A recent cover story in the New York Post relates the astonishing story of Guramrit Hanspal, who has lived in a house he doesn’t own for over twenty years. However, for those attorneys experienced in the areas of foreclosure, landlord-tenant, and bankruptcy, Mr. Hanspal’s story, while certainly an outlier, is not actually that surprising.
According to the Post, Mr. Hanspal purchased a house in East Meadow, New York in 1998, with a mortgage loan from Washington Mutual Bank. He made exactly one mortage payment before defaulting on his loan. Of course, Washington Mutual Bank then commenced foreclosure proceedings against him in Supreme Court, Nassau County. Foreclosure proceedings can take many years to be resolved in Court, and the foreclosure sale was not actually completed until the year 2000. Our firm’s experience has shown that although the foreclosure case took approximately two years to be resolved, delays of five or even eight years are not unusual, especially if the borrower retains experienced counsel who can use completely legal methods to ensure that Court proceedings take significant time to be resolved.
Even though the foreclosure proceedings had been completed, Hanspal did not vacate the premises. As prior blog posts have discussed, simply because a house is foreclosed, and sold to another owner (usually the lending institution simply takes back title to the property), does not mean that the owner is legally obligated to leave. In order to evict a former owner, additional legal proceedings must be brought in the appropriate landlord-tenant forum.