In the ever-widening foreclosure crisis, stories of families losing their homes from predatory lending practices, free-falling property values and modification scams are legion. But for one Houston couple, the reason for their foreclosure was entirely out of their control.
Brian and Khanklink Pryon purchased their Houston home in 2008 from Wells Fargo, after the previous owner defaulted, according to Fox 26 News. They had never missed a payment on their $700-a-month mortgage. But unknown to them, the title of ownership was never delivered to Wells Fargo because the title company tasked with sending the paperwork went bankrupt shortly after the purchase.
As a result, the couple has been stuck in legal limbo for close to two years, with the bank maintaining that the couple doesn't own the home.
Now Wells Fargo, which still technically owns the property because of the oversight, is attempting to foreclose on the couple. That is, unless they're willing to pay $170,000 to buy the home back -- $30,000 more than the bank had agreed to sell it for in 2008. Pryon claims that the bank has jacked up the price because of purported "late fees."
Unfortunately, the Pryons (pictured at left) are far from the only homeowners fighting a questionable foreclosure. In 2010, Fort Lauderdale homeowner Jason Grodensky was served with foreclosure papers –- on a home he purchased entirely with cash, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. As in the Pryons' case, the confusion started when the deed to Grodensky's home, which was purchased at short sale, ended up in the hands of a government-backed lender.
Bank of America, which ordered the foreclosure, has since apologized for the incident and agreed to pay to correct the problem.
And lest readers think that banks are the only ones implicated in unwarranted foreclosures, AOL Real Estate reported on the story of Sgt. Michael Clauer of Frisco, Texas, whose $300,000 home (which he had owned free and clear) was foreclosed on by the local homeowners association. The reason? His family fell behind on their $800 membership fee.
In Texas, where HOAs are granted extraordinary power over their members, an association can foreclose on its members' homes without a court order if the owner fails to pay dues. Clauer was overseas on active duty when the foreclosure was ordered. After a thorough shellacking from the media, the HOA relented and returned the home to the Clauers. But not before the HOA reportedly received death threats.
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