KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An elderly Knox County man may lose his home on Wednesday because he forgot to fill out a form, a requirement of his reverse mortgage loan. The 87-year-old widower was supposed to confirm that the property where he lives is still his primary residence. Apparently, he forgot to send the letter and he is facing foreclosure.
Stacey Greene and Allison Hickman are on a mission to save a dear friend’s home from foreclosure. In 2008, Charlie and his wife Gerri, we’re not revealing their last name, took out a reverse mortgage on their home. But this official notice from the lender’s Trustee says the house is up for auction, October 27.
Greene lived next door to the couple, she was like the daughter they never had. Hickman is Charlie and Gerri’s niece and she was close to them. Both women frequently visited the home as children and adults. Together they’re trying to save it from the auction block. Greene said that the sale’s notice came as a surprise to Charlie in September. Two months earlier, Gerri had died at the age of 89. Charlie did all he could to care for her, he’s 87.
“We were in shock. We were just dealing with the death of my aunt. On top of those issues, we are now dealing with this,” Hickman said.
Green added, “The stress and anxiety of this has just caused a lot more problems.”
Greene has official Power of Attorney to look after Charlie’s affairs. Presently, he’s in rehabilitation following heart surgery, he’s also developed dementia. But, he’s looking forward to returning home. “He got a notice in September that they’re foreclosing on his house and he had no idea.”
There are certain rules to reverse mortgage loans: the homeowners must be age 62 or over, must occupy the property as a principal residence, own the home outright or have significant equity in it. And, once a year, the borrower must verify in writing they continue to live in the home.
Apparently, Charlie didn’t verify his occupancy. So, in mid-September Greene took action. She had him sign this Certificate of Occupancy, verifying he continues to live in the house. It was sent to RMS, Reverse Mortgage Solutions, the servicing company that handles the loan.
“I turned it in and was in contact with them numerous times and they still haven’t stopped the foreclosure,” Green said.
Hickman added, “We have been allowed to talk to customer service reps, They have indicated that everything is in process, they are working it behind the scenes.”
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An attorney for Reverse Mortgage Solutions wrote to his niece saying “Our client has initiated the appropriate procedures to try to get this resolved before the sale date.” WATE 6 On Your Side wrote to RMS, the servicing agency, There’s been no response. Charlie is aware he may lose his home.
Hickman said, “I don’t believe he would do well, mentally or physically to make a change at this time in his life.”
If the foreclosure auction takes place on Wednesday, the sale will go to the highest bidder — so far, it hasn’t been called off. Once the trustee sale is final, the property deed is then recorded in the new owner’s name, and the winning bidder can take immediate possession of the property.
Now, depending on the circumstances surrounding the foreclosure, the new owner will be responsible for following through with eviction proceedings. Because Charlie still lives in the home, it will be up to that new owner then to evict him.