Can a loan servicer forcibly enter a property prior to foreclosure?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with RE/MAX of Great Falls

If you are behind on your payments and no longer occupy the property, eventually the lender will secure the property and you will be locked out.  If it is listed for sale and you are pursuing a short sale this can be frustrating.  If possible, make sure it is obvious you are still occupying the property.

Original content by Richard Weisser

Who can enter a property prior to foreclosure?Property preservation is a hot topic these days. If a servicer determines that a house is no longer occupied, they will enter the property by any means, change the locks, and start performing interior and exterior maintenance.

Property owners (and very often their real estate agents as well) often become incensed at the intrusion. They ask: “What gives them the right to enter MY house without MY permission?”

And while that is a legal question that should always be directed to an attorney in the state where the property is located, it is very likely that buried somewhere in that pile of paperwork that the borrower signed at closing was a provision to allow a servicer to enter an abandoned property for the purpose of preservation.

In any case, legal or not, it happens every day.

It’s just another facet of the new real estate reality.

Note: Laws vary by state. Always consult an attorney in your state with any legal questions.

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Comments (3)

Terry McCarley
Coastal Real Estate - Cape Coral FL - Cape Coral, FL

I have seen several homes in my area that the banks have changed the locks on.  Sellers really should be aware of the fact that this can happen to them and it can really mess up a short sale.  I'm not a lawyer but one of my clients spoke to a lawyer after their locks were changed and the lawyer told them to just call a locksmith and change the locks again.  I was actually surprised the lawyer gave them that advice.

Oct 03, 2012 02:24 AM
Stephanie Greenberg
Lion Real Estate - Fresno, CA
Fresno Homes For Sale

Your correct, it happens daily and is very annoying.  Especially when the property preservation calls you up and asks for a copy of the listing agreement, you send it, tell them that you and homeowner are maintaining property, then they still go to the property, see it is maintained but still change the locks and post a "we have found this home vacant and abandoned on this date" notice on the door for all the world to see the home is vacant and inviting break ins and theft of anything attached or detached.  Hot button with me, can you tell?

Oct 03, 2012 02:25 AM
Doug Maas
RE/MAX of Great Falls - Great Falls, MT
Broker/Owner - REMAX Of Great Falls - MT Real Esta
Stephanie - I think it is a hot button for most of us who work with Distressed Properties. Terry - The Bank will also send you the key if you ask.
Oct 04, 2012 12:04 AM