Can a private mortgage holder force a borrower to maintain property purchased?

UPDATED: Aug 25, 2011

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Can a private mortgage holder force a borrower to maintain property purchased?

I loaned a close family member money to buy a home. He surprised me by getting married shortly thereafter to a girl who turns out to be a hoarder. His job requires him to travel a lot, so he has little control over how his wife cares for the property in his absence. Can I, as the lender, take any action to force a clean-up, other than foreclosing? The mortgage agreement says he has to keep the property in good condition. I need to protect my investment, but I’d rather not foreclose yet because of tax ramifications for the young borrower.

Asked on August 25, 2011 Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to take the agreement to an attorney to review on your behalf.  I do not think that you have any grounds on which to foreclose on the property if he is current on the mortgage.  And the words "in good condition" - what do they mean?  Does that mean that everything is in "working order" such as the water, appliances, electric - what?  Does it mean that the carpet is clean and the walls painted?  You as the lender are protected under the law on many levels.  In foreclosure you are protected as long as you do not waive deficiency should the mortgage be more than the value of the property.  Is the house insured (it should be in the contract) and if not then get insurance.  You as the lender should have that right.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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