Banks Keep Breaking Into Houses, And Homeowners Are Fighting Back
Every day in neighborhoods across the country, low-paid workers with little oversight or training decide whether to break into someone else’s home.
They are independent contractors working indirectly for banks, including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.
Mortgage agreements give these banks the right to enter abandoned properties, even those that are locked up, to secure them against the ravages of weather and to perform other simple repairs. But the contractors they hire to do this work sometimes force their way into houses and condominiums that are still occupied by their owners, changing out locks and removing what they find inside, including family heirlooms and other valuables.
“These companies don’t ask the homeowner, don’t go to a court to get permission to go inside,” said Matthew Weidner, a consumer lawyer in St. Petersburg, Fla., who has handled several such cases. “They just send unlicensed, unregulated people who break down doors and do whatever they want.”
Fed up with what they claim is a serious violation of their property rights — and sometimes outright theft — homeowners are fighting back.