lender? Were you a party to an agreement transferring the mortgage to another lender? If you're on the loan, and if the loan was agreed upon post-petition, you are responsible for it. If your previous mortgagor sold the note to another lender after the bankruptcy discharge, then that represents a problem. For them, not you. Your bankruptcy protects you from having to pay on the debt, so long as you included it in your bankruptcy. If I were you, I would get an attorney to help you with this problem.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/27/2015
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Yes, you are on the hook for code enforcement until the lender forecloses. That might be a long time depending on how under water it is. Until they actually foreclose, you still own it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2015
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    Your attorney should have told you that you remain liable for taxes, water , etc but the lender can not send demands for payment. That would be a discharge violation for which you can sue. This kind of lawsuit would have no legal fees because the lender would have to pay your legal fee and you would get money damages also.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/27/2015
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    Your responsibility for the mortgage was discharged but until the bank completes foreclosure you are the legal owner. If a Trustee's sale wasn't imminent your attorney should have had you do a short sale to cut off this liability.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2015
    Law Office of Michael Johnson
    Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
    Yes you can sued for property violations but you cannot be sued for the Mortgage payments. You may need to contact another attorney to discuss your options. You may be able to sue the mortgage company if they are asking for payments.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/27/2015
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney