Balancing the Scales of Justice for Pro Se Homeowners

You have lost the fight and the bank has acquired a Writ of Possession…now what?

Posted by on Jul 8, 2012

You have lost the fight and the bank has acquired a Writ of Possession…now what?

**This is for homeowners after a foreclosure/fraudclosure who have lost the Unlawful Detainer either through fighting the UD or by ignoring it;  tenants rights are different and not reviewed in this article.

First, no bank or new property owner is allowed to “self help” themselves in removing you from the property.  The COURT must grant the alleged new property owner a writ of possession that can only be executed by a law enforcement officer (usually the County Sheriff and/or one of his personnel),and the Court can only grant a Writ of Possession AFTER the party has received a JUDGMENT.  The law is very clear that eviction can only take place when proper court procedures are followed. (See California Eviction Process by California Consumer Affairs)

A Writ of Possession is posted by personnel from the Sheriff’s Department – not a legal firm, not a process server.  It is NOT a Notice to Quit or a Notice to Vacate; it is not even the Unlawful Detainer Complaint itself[1].  The document is called “Writ of Possession” and when this is posted to your door..TAKE IT SERIOUSLY and pack to move.  It typically gives you FIVE days to remove your belongings from the house before the lock out.

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What is a lock out? This is when the Sheriff shows up with a representative of the bank/new property owner and a locksmith.  The locksmith will change ALL the locks to the property and turn the keys over to the representative and/or new property owner.  You are officially barred from re-entering the property without the presence and permission of the now official “property owner” and you must LEAVE THE HOUSE while the Sheriff is present.

At this time the new property owner can hire its own personnel to come and remove your belongings and store them until you are ready to retrieve them.  (You are responsible for the property owner’s costs to remove and store your possessions)   The new property owner cannot “trash” your belongings..they are required during the first 18 days after the lock out to store them so that you can retrieve them.  However, it is NEVER RECOMMENDED you wait for the property owner to do so.  The maximum penalty for the property owner ignoring the law is $250 dollars….so not a lot of financial incentive for them to properly store your belongings, in fact there is more incentive for them to trash out the house and just pay you the check for $250 dollars. (Which they could probably deduct from any damages they are entitled to from the judgment…as you can see this can get messy and ugly very quickly).

If you have lost the unlawful detainer (either you fought it and lost it; or you ignored it) – and you cannot get everything removed in that five days, then a MAKE A PHONE CALL to the property owner.  Agree to meet them for the Lock Out – and make arrangements to have a moving company (or you with moving trucks) to remove whatever remains at the property.

DO NOT IGNORE THE WRIT OF POSSESSION…the Sheriff WILL SHOW UP and they WILL REMOVE you from the property.  But do not panic and leave your possessions or pets behind.  COMMUNICATION will become critical and the only communication that will assist you in getting everything removed is a phone call to the property owner.  They will not give you another week or month…you need to be prepared to have the moving company as close to the day of the lock out as possible – and if you need seven or eight days instead of five, the only way you can get the additional time is by calling the property owner and asking them to schedule a time for the moving trucks (well you do the scheduling but you will need to coordinate the time/date with the property owner).

Depending on how contentious this process has been, it is possible to arrange a moving schedule that minimizes the costs to the new property owner while at the same preserving your belongings.  Just do not expect the property owner to give you more time because you or a family member is sick, out of town, etc.  This is serious business and at this time must be your number one priority or you risk losing what is left in the house …forever. [/ismember]




[1] To fully understand the Unlawful Detainer process and how to fight it, please see our California Homeowners Fighting an Unlawful Detainer. 



Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Don Albino

    You can also file bankruptcy, but don’t forget to fill out page 2 of the application where it says “Certification by a Debtor Who Resides as a Tenant of Residential Property” and deposit with the court a check for the rent, the court won’t care how much is the check for all they want is a check, this will buy you extra time to get out of the house

  2. Robert

    after was no longer abavlaile when they sent it and it went out my mistake. That program was obsolute. I would receive another shortly. This was after I made all my forebearance payments on time. I was given another loan modification and the rate, loan balance & terms the same, but payment was much more. No one could explain this to me and the figures didn’t add up. I used to be an underwruter and can figure interest. HUD and a loan mod atty also said they figures were incorrect. B of A said they did not ned to review them or show me how they came up with them. Many people told me this. They also (again many people) told me they did not know if my forebearance was credited to me and no one would check.They said they couldn’t as it went to a 3rd party agancy. But the checks that were cashed were made out to B of A I think. Not entirely sure. I would ned to check that as it was 2 years ago. I did call each month to make sure that the payment arrived and they told me yes each month. I have lots of documentation.I am disabled and very ill. I cannot physically move myself or afford to pay people to pack & move me. I have been waiting for my SSI that I am quite sure will be approved as 2 Drs who are famous wrote letters that I was unable to work now or ever and that my illness were incurable and incuded some medical records. To get more records wpuld be expensive. There was enough included and my illness are in the SSI guidelines and I do think I will be awarded SSI.I am pushing them to get my case re-heard and SSi had put my case in the expidate pile to be heard ASAP.I asked if I win how soon will I get the back $ or any benefits. The woman I spoke to could not tell me and lead me to beleive that no one at the office could.I was not expecting my house to be foreclosed and I feel they not only made mistakes, they did illegal things in regard to my loan. So did my HUD rep and the woman from UTLS. I want to sue for illegal foreclosure and many other s things having to do with my health.But for now until I can get my tumors bioposied and treated and $ to pay people to pack I want to be left alone and not harassed by the new owner stopping by daily and knocking & ringing my bell when I am asleep and unwell.Can you help me for free (on a contingency basis)? And also give me advise about what to do to stay until I am well enough and have the fund to move (I am hoping it will be within 4 weeks). But who knows. SSI is not much more informative than B of A, but they do not LIE or intentionally mislead me as B of A did.I was told from B of A that the decision to not push back the foreclosure date no matter what offer came thru was made on May21, a week before they told me it was being considered (the new short-sale person). I asked why they didn’t tell me and I was told over and over by a supervisor, I can’t comment . I know enough to know I can’t comment is a cover-up when it comes from a supervisor. So I called back and asked to speak to a regular peson the same question and got a different answer.I was told that if I had known I could have filed bankrupty and held up the sale for several months and they wanted it to go to sale right away! So they all lied (knowingly or not) to prenet me from doing what I would have to have stayed until I was well enough to move and had the funds to move. With the bankrupty an atty would have worked out a payment schedule where he would have stopped the foreclosure for $150. I could have taken care of my health and my SSI would have come thru before filig bankrupty.There are so many crazy lies from B of A over the last 2 & 1/2 years it is mind-blowing. You would think the loan came out of a 3rd world country. The things they said, the post-it attached to your file came loose? I asked didn’t they have it all on computer and the answer was no , my file got transferred from state to state and each state scred up more & more.But I really ned to know my rights s to the people who say I should have been pout 5 days after the sale and charged $10,000 to handle the sale for the new guy. They are both the people he hired (whose name the house is in) and he himself. Can you help me free as until I get my SSI $< I have no income and cannot work. I sell personal belongings to pay utilities each mont.By the way the house has black mold and danagerous electricial issues. That is also why I don't have an income. I used to be able to rent rooms until the black mold made my roommates sick. I keep getting sicker the longer I stay her, but I also do not have a place to move to w/o the SSI $ and may ned surgery quickly. Can you help or give me names of people who can? I would love to ask questions as I haven't been able to find out much accurate, correct information on the I-net.I do have lots of documentation. From the start even though they told me, "don't worry, you'll get a loan modification for sure", they made so many mistakes and gave me so much conflicting answers to my questions I knew it could go wrong. I know thes new owners are wrong about some things, I'm sure, but I really need to know what attorney I can speak to about my case.I have tried the volunter attorneys every day since the FC and can't get thru. Please help, it is so hard being disabled with no family and no income and relying on GOVT agencies.

    • Onyinye

      house sold at auction 3/15 feeadrl housing to fannie mae notified 3/17; agent came back prior to 10 days, called for extention cash for keys/needed more time, cash for keys given to room mate/homeowner living in home never given eviction notice, fannie mae and their attorney told plenty of time, 30/60 pushin for 30, did not give any cash for anything, left home in perfect shape/took stove and refrigerator with; other candidate was offered to rent home back/also told would be given cash for keys, although would deduct for store/refrigerator;stove&refrigerator special promo $800 for both/illegal entry/locked out 4.13.11,didn’t matter still not given cash for keys any kind of assistance for moving, senior on fixed income, created a hardship, trying to maintain other mortgages. No recourse, nobody is concerned

  3. Ceecee

    Pls help! My house was sold and I do not want to move. B of A told me the sale would be postponed and turned around and sold it. They said the investor would not stop the sale. What do I do next and how much te to I have?

  4. Karen

    My house was sold (back to B of A) Tuesday. I also defaulted due to becoming disabled and having to wait for ssdi. I am pursuing quiet title for several reasons, but something odd happened today that ibhave thus far nit seem addressed anywhere as yet…. Today, after blowing me off, passing the buck and/or out right lying to me for a year, i received a fed ex pkg from them (dated a day AFTER the sale, mind you) infirming us they were sending a rep not to offer cash fir keys, but to GATHER INFO BECAUSE THEY WANT TO MOD OUR LOAN NOW. HUH?! HAS ANYONE ELSE HAD THIS HAPPEN? Im suspicious as hell since my efforts to delay the sale were ignored even though i pointed out their opening bid of $620,000 was $125,000+ over the market value and they would no way get a third party bidder. I desperately want to stay in my home of 11 years. My family has had a hard enough difficulties dealing with my illness AND the recent loss of my father. This “offer” makes me think of
    the Trojan Horse. I am wary of banks bearing gifts. So, a couple questions fir anyone that can help me…

    Why would they (& can they legally) modify my loan at this late date? Wasnt it rendered satisfied or some such by the sale?

    Can i go ahead with quiet title given that i feel my loan and foreclosure process had errors and/ or fraud?

    Also, is there ANY reason my house would have 2 ts #s? (Long story but will tell it if anyone wants to know. Suspect they funked up and trying to cloud the paper trail). I was under impression ts# follows the property…

    Any help or advice VERY MUCH APPRECIATED. This site is awesome. I feel so much more empowered gaining so much insight and info. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

    • Simonee

      Hi Karen,
      There are a lot of changes afoot these days. Between the settlement with the Attorney Generals and the OCC’s foreclosure process reviews, there are some opportunities for homeowners to actually work with banks. Having said, having a healthy distrust of them is good! The Banks have demonstrated that they are totally comofortable with deceit and theivery…. if we were me, I would call the bank and ask what that is all about. You can have a conversation with them and not jeopardize your position in regards to how you want to proceed. The bank could rescind the foreclosure, especially since a 3rd party did not buy the property. I have heard of people that are getting major principal reductions, and I know of one guy (Bank of America client) where he filed a lawsuit, BOA called and asked him to put the lawsuit on hold while they negogiate. They were offering to rescind the loan and the unlawful detainer and work out a modification. So yes, I think it is possible and I would make a call to BOA (or talk with the rep they are sending) because I am hearing that modifications are starting to happen.
      In regards to the two trustee sale numbers…I have no idea. Can anyone help her with this question? In regards to quiet title – I don’t think you can go for quiet title without proving the fraud/foreclosure process errors. In my mind those all go together.



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