I recently bought a property at a foreclosure auction that has been vacant for over a year. The utilities have been off for two years and a management company was hired by the loan company to winterize the house and do periodic inspections. The owner was an elderly woman that passed away in 2016.
My partner and I would like to try to enforce the 30 day abandonment clause written into Michigan's foreclosure law. I cant seem to get a straight answer on how to go about doing that and what it takes for the property to be considered abandoned. We hired a lawyer to send certified letters to the children of the deceased owner, stating that they have fifteen days to respond. The lawyer's assistant thinks that since we are a third party we don't have any rights to get the property to be considered abandoned. A colleague of mine mine thinks that since the property should be considered to be abandoned since there is a statement on the door and has been under their control for over a year. We are hesitant to start renovations because of the chance that a family member could come forward and try to claim the house. Seems to me that the family members should have some measure of accountability since the owner passed away years ago and should not be able to come forward now and claim the property.
I am hoping someone out there has gone through this before and could offer some advice on how to handle the situation. Any information will be greatly appreciated. See below for a copy of the Michigan Foreclosure Law.
Thank YouREVISED JUDICATURE ACT OF 1961 (EXCERPT)
Act 236 of 1961
600.3241a Abandonment of premises; residential property not exceeding 4 units; presumption.
For purposes of this chapter, if foreclosure proceedings have been commenced under this chapter against residential property not exceeding 4 units, there is a conclusive presumption that the premises have been abandoned if all of the following requirements are satisfied before the end of the redemption period:
(a) The mortgagee has made a personal inspection of the mortgaged premises and the inspection does not reveal that the mortgagor or persons claiming under the mortgagor are presently occupying or will occupy the premises.
(b) The mortgagee has posted a notice at the time of making the personal inspection and has mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, a notice to the mortgagor at the mortgagor's last known address, which notices state that the mortgagee considers the premises abandoned and that the mortgagor will lose all rights of ownership 30 days after the foreclosure sale or when the time to provide the notice required by subdivision (c) expires, whichever is later, unless the mortgagor; the mortgagor's heirs or personal representative; or a person lawfully claiming from or under 1 of them provides the notice required by subdivision (c).
(c) Within 15 days after the notice required by subdivision (b) was posted and mailed, the mortgagor; the mortgagor's heirs or personal representative; or a person lawfully claiming from or under 1 of them has not given written notice by first-class mail to the mortgagee at an address provided by the mortgagee in the notices required by subdivision (b) stating that the premises are not abandoned.
History: Add. 1986, Act 94, Imd. Eff. May 7, 1986 ;-- Am. 2006, Act 579, Imd. Eff. Jan. 3, 2007 ;-- Am. 2014, Act 431, Imd. Eff. Dec. 30, 2014
When was the Sheriff's Deed issued? If the woman lost the property 2 years ago and the bank has been holding on to it, then the redemption period is long past. If the redemption period is still active, you may want to check probate records and see if it is somehow tied up there.
Are you working with an attorney who specializes in real estate? If not I would find a different one.
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