I’m driving to Tacoma today to meet with a lawyer. I own a small carpentry service company. I had been working on a four unit townhome, that has been taken back from the builder. The bank made an agreement with the builder to receive back the deed to the property in exchange for not foreclosing on the property. This is called a deed in lieu. The longer term is deed in lieu of foreclosure. The bank agrees to take back the property, and the builder gives a list of all outstanding invoices, and a list of who hasn’t been paid.
The Bank has posession of the property, and is continuing work on it with another builder. I received a Notice of Trustees Sale. The bank is claiming a right to sell the property at the courthouse steps. This process clears all liens. They intend to buy back their property. I am going to see a lawyer because the bank has chosen one remedy to acquire the deed, and another to clear the deed. The State of Washington allows a bank (Grantor) to recoup from a borrower (Grantee) by following a process of default, then demanding payment by issuing a Notice of Trustee Sale, stating they will sell the property if principal amount of the loan is not paid, together with default remedies agreed to in the contract, before the auction date at the courthouse steps.
The slimy thing the bank is trying to do, is receiving back the deed and property, then using the Trustee Sale process to clear the title of liens. When they received back the property, they took the obligations with it. The trustee process is designed to aid the bank in regaining the capitol invested in the property, or re-acquiring the property. The clearing of liens is incidental to the process, and is allowed to help make a bank whole, after a failed investment. It is a way to encourage wealth to invest in the state. It is a process that never was designed to simply clear liens and prior obligations (responsibilities). The bank invoked the trustee sale and said, yah, try and stop me. I am going to challenge this process.
Let me give an idea what a prior obligation looks like. A tile setter from Rumania. He was born into Soviet slavery. The system worked for a political elite, and no one else. Rules were enforced at the point of a gun. Your rights were simple, you had none. While working on the jobsite, we got to talking about what was going on with the banks. He looked up at me with a shorn look, and said, I never thought America was like this. I never believed this could happen. He was an immigrant, he spoke English well, he was participating in the free-market system. He was responsible, paid his bills, and his word was better than a bond. He was making an effort to come up in the world, and participate in the American Way.
The countertop guy is from Ukraine. The bank gave him a check as a deposit for granite. Three weeks later, when the granite was cut and installed, the agreement had been finalized between contractor/developer and the bank to take back the property. He is out $9,000. He has a family. This is his only source of income, and the commercial market is trashed. One day it took 2% down to buy, the next week it took 20%. Units don’t sell, banks take back property. The sub-contractors didn’t write the rules for banks, or regulate the economy. They are the ones who are paying. And the strong are preying on the week. I know more small contractors who are on the way out the door of their own homes, family in tow for some, others not. My neighbor across the street falling in the not category. Money problems ruin many families. It is an economic issue, and it is a moral issue.
I’m going to see a lawyer today. 120,000 dollars has been left unpaid on this one project. Their is a family tied to each one of those dollars. The state is no help. The banks are largely unregulated, and when i called, they say it is contract law matter, and is left to the courts. The state benefits from the productivity of free-market entrepreneurs, but does little to protect them from wealthy interests. The banks keep it that way. I have read all the RCW’s. They were written mostly in the late 19th century, and haven’t changed. The banks made sure of that. What has changed is the cost of a lawyer. The process in court has gotten longer too. To actually acquire judgement of a lien, could cost many thousands of dollars, and a lot of unreimbursed time. I am going to challenge the process. I am going to challenge the notice. I am going to challenge the system. Their is nothing I hate more than a bully. That it is systematically aided by the law and economic system is… well I really can’t express that right now.