JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Pushpa Verma, a realtor who purchased her home in 2008 as her primary residence, has turned it into a rental to generate income after the housing market crashed.
"I lost my prospective tenant," said Verma.
Two weeks ago, Verma tried to show the property to a potential renter and discovered that the locks on her home were changed.
"I said 'what in the hell is going on?'" she said.
She found blue stickers everywhere from the front door to the garage that stated that the house was being winterized.
"They broke into my house; they changed the locks and put the stickers here," she said.
Winterization is a process where the bank sends in a company to secure property that has been abandoned or foreclosed on.
Verma said she is behind on her mortgage, but does not fit into any of those categories.
"My house is not in foreclosure," said Verma.
Verma tried to get answers from the winterizing company and her lender but said no one has explained what happened, and why.
"This is not acceptable," said Verma, "I've got my hard money invested in this house for someone to rip me off."
Jacksonville Attorney Chip Parker specializes in foreclosure litigation. He said the process failed.
"What is suppose to happen is that the lender should make reasonable attempts to contact the owner," said Parker, "and only absent the ability to contact the owner should they take the extraordinary step of securing the property."
Parker said the bank should have notified Verma before sending a company to change the locks.
"There's not really a bad guy here, except this could have been avoided through communication," said Parker.
Verma hired a company to replace the locks, which Parker said she has a right to do, and she has placed her home back on the market for rent.
The company that changed the locks is Lender Processing Services field services. Spokesperson Michelle Kersch said:
"As with all properties, we work with the mortgage company to resolve any concerns. It is important to note, however, that LPS is not a mortgage servicer -- and never was a mortgage servicer. LPS does not make default or foreclosure decisions, evict borrowers, or make decisions to evict borrowers."
First Coast News