If the bank never foreclosed the lawn bill is but part of what he will owe.
This story may be wrong and he may still own the home.
This is exactly why lenders REFUSE to file courthouse ownership of property foreclosed. Its a paper foreclosure not a Courthouse Recorded foreclosure. The lender has 3 years to file courthouse ownership papers or the mortgage is legally assumed payoff.
“The story may be wrong” — quite a likely hypothesis for any news story. And often it happens in details that matter.
I frankly had not heard of a lot of banks foreclosing but then renting back to the former owner rather than kicking them out. Although if the former owner is in a position to be able to rent if not to refinance (maybe he got a contract job rather than a permanent one), maybe it’s better for the bank in this hideously depressed housing market.
Banks are really bad on following up on the paperwork. This often works to their benefit. If they take title to the property, they become responsible for the taxes and maintenance immediately. If they don’t take title now and decide that they want to in the future, the courts are favorable to letting them clean up the paperwork months or years down the road.
In states with court foreclosures, it can happen that the judge approves the foreclosure. Notice is given to the borrower that he must vacate the premises and a sheriff’s sale is scheduled for Monday morning at noon.
The borrower finds somewhere to stay and moves out over the weekend. Then Monday morning at 10 am the bank takes the property off the list of properties to be sold at noon. No notice is given to the owner. The sheriff’s sale on the property is never rescheduled and the title never changes hands.
Six months later the owner goes by and discovers that the property is still vacant. There’s no heat and no electricity but the bank hasn’t taken title to the property. If they move back they are in violation of the eviction order even though their name may still be on the title. Some of them have decided to camp out in their own homes knowing that any day they may come back and find the locks have been changed and the sheriff’s sale was finally held.