Landlord defaults force out renters

  • Follow Metro

In the midst of Leila Bell's second battle with lung cancer, she learned she faces eviction from her home -- through no fault of her own.

She and her Fleming Avenue duplex neighbor say they have consistently paid their rent, but their landlord defaulted on his mortgage loan. The bank, HSBC Bank USA, foreclosed and now seeks dispossession of Mrs. Bell and her neighbor.

As the housing crisis deepens, theirs is a story heard often -- renters forced out when banks foreclose on the owner's property.

Mrs. Bell, 57, is so depressed about the situation that it is leaving her exhausted, said granddaughter Chameka Bell. She moved in with her grandmother two years ago to help her.

A week ago, Ms. Bell sat in Richmond County Magistrate Court with her grandmother and their 67-year-old neighbor, who is also in poor health.

The foreclosure was completed in January. The Wednesday morning hearing concerned the bank's request to evict the women.

A visibly frustrated Presiding Judge H. Scott Allen struggled with the idea that an order from him would put Mrs. Bell with her oxygen tank -- along with her ailing neighbor -- in the street.

Their former landlord, Timothy J. Wilson through Sand Hills Urban Development Inc., said he got caught in the housing crisis. He got grants to fix several properties in the Sand Hills neighborhood and thought he would be able to make the mortgage payments through the rent collections.

But when the adjustable-rate mortgage payments skyrocketed after two years and the property taxes rose, he couldn't keep up financially, Mr. Wilson told the judge.

Mrs. Bell's daughter Toyia Folsom said the family knew nothing of the financial troubles until a county marshal showed up two weeks ago with an eviction notice.

"She loves this apartment; she is in love with this apartment," Ms. Folsom said. Her mother knows all the neighbors who help keep a watch on her, Ms. Folsom said.

Ms. Bell said she can see the adverse effects on her grandmother. Moving would be devastating, she said.

Finding the time would be hard on Ms. Bell, who in addition to helping her grandmother is finishing her degree at Paine College and working at a restaurant.

Mrs. Bell, who is on a fixed income after working 27 years as a nursing assistant, was also admitted to the hospital this week. Ms. Bell said her grandmother is in intensive care.

She and her neighbor wish they could talk the bank or the new owners into letting them stay on and pay rent. At Judge Allen's suggestion to show good faith, they have made their rent payments into the court registry, where the money will be held.

Judge Allen said he would take the matter under advisement but cautioned the women that he will have to rule eventually. As long as the foreclosure was proper, he has no choice but to sign the order. Once the eviction order is signed, a marshal will serve it, giving a resident 24 hours to vacate.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

FUTURE HELP

A bill pending in the Georgia General Assembly would give a tenant 60 days to remain in a rental property after a foreclosure if he holds a valid lease and continues to pay rent to a court registry. Senate Bill 140 is sponsored by Bill Hamrick, R-Carrollton.

Comments (78) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/04/09 - 04:54 am
0
0
Rental properties are

Rental properties are available all over the city, both houses and apartments. Other than the convenience of knowing the neighbors and not having to deal with the hassle of the move, what seems to be the problem? These people seem to be capable of paying their own way. A mortgaged apartment is somewhat of a "shifting sand" as far as stability goes. Even in today's scary political climate, I don't think the court is the answer to this situation.

gapeach31
0
Points
gapeach31 03/04/09 - 04:56 am
0
0
Please pray for my aunt!!!!!

Please pray for my aunt!!!!! She doesn't need the added stress!!!! That guy should go to jail!!! It's just not right when you work hard and do what you are supposed to do (Pay your bills) and someone comes around and screws you over!!!!! I hope she doesn't have to move. She has family that lives nearby and it is so convient for her to live there. Get well auntie!!!!!

gapeach31
0
Points
gapeach31 03/04/09 - 05:02 am
0
0
What is the answer??? Did you

What is the answer??? Did you read the article!!!! She has cancer!!! She is in the hospital!!!!! How is she suppose to move if she receives a 24 hour notice to move and she is still in the hospital!!!!

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/04/09 - 05:57 am
0
0
It's tough, gapeach31, and in

It's tough, gapeach31, and in no way is it fair. The move can be handled by family, friends, church and community, though that won't help much with the hassle. Renting a mortgaged apartment limits your aunt's options. Seizing the duplex because the owner didn't meet his responsibilities isn't the answer though.

sgtdette41
0
Points
sgtdette41 03/04/09 - 06:49 am
0
0
If the Sand Hills housing

If the Sand Hills housing group received grants, then I would contact the City's Housing Department because they would have given them funds. See if the head man, Chester Wheeler, can help. Also I'd call Georgia Legal Services downtown and see if they can provide any legal help. Making our disabled seniors homeless as a result of this City funded housing groups inability to manage grant funds, is not an acceptable answer.

gapeach31
0
Points
gapeach31 03/04/09 - 06:54 am
0
0
What-ever!!!!!! I'm going to

What-ever!!!!!! I'm going to bed!!!!!! You have a great day!!!!

gapeach31
0
Points
gapeach31 03/04/09 - 06:57 am
0
0
Thank you j21jones!!!!!!

Thank you j21jones!!!!!!

gapeach31
0
Points
gapeach31 03/04/09 - 07:02 am
0
0
The prevoius message

The prevoius message (what-ever) was for PT. I'll make sure my family receives the information.

corgimom
38741
Points
corgimom 03/04/09 - 07:53 am
0
0
GApeach, I am very sorry for

GApeach, I am very sorry for the trouble that you and your family is facing. But you don't want a bank as your landlord. They are in the banking business, not the property management business. The best thing for your mother and grandmother to do is move. It will be stressful, but it'll worse if you stay there.

pointstoponder
621
Points
pointstoponder 03/04/09 - 08:21 am
0
0
I'm not certain I understand

I'm not certain I understand the logic of the mortgage company. Wouldn't they be better off receiving the rent than nothing? Isn't it easier to sell rental property with what I presume to be decent tennants than to see it empty?

gardez la foi
0
Points
gardez la foi 03/04/09 - 08:33 am
0
0
how dare them to put to old

how dare them to put to old sick ladies out there apartment they paid there rent so why should they have to move out there aqpartment where they pay rent at what ashamed

momofthree
0
Points
momofthree 03/04/09 - 08:44 am
0
0
GApeach, I am praying for

GApeach, I am praying for you. PT you know where you can go.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 03/04/09 - 08:45 am
0
0
It tough, but business is

It tough, but business is business. The grants were tied to an adjustable rate mortage and per the landlord "When the mortgate adjusted and the taxes went up there was no money left". The owner could have done just what the bank and city did-Raise the rent to cover the difference in cost. Then the family could chip in with the extra money if she could not afford the increase.

APiratesLife4Me
0
Points
APiratesLife4Me 03/04/09 - 08:49 am
0
0
Why should the owner be in

Why should the owner be in jail? He was making his payments like everyone else. The banking industry is the ones that failed, he got caught up the mortgage scam.

vxbell
0
Points
vxbell 03/04/09 - 09:02 am
0
0
I have faith that god will

I have faith that god will make away for my mom and her neighbor. When everything look like it's at it's worst that's when god is working the most. I have plenty room in my home for my mom and my niece so don't think she want have anywhere to go. God has never failed me yet!!!

GuyIncognito
1
Points
GuyIncognito 03/04/09 - 09:07 am
0
0
Its not like the bank is

Its not like the bank is going to sell this house soon. They are evicting her so they can have an empty property. Maybe the bank should get with a property management company to keep some positive cash flow on these properties and not look like bad guys in forcing people out of their (rented) homes.
HSBC is probably too big to think this is a good idea, but maybe some smaller local banks will do this.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
Points
HYPOCRITES 08 03/04/09 - 09:15 am
0
0
PT do you have one

PT do you have one compassionate bone in your body? You love to paint everything with your judgmental brush. The good thing about it is that anyone with a heart knows that the residents are the victims. You come across as making them leeches. The sad thing about it is that even your cronies know that your post was tasteless, but they lack the, for sake of not getting censored, intestinal fortitude, to disagree with you.

noway
201
Points
noway 03/04/09 - 09:42 am
0
0
The landlord didn't do

The landlord didn't do anything "illegal". It's just horrible, but not illegal. You would just think that a landlord would have some compassion for his tenants and give them some warning and help them find another place. Just a horrible situation, but I don't feel sorry for these people who purchased homes and the interest rate goes up - did you not know what you were signing? Ridiculous. No common sense.

RU4Real
0
Points
RU4Real 03/04/09 - 09:50 am
0
0
It is a shameful twist to the

It is a shameful twist to the current economy. The tenant has paid the rent, but the landlord bite off more than he could chew. While I do not think he should be jailed, I wish that there was something else we as a community of Christians could do for the tenant. Yes, it is a hassle to move. Yes, it cost money. The tenant probably had a lease that limited the landlord's ability to raise the rent. And charging the tenants more would have been an undue burden on them. The chances are the landlord would have eventually defaulted on the mortagage anyway. It would be nice to allow the tenants to stay, but the bank may not be willing to accept the lease that the tenants had with the previous landlord. Yes, the are in the banking business to make money, not be a rental management company. If I could, I would by the property from the bank, and then renegoiate the lease with the tenants, figuring in their age and limited income. I would then allow them some comfort and peace until the Lord called them home. For the riches I desire are not found on this Earth.

InChristLove
22485
Points
InChristLove 03/04/09 - 09:54 am
0
0
Although this situation is

Although this situation is horrible for Ms. Bell and her neighbor, Mr. Wilson is in the same boat as a lot of other home owners. He over extended himself and now can't pay the mortgage. I'm sure if he had raise the rent then he would still be the bad guy because no one wants to raise the rent on the elderly especially when they are on fixed incomes and have health issues. I'll agree he should have forewarned his tennets but I'm wondering would this story have made the news if it had been a family of four or a young couple. vxbell, my prayers are with your family and hang on to your faith. God will provide a way.

ITDoc
1
Points
ITDoc 03/04/09 - 09:57 am
0
0
When you have a renter as in

When you have a renter as in this case who doesn't neglect her financial responsibilities, why not sell her the duplex? Everyone wins. Bank gets a good paying customer, the good person gets property ownership plus an income from the other unit, the neighborhood keeps a home occupied, and one less person needs a bailout. Put the renter with the bank and work it out. This lady is suffering due to the actions of others. This is the ONE exception to my "you made your bed now lie in it" crusade.

draksig
167
Points
draksig 03/04/09 - 10:21 am
0
0
What exactly is the new owner

What exactly is the new owner going to do with the property? Rent it out at a higher rate more likely. If that is what happens, someone be sure to let the new residents know exactly what happened there. I am of the opinion that when rental properties change hands, for whatever reason, the rental agreement should go with it.

themaninthemirror
0
Points
themaninthemirror 03/04/09 - 10:25 am
0
0
The answer to the problem

The answer to the problem lies in the fact that the landlord had an adjustable rate mortgage. This is part of what is driving the mortgage mess. People buy homes, and in the landlord's case, and apartment complex, that they can not afford. But thanks to the magic of the ARM, which starts off with a lower rate, they think that later on down the road when the rates do adjust, that the money will magically come from somewhere to help them pay it. If Americans would think for themselves sometimes, instead of having this Pie In The Sky mentality, then no one would need a bail out. The real losers in this situation are the renters. While I understand their plight, the best thing to do is move on.

SargentMidTown
8
Points
SargentMidTown 03/04/09 - 10:29 am
0
0
It seems like the bank would

It seems like the bank would rather take the rent than to let the apartment stay vacant. I bet that they will take the rent.

Brad Owens
4921
Points
Brad Owens 03/04/09 - 10:41 am
0
0
KEY SECTION FROM THE STORY;

KEY SECTION FROM THE STORY; "Their former landlord, Timothy J. Wilson through Sand Hills Urban Development Inc., said he got caught in the housing crisis. He got grants to fix several properties in the Sand Hills neighborhood and thought he would be able to make the mortgage payments through the rent collections.But when the adjustable-rate mortgage payments skyrocketed after two years and the property taxes rose, he couldn't keep up financially, Mr. Wilson told the judge." Of the Sand Hills Development Inc? Key word here "thought" in Mr. Wilson's statement, He "thought" he would be able to make the payments through rent collections. This man was in the BUSINESS of buying and developing rental properties. Where was his business plan or proposal he submitted for the grants? Did he follow them? Did he spend the money as it was appropriated by whom ever granted the money? Lots of questions surrounding this whole mess. I hope the nice lady finds comfort somewhere and I hope they string up mortage brokers who sold all the adjustable rates are strung up by the testes.

ITDoc
1
Points
ITDoc 03/04/09 - 11:46 am
0
0
Brad: do you then exonerate

Brad: do you then exonerate those unfortunate souls who freely signed those mortgages? Do they not have any culpability?

goldie53
46
Points
goldie53 03/04/09 - 11:51 am
0
0
some people tried to get in

some people tried to get in the business of flipping houses and being investors didn't know a thing about real estate. This is terrible situation for someone who is sick and not a young person. A move isn't easy for some people. I moved my mother to be closer to me and it affected her memory and etc.
I pray someone or something will be available to help Ms. Bell.
As for you PT. You write before you think. GOD forbid you may have to walk in someone's else shoes. You think you are above being in need. Just keep saying hello each morning and aging, your day of need is in the future.

corgimom
38741
Points
corgimom 03/04/09 - 12:02 pm
0
0
Property management is a full

Property management is a full time job. Banks do not manage properties and they don't want to and a tenant doesn't want them to. There is a lot involved in managing a property and it's a whole lot more than just collecting a rent check. It's a no-win, huge liability, losing-money proposition for the banks.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/04/09 - 01:19 pm
0
0
How did I get to be the bad

How did I get to be the bad guy in this situation. I sympathize with Ms Bell. I'm sorry she took a high risk rental and I'm sorry Mr Wilson's gamble didn't pan out. That doesn't change any of the facts though. Why some of you feel I have no compassion is a little strange. Maybe if I acted as though my tears of sorrow were relevant , people who don't bother to read would think I'm compassionate. If only that were my goal.

My_2nd
0
Points
My_2nd 03/04/09 - 01:19 pm
0
0
gapeach31 - so he should go

gapeach31 - so he should go to jail because he couldn't pay his mortgage? so i will assume you would feel the same if your aunt could not pay her rent. right? moron!

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs