How can I un-own a property ?

117 Replies

I own an now long since abandoned house in NJ.  There was no mortgage but the taxes and W/S bills now far exceed any possible value of the property.  The town used to clean up the property and then put a lien on the property for the costs.  This proving generally ineffective to their purposes - they have adopted an alternative tactic now.  Now they do nothing but demand that the owner clean up the house, repaint it, and etc.  And then if the owner doesn't do it they issue a 'ticket' - which results in a summons to appear in municipal court, where the judge then revokes the owners driver's license.

My question is:  can I form a land trust or other entity, sell the subject property to the created entity, and then just let them chase that phantom?  Who, after all;  even if they do ever catch them, will not be at all inconvenienced by having it's driving privileges revoked in the state of new jersey.

Or can you all think of any alternative resolution to this issue?

stephen

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I would think there is always a paper trail on the land trust. Maybe post on craigslist. Be honest! But someone would give a dollar for a house regardless I'd bet.

Or maybe ask @Andy Dufriane? Lol

@Stephen S.  

  WoW is all I can say.. usually you just let these type of  properties go to tax sale and be done with them. Are they not selling these type of homes at the Tax sale ?

Donate it to Habitat for Humans or a church group if they will have it is one thing I have done with my derelict OREO that I end up with.

Yes, you can! 

When municipalities use tactics to extract money from you that you have abandoned any hope of receiving corresponding benefits, you need to change your own tactics to protect your own interests. After all, city and all government is supposed to work and represent you.

Yes, I've found it necessary to employ and implement the very strategy you mention. The only difference is that I found a relative of my former borrower (I regrettably foreclosed on a TD note and got an alligator property) to happily act as trustee. 

Perhaps you could name the city or agency as trustee (!) and maintain some level of control of designation of trustee as bene of your irrevocable trust : )

I have heard of quick deeps. You and a lawyer sit down with someone who want it's and makes a quick $1 deed that signs it over to another entity. This is of course if you do not care about any lose you have acquired since you purchased it and would like to get out from under it. At least I did that with my wife's fathers house who was going through cancer and he put the house in his brothers name and that's how I got the house.

Do you, perhaps, mean Quit Claim Deed (which releases any interest you may or may not own but does not affirmatively assure that you own any interest)?

You might consider checking these things out before posting. Just a friendly thought.

@Stephen S.  I'd have to agree with Jay Hinrichs on this when he suggest you donate it to Habitat for Humanity. Either that or just sell it. Afterall, you don't really want it, its abandoned and you're an absentee owner. What's the point of doing the trust deed if you don't want anything to do with the house and its not even bringing in any monies?  Help revitalize the community, give someone in dire need a place to stay via the HH.  

Kudos,

Mary

Let me expand - 

I will happily give this house to anyone.  In fact;  I'll pay anyone $100. to take it.  How about you?  Be a quick $100. for you, eh?

I have already quit claimed it to people. But no one has ever taken it. No one wants it. Tax liens and water/sewer liens are probably double the ARV and running at 18%.

This city is the barely walking dead.  It really has no reason to exist.  It has tens of thousands of houses in the same and worse situations.  The city itself refused to take this house back.  And told me point blank:  Why would we want it?  We're not letting you off the hook - then who would pay us?

They tried passing a law which made the owners of the houses personally liable for all liens.  That was later struck down by a higher court - so they countered with  "enforcement of untidy lawn ordinance"  punishable by whatever the judge decrees.  Which can include jail time, garnishee of wages, or . . . revocation of the owner's driver's license.

That has already happened to me.  All notices went to the property.  The tickets went to the property.  The summons to go to court was served at the property.  All obviously went unanswered and I was eventually convicted in absentia.  One day I was stopped for driving on the revoked list - there was a warrant out for my arrest.

Crime?  An untidy lawn.  Fines:  $5500. plus court costs.

stephen

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Do you really think that someone like Habitat or Goodwill or one of those will take it as a donation?  What would they do with it?  

stephen
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  Originally posted by @Mary B.:

@Stephen S. I'd have to agree with Jay Hinrichs on this when he suggest you donate it to Habitat for Humanity. Either that or just sell it. Afterall, you don't really want it, its abandoned and you're an absentee owner. What's the point of doing the trust deed if you don't want anything to do with the house and its not even bringing in any monies?  Help revitalize the community, give someone in dire need a place to stay via the HH.  

Kudos,

Mary

Apparently no one will buy the liens. <G>

How will Habitat make it fly?  What will they do with a house on which more than any possible value is owed in back taxes?

stephen
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Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:

@Stephen S. 

  WoW is all I can say.. usually you just let these type of  properties go to tax sale and be done with them. Are they not selling these type of homes at the Tax sale ?

Donate it to Habitat for Humans or a church group if they will have it is one thing I have done with my derelict OREO that I end up with.

What part of NJ is it in? there's quite a few people in BP that are from the Garden State that may be able to do something with it. It's kind of strange that the city won't take it or do a tax sale on it! Hope you can get it off your hands soon.

This house is in Camden NJ.  No one wants a house there.  Especially a house worth $25,000. with $75,000. in liens on it.

The city doesn't want it - they know better.  

A tax sale?  Who would buy it? <G>

stephen
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Originally posted by @Thomas Weir:

What part of NJ is it in? there's quite a few people in BP that are from the Garden State that may be able to do something with it. It's kind of strange that the city won't take it or do a tax sale on it! Hope you can get it off your hands soon.

@Stephen S.

Is it near Rutger University? They are buying up property all over south NJ and are the only genuine chance of revitalization of anykind in Camden NJ. If not Rutgers Univ then donate it to some non-profit organization. Every tarnished neighborhood has a non-profit org that buys up vacants and hold them. Abused women & children shelters, drug rehab centers, half-way houses etc(bing/google and see whats active in Camden). A non-profit will have the pull and know-how to get the place renovated and those taxes depleted. 

What made you buy in condemn, I meant, Camden NJ? Was it 30+year ago?

Kudos,

Mary  

If you donate it, the city is still going to try to get money out of you. Here is HFH website if you decide to donate it.

https://www.habitat.org/cd/giving/one/donate.aspx?...


You should get with a young real estate lawyer fresh out of college. They really work hard trying to get a name for themselves. You might can wholesale it.

Well;  "near" in the sense of being in the same city.  But not 'walking distance' near;  no.

Camden will never be fixed.  It is now a perpetually bottomless rathole for public funds.  Camden's basic demographic reality will never provide for an alternative.  The reason is that is is too close to Philadelphia.  Although Camden has never been geographically more than 1/2 mile from Philadelphia - for many years is was access-separated by a large bridge-less river.  So for those years Camden was it's own entity:  industry, business, stores, restaurants, theaters, libraries, museums, schools, and assorted fine housing for everyone.  But in 1925 the Walt Whitman Bridge to Philadelphia opened and the gradual exodus of money began.  And by 1975 it was nearly complete.  By 2000 even longtime industrial residents like RCA and Campbells Soup were gone.  There is no work, there is no private money, there is no tax base, and anyone with money to invest takes it to Philadelphia.  It is just too easy to get the Philadelphia.

Even Rutgers is just a leech.  And every property they own gets removed forever from the tax rolls - as they pay no taxes.

Many years ago I bought houses in the last decent section of Camden;  Fairview.  At one time the city of Camden required all it's employees to live in the city.  The police and fire departments chose to populate isolated Fairview - the farthest and least accessible from the center of Camden.  As a result;  it was a safe as a church to live there.  Any criminal activity in Fairview was dealt with Very harshly - and the word spread.

Then Camden changed that law - as they could not find enough staffing who would agree to live in Camden - even in Fairview. <G>

I bought houses in Camden because they were solid, brick, cheap, and HUD had a waiting list of tenants to choose from.  The checks always came on time and always cleared.  Two or three years gross rent would recover the entire purchase price.  And at that time I knew people in city hall and the HUD office so it was all low hassle.

But now - things have changed. <G>

This long abandoned house is the sole remnant of those halcyon days.  And I fully expected it to be gone in the natural way of unpaid tax houses.  But no;  even Camden does not want it's own houses.  Even the city recognises that they are worse than worthless and refuses to take them.

One answer for someone with limited funds would be to take over the house, pay the W&S liens, get the water turned on, and live there forever after.  The city will never foreclose.  However, I am not that person.

stephen
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Originally posted by @Mary B.:

@Stephen S.

Is it near Rutger University? They are buying up property all over south NJ and are the only genuine chance of revitalization of anykind in Camden NJ. If not Rutgers Univ then donate it to some non-profit organization. Every tarnished neighborhood has a non-profit org that buys up vacants and hold them. Abused women & children shelters, drug rehab centers, half-way houses etc(bing/google and see whats active in Camden). A non-profit will have the pull and know-how to get the place renovated and those taxes depleted. 

What made you buy in condemn, I meant, Camden NJ? Was it 30+year ago?

Kudos,

Mary  

Originally posted by @Stephen S.:

Let me expand - 

I will happily give this house to anyone.  In fact;  I'll pay anyone $100. to take it.  How about you?  Be a quick $100. for you, eh?


Drag a homeless guy down to the title company with you and sell it to him for $1 and give him the $100.  I doubt they will pay to extradite a homeless guy for lawn charges.   

A paper trail doesn't concern me.  I don't care if anyone knows I sold the house to someone.  My interest in solely in The Owner Of Record being someone other than me.  A land trust or LLC won't mind having it's driver's license revoked - whereas I find it a great inconvenience.

They don't sue me to pay them - they convict me of the municipal crime they have created.  They issue a summons - like a traffic ticket - which has financial penalties.  And they then enforce the non-payment of the fine by revoking my driver's license.  If a land trust or LLC commits a crime - what would they do?  Say I made the address of the land trust either the house in question or the address of a house I am going to sell next year in Arizona?  I wouldn't be the owner of the house anyway.  How would they get to me?  It seems perfectly legal to sell the house to someone, in this case;  an investment company.

Oh wait!  You say someone will give a dollar for a house?  How about you then?  Tell you what;  I'll waive the dollar and send you $100. right after settlement.  Can't beat that, eh?  So?  How about it?  

stephen
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 Originally posted by @Josh Compton:

I would think there is always a paper trail on the land trust. Maybe post on craigslist. Be honest! But someone would give a dollar for a house regardless I'd bet.

Or maybe ask @Andy Dufriane? Lol

@Stephen S.

You're right about Camden never being totally revitalized, pardon if that's how my statement came off. Its been condemned for decades for the most part. My suggestion is simply hand it off / sell it to Rutgers Univ which already has a strong presence there and as you stated will have the power to get those taxes omitted as most colleges/universities do. 

Its not that the city of Camden doesn't want it they can't afford it. They probably don't have those employees / department to enforce tax liens. I know they've let go over 70% of their police force a year or so ago so the sheriff may have been included.  All that's left is the mayor and maybe council people with a few cops and the cast from Night Court(the tv series, so to state). They've changed their laws to generate monies anyway possible but don't have the employees to enforce them. From the examples that you've provided that sounds like their objective is to get you to pay to get out jail, to get your license back or whatever fine they have placed to be removed and to keep at it full speed ahead to get even the tiniest bit of income. Desperate certainly but they've been desperate for the longest so nothing is beneath them. There's probably hundreds of property owners like you that can't get rid of their Camden vacant nuisance to save their lives. 

Kudos,

Mary     

Originally posted by @Rick Harmon:

Perhaps you could name the city or agency as trustee (!) and maintain some level of control of designation of trustee as bene of your irrevocable trust : )

This is VERY funny!!! Just quit claim it to the city.. or the mayor. Like a reverse eminent domain. I LOVE IT!!!

Sounds nice but dDoesn't the person getting the property have to accept it?  Because otherwise I could saddle any one of you with the property by filing in your name and address on a quit claim.  The grantee has to sign their agreement of the terms.  How shall I go about getting the city to do that? <g>

Why not do some minimal repairs to make the house liveable again and rent the property to someone who gets a check every month? This would at least provide some money that could go towards back taxes and your water/sewer

Originally posted by @Jassem A.:

Why not do some minimal repairs to make the house liveable again and rent the property to someone who gets a check every month? This would at least provide some money that could go towards back taxes and your water/sewer

 Jassem, when people talk about  "war zones" on BP they are sometimes just talking about  bad neighborhoods. But Camden is a true "war zone".. a city in pretty much total decay. Rolling Stone did a fascinating article on it last year; the title sums up the situation there -- Apocalypse, New Jersey: A Dispatch From America's Most Desperate Town

I am all for investing in and revitalizing our cities, but there's a point where there is nothing an individual like Stephen can do but cut and run.


Stephen,
 
 Wow, that terrible...

 I assume you have your drivers license out of Florida? If so, I would "assume" that they could only suspend your driving privilege in NJ, is that correct? What happened on the side of the road when you were pulled over, you weren't arrested & towed were you? Did they let you drive away without any tickets? 

  I would do something to get it out of your name. An entity sounds good but that wouldn't remove what's already against you, would it? 


Originally posted by @Stephen S.:

Let me expand - 

I will happily give this house to anyone.  In fact;  I'll pay anyone $100. to take it.  How about you?  Be a quick $100. for you, eh?

I have already quit claimed it to people. But no one has ever taken it. No one wants it. Tax liens and water/sewer liens are probably double the ARV and running at 18%.

This city is the barely walking dead.  It really has no reason to exist.  It has tens of thousands of houses in the same and worse situations.  The city itself refused to take this house back.  And told me point blank:  Why would we want it?  We're not letting you off the hook - then who would pay us?

They tried passing a law which made the owners of the houses personally liable for all liens.  That was later struck down by a higher court - so they countered with  "enforcement of untidy lawn ordinance"  punishable by whatever the judge decrees.  Which can include jail time, garnishee of wages, or . . . revocation of the owner's driver's license.

That has already happened to me.  All notices went to the property.  The tickets went to the property.  The summons to go to court was served at the property.  All obviously went unanswered and I was eventually convicted in absentia.  One day I was stopped for driving on the revoked list - there was a warrant out for my arrest.

Crime?  An untidy lawn.  Fines:  $5500. plus court costs.

stephen

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I lived in South Jersey in the 90's and Camden was a crappy place then. I would not want to own anything their.

@Jean Bolger  

The city will eventually be cleaned up and a good number of poor people do have a source of income.  I invest in an area that many people might consider a war-zone and it is not terrible.  I wouldn't suggest it to someone that doesn't live nearby or to someone that is scared to go there.  What's nice with these areas is that it doesn't take much work to make a property the nicest one on the block since all the other ones on the block are in complete disrepair.

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