Trashed House: How a Mortgage Mistake Cost A Family Everything

(WTNH) — Sean Gorman’s funeral service did not have many photos of him and his family.

A lifetime of photos were in the home he had raised a family in for more than 30 years. Before he died, the locks were changed.

When he died, the house went into foreclosure. The bank had a right to the property, and the family, who no longer had claim to the home itself saw no issue with the bank taking possession of the house.

The issue came, however, when Sean’s daughter Eileen Gorman got a call not from the bank or mortgage servicing company, but from someone in the neighborhood. All of her father’s belongings was being put into dumpsters.

Seven dumpsters were filled with everything amassed in the former furniture salesman’s life. It was the personal belongings and family heirlooms that Gorman said were the hardest to see in the dump.

“My mothers’ china, my crystal collection, silver sets,” lists Gorman. “They’re all gone.”

“My life was thrown out like a piece of trash and garbage. anything in my life that meant anything to me anything I could pass onto my daugher was thrown out,” she said.

After weeks of calls and emails, someone representing Nationstar Mortgage finally called.

The staff member apologized “for the inconvenience and frustration” that the Gorman’s were experiencing. And she was doing something else: Everything outside was going back in.

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The Gorman’s were not allowed to remove anything from the home, because a legal order had not been issued. Before a home can be emptied, something called an “ejectment” has to be issued by a court.

In this case, the house was emptied before that ejectment was filed. One was finally ordered months after the damage was done.

Nationstar would not comment on the Gorman’s foreclosure case, or explain why no ejectment was filed before the house was emptied.

No Comment from Nationstar

“If the house burnt down, I would have lost it. You can explain that,” said Gorman. “This I can’t explain.”

Eventually, Gorman was allowed into the home to catalog what was left behind and remove what she could salvage.

What happened to the Gorman home is not isolated. Attorney Sarah White with Hartford’s Connecticut Fair Housing Center said her office homeowner complaints about “trashouts” about once a month.

“What’s unfortunately happening sometimes is that banks are bypassing this process and for whatever reason going in and changing the locks, cataloguing the contents and sometimes just throwing things into a dumpster,” said White. “Its certainly not isolated and I think its’s endemic of a larger problem with this industry.”

In fact, complaints against mortgage companies is one of the quickest growing categories of complaints, according data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Nationstar, a Texas mortgage company, who boasts a bottom line in the hundreds of billions, has one of the largest numbers of complaints, compared to other mortgage companies.

In Connecticut, complaints have gone from five in 2012 to 48 in 2015, a nine-fold increase. Across the country, similar complaints have quadrupled.

This year, Gorman is complaining about the tactics that mean she never can share her father’s life with her daughter. and working with an attorney to decide what her next move is.

“[Attorneys] are looking at all avenues,” said Gorman.

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