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What Should I Do If My Property is Wrongfully Seized?

It’s legal in some instances for property to be taken from you and sold at auction if you do not pay what you owe for it. This is common when it comes to homes and vehicles. Unfortunately, there are instances in which someone can undeservedly be subjected to seizing. There are rules regarding how property can be seized and sold, and if the bank or another entity seizes your property and tries to sell it at auction, you should take action. What you do will vary based on the type of property that was seized.

Mortgage Foreclosure

One of the most common instances of seizure is foreclosure. Banks are allowed to foreclose on home mortgages based on very specific circumstances that vary from state to state. Prior to any foreclosure, notice must be given to the homeowner. There is never an instance in which your home will be seized legally without you being given some type of warning. Should your mortgage holder attempt to prevent you from entering your home without proper warning of foreclosure, you could be entitled to take legal action – even if you are behind on your mortgage payments.

Vehicle Repossession

Another common type of seizure is vehicle repossession. If you fail to make payments on your vehicle loan, the lender is legally entitled to take the property from you. In some cases, no advance notice is needed, though it’s highly unlikely someone’s vehicle will be seized without their having some indication there is a problem. Some states do require notification, especially if the lender intends to sell the vehicle at auction. If a lender fails to follow legal protocol during the repossession, they are at risk for losing out on certain benefits available, but that might not mean having to return the vehicle, so don’t assume you’ll get to keep your vehicle just because the lender did something wrong.

Storage Lockers

Storage containers or lockers are another common instance in which seizure is common. People rent storage space to keep items they do not want in their home in a safe location. Often, rent goes unpaid on these lockers and the owner of the locker is entitled to auction the contents off after a certain period of time. Most states require notice be provided and have a specific procedure in place that if not followed, can result in the storage company’s liability and give you the right to file civil action.

Government Seizures

Many of the guidelines listed above apply to the government, but unfortunately if the government is responsible for wrongfully seizing your property, remedying the situation is going to take a long time and be very expensive. For more information on government seizing property, visit the US Treasury’s website.

If you believe property seizure is a possibility, you have been notified of a lender’s intent to seize property, or you were the victim of property seizure, you need an attorney. Even if there was a legitimate reason for the seizure and proper protocol was followed, it is still important to have someone in your corner defending your rights. Financial problems that lead to seizure can be devastating and having the guidance and support of an expert to help you make the best decisions is essential.

For more information or to discuss your financial issues with someone who understands, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696.

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At the Tampa Bay law firm, the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A., we help people with consumer bankruptcy matters in the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg,  Florida communities such as Clearwater,     St. Petersburg, Tampa, Thonotosassa, Riverview, Lutz, Plant City, Brandon, Carrollwood, Wesley Chapel, St. Petersburg Beach, Lakeland, Mulberry, Dade City, Pinellas Park, Largo, Seminole, Odessa, Oldsmar and Lithia, and counties such as Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County and Manatee County.