Possibly Homeless and Very Scared

Updated on July 07, 2007
A.K. asks from Tarlton, OH
13 answers

We live in a home owned by my mother-in-law. She told my husband this house would be his inheritance when she passed (she is in good health)and he could live in it now. We have lived here three years.

She called three days ago stating that the house was in foreclosure because of back property taxes. We were not responsible for the property taxes. She owes us $15,000.00 and we were calculating rent out of that amount. ( $600.00 - $15,000.00 means she owes us $14,400.00 and so on) She agreed to this as she was not out any money and it was reducing her debt. We went to the courts yesterday to see what was going on. The prosecuting attorney and the clerk of courts both said there was a letter sent in May that would have allowed for payment arrangements, but property taxes are five years behind. There is a date set for auction and no payment arrangements can be made at this time. If we are able to pay the full amount by next Friday (07-06), the auction will be canceled. Otherwise someone else will get this house for $6,000.00. My mother-in-law said she will sell us the house after the property taxes are paid up. She is a very mean, greedy and spiteful person. This will not change about her.

We do not have resources to obtain $6,000. The court clerk told us to apply for a high-risk loan and put the house up as collateral. It is not my house and my mother-in-law told us that she will keep all the loan as payment on the house since she is using her property as collateral. We do not want to do that right now. My car died and my husbands is dying. If we get the loan on our credit we want to pay for car repairs, in addition to the taxes and fix the toilet (have to flush with a bucket of water).

I need to know what I can do. If I pay the property taxes can I lay claim on the property? I am so scared I am not sleeping and am phsicallly ill. Will the loan we take out default to her since it is her collateral? Where can we find a place that will let you take out a loan with horrible credit? I haven't told my kids any of this because I don't want them to worry. I have been lying around the house watching Price is Right a lot and I think they know something is wrong.

I have been homeless before. I lived a in a car for a week with a newborn because my ex wasn't paying rent. I went to a shelter for abused women then. Now I am not being abused and don't want to go back to a shelter anyway. My mother has passed away and my father lives in a studio apartment so I don't know where to go. Someone please help. I haven't slept in 36 hours.

-----Some more info-------
My MIL would lose the house just so she could blame us for the loss. She still blames my husband for the loss of a car. When he was 17 the car he drove was in her name and he was in an accident. He paid for the car but because he was under 18 it couldn't be in his name. She tells people how he wrecked her car as if it was the one she was driving. I don't understand why this woman is so full of hate, but she is.

The house is a two story brick. There was a railroad that ran in front of here and this house was the boarding house for the town. It sits on two lots. There are repairs needed; the windows are from the 40's and leak air, someone painted it and it is chipping off, the floors are weak etc. Someone would be stupid to not pay $6,000 for this house though. It could easily go for $60,000. That is why I am scared to let it go to auction.

And it was my MIL idea that we move here. We came so we could save money by not paying rent but have our own home. I regret not looking into that offer more throughly.

------------------update 07-04-----------------
I have told my oldest we may be moving. I explained there is a bill on the house we weren't expecting and unless we can pay the bill we will have to move. My youngest is dramatic so I am holding off on telling him until we have more definite answers.

If we move, we would still need a loan to cover first months rent, deposit, and utilities. We are still perusing that so if moving becomes necessary we can afford it.

I have contacted a tax attorney and another attorney (thanks for the link) to find out my rights. I have researched and I believe the law that allowed you to pay back taxes and purchase someone else's property has been removed. We are holding off on moving plans until I know for sure. The house needs repairs but it sits on a double lot that we could put a trailer on and it would be permanent.

I talked to social service agencies and since the house isn't in my name and their budget is frozen they can't help with the taxes. The waiting list for assistance housing is 6 months long, but I put my name on. If anything changes I can remove us from the list.

Will update with more as I kow more. Thanks to everyone who has helped this far.

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So What Happened?

This far we are staying here. My MIL had given us a purchase price for the home last year and we have gotten it in writing that the back taxes and the money she owes us has been applied to the purchase price she quoted us. I went to a BMV with her to get the letter certified. As I said, it isn't a real good house but after the deductions, it is costing less than my used car. And we will own land.

Thank you to everyone with your suggestions. A fresh perspective is always needed when you are wearing yesterdays jammies at 3pm and laying on your sofa arguing with Dr. Phil. Thank you so much to everyone.

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answers from Dayton on

First thing Monday morning, try calling Legal Aid AND the United Way's 211 number - you dial 211 (like dialing 911), except you get the United Way's information line. They have a whole list of community services and can possibly refer you to an agency who can help...

Best Wishes!

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Cleveland on

The way the market is now it's in your favor!! Look around there are so many properties up for rent and rent to own that it shouldn't take you very long at all to find a new place. Which in my opinion is the only answer it sounds like your mil is a witch and is loving having this over your heads! There is a house by me that is rent to own the gentlemen that ownes it is very old and needs to be rid of his properties as he has no kids to pass them to!! My neighbor got his house this way from the same landlord!! If you would like more info just snd me an email!! He is a really nice guy and is willing to help out people in need! M. [email protected]____.com

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I don't have any real advice, other than I know it may be REALLY hard, but you should try to find some place else to live. There are multiple programs through HUD and the USDA that help you finance a house AND pay your monthly mortgage, there is also renters assistance. It may even be possible to get the $6000 loan through them, and they work with people with bad credit. Google Rural Housing USDA and the site should come up. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers-- good luck.

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answers from Columbus on

A., I feel for you. His mother is very irresponsible. She has a problem and put her own son and his family in the middle of it. That's just wrong. I would start looking for an apartment. Start collecting boxes and packing. It is a sad situation when someone loses a house. If you would happen to come up with the money and pay the back the taxes, his mother is likely to take the house from you anyway. She is not trustworthy. Get away from her. Don't get a high risk loan. It won't solve the problem. Your mother in-law is the problem. She needs to go down this road for whatever reason. I would get as far away from her as possible. Also, this is between your husband and his mother. You really don't have a say, and especially don't give her any of YOUR money. Pray about it. Give it to God. Talk to your husband and you two will come up with a solution. Also, your boys need to be told. Tell them you all might be moving soon. They need to help you pack. I will pray for you. K. L

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

My home that I OWN (own as in have the deed) was in foreclosure because of a small loan I cosigned on for my husbands brother. He defaulted on the loan and the blood suckers put a lein on my home. CASH is just about the only solution considering how far your situation is in court. If you dont have perfect credit for a cash loan I would suggest looking for anywhere you can get in to live. Hope things change but if they dont you should post something in search of cheap housing in your area.

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answers from Rochester on

I have to agree with Karen L. Get out of there, and get your own place. You can deal with your MIL repaying you some other way. Bottomline is that this isn't your house, so even though it effects where you live, it isn't your problem to come up with the back taxes. It's your MIL's problem. She is the one that has to come up with the money, because it is her house. If she does, then you can talk about buying the house. You've only lived there for 3 years, but the house is 5 years behind on taxes. You also didn't have any arrangement to pay those taxes, so again, it is your MIL's obligation to come up with the money. If you come up with the money to save the house (which is ridiculous since she is the one that owes YOU money), she will probably say that you stole her house from her. Pardon the frankness, but it doesn't seem like it is a great house to begin with anyway, since it needs so many repairs. I understand that it is a pain to move, and it would mean coming up with rent money every month, but honestly, I think moving to someplace else is your best option. Does your MIL have the money to pay you the $600 every month so you can pay your rent somewhere else? Even if you have to work more or cut costs until you can afford something else, I think you will be better off. You said it yourself- "she is a mean, greedy, and spiteful person"- do you really want to be under her thumb?

As far as the collateral thing goes, my understanding is that you can't use the house as collateral because it isn't your house (unless you take out a joint loan with your MIL, which I do NOT recommend). I'm not sure if the house would be yours if you paid the taxes, but I would definitely ask a lawyer- don't assume anything, especially since the laws differ by area. Another thing to consider- if you weren't currently living there and were looking at the house as an objective outside buyer, would you buy the house? If the answer is no, then you definitely have your answer. As far as where to go in the meantime- do you have any friends or other family you can stay with for awhile? What about putting most of your things in storage and renting someplace you can afford. How about renting or buying a mobile home? They are usually cheap, and it would be better than living in a shelter or out of your car.

I really hope this helped, A.. Just remember that you didn't do anything wrong, the back taxes are not your problem, and focus on trying to move on. Also, check into your local churches and see if any of them can help you. Some employers also have an emergency fund set up for employees to help them out in a bind as well.

God bless. Let us know what happens.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Canton on

Keep in mind that just because you pay someone else's back taxes, it does NOT make the property yours. The government doesn't care WHERE the money comes from, as long as it's paid. What about placing a lien on the house in lieu of the property taxes being paid? You'd have to discuss this with the tax board, I believe. It would just mean that the house can't be sold by anyone, until the taxes are paid, in a timely manner. But ultimately, I agree with the others. It sounds like you guys need to wash your hands of his mother. She's made her bed, let her lie in it. If you don't have it already, get the amount that she owes you, in writing, with her promise to pay it back by such and such a date. That way if after all of this, she decides to stop paying you back, you can take her to court with clear-cut evidence that she does indeed owe you the money. Get her to sign it and you sign it, and also have a 3rd party that is uninvolved sign it. Your best bet would to pay (small fee) a Notary Public (can be found at the BMV) to be the 3rd party signer.
In the meantime, go to Jobs & Family Services and see if you can file for PRC money to help you guys get a place to rent. (This is in Stark County, I'm not sure about other counties.)Qualifying families can receive up to $1500 per year, for aid with rent/mortgage payments, to purchase new appliances (such as refrigerators or stoves), and also to repair or replace at the old car's value. You could also check with United Way. See if they can help you get some funds together so that you can rent another place.
In all honesty, it doesn't sound like the house is worth all that much to begin with. So I'd look into finding something of your own. Something that doesn't have his mother attached to it. Get out from under now, or it'll only get worse, I promise you. I wish you guys the best of luck.

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answers from Cleveland on

Start calling local churches while there is normally a cap on how much they will give you to keep you from losing your home they might bea ble to help and you can try several different places to get the money. United way is also a great idea, and most attorney's at least have a free consultation where you can figure out your rights legally, and say you sue your MIL for the money she owe's you since you are losing the house you could probally pay him out of that instead of up front, and maybe walk away with the hosue as well. Getting a loan is a great idea, I know i filed bankruptcy a few years ago and still just bought a house, the intrest is um high to say the least but i could do it, it's just a matter of calling around. good luck, we're all praying for you. take care and keep us informed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I know if you pay the taxes the propery is yours. Have you checked with local churches or other agencies.
I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
We currently live in a property owned by my mom. I hope she is paying her taxes or we will be in the exact same situation.
God Bless you,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I would seriously consider getting out of that house. You have absolutely no obligation to your mother-in-law at this point, and you definately don't have any obligation to pay the taxes on this house. *She* has to deal with this situation.

I understand you are living where you are to save money, but are you really saving money in this case, especially if you did find some way to pay the back taxes?

As someone else suggested, you also really should put something in writing indicating how much she owes *you*.

I don't think that if you pay the taxes, the property would be yours anyway. I could be wrong about that, but if her name is on the paperwork, it's her house no matter what- good or bad.

You won't necessarily need to give up your pets if you rent. Many owners allow them.

My opinion is, get out & don't look back. You are being manipulated and from your own description, the house isn't even safe.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Oh, I can imagine how difficult this situation is for you, it is so hard when you are basically trusting and someone takes advantage of you. Do you go to any church? If not, maybe it's time to start : ) God doesn't promise us there will be no difficulties in our life, but He does take care of His own!
I really don't know about the legalities, but I am surprised that you would be the owner of the property just because you paid the taxes on it...I would talk to the Clerk of Courts about that to be sure. I don't think you have much of a choice besides paying the taxes or going to the tax auction yourself and hoping no one else bids too high, or finding another place to live. Then you would just be out the money she still owes you. What would the house be worth? would someone else want to pay the $6000 for it?
What would you have done if she hadn't let you live in the house now? If your husband's salary is enough to cover rent and food at least, then you could be out from under the shadow of your MIL for good.
As a student, are you eligible for any loans and/or student housing? They may have a "married student" type of dorm or arrangement. You could at least talk to someone at the school (don't know who it would be, do you have some kind of guidance counselor or financial aid officer?)
Where does your MIL live? Does she not care if she loses the house altogether? Maybe she's counting on you guys paying the taxes, or is she that destitute that she would just lose the house?
Do you have anything in writing about the $15,000 your MIL owes you and that she's paying it back in "rent" for you? If not, I'd suggest at least getting something like that once this is all cleared, so you at least have renter's rights. If she is as greedy, etc. as you say then you shouldn't take ANYTHING at her word that will affect you, and I definitely wouldn't loan her any money you expect to get back (I know it's too late to change what's already been done). I would definitely get in writing the "promise" to "sell" it to you after the taxes paid (and for what price).
I hope this gave you some ideas at least. Please let us know what happens!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

You seriously need to get an attorney involved, that isn't right, you should not have to lose your home because of her mistakes. Have you thought of calling an attorney? or have you contacted one already, even for advice? I have the best attorney around and doesn't charge very much, trust me I have limited means as well. If you would like to discuss this further, feel free to contact me. Good Luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

would you be able to keep all payments up and since the house is your mother- in - laws would she keep all taxes and other things paid up or would she put you guys in the same situation again? think about that. I would see if you couldnt rent a house somewhere else or get an apartment. Yes you would have to get rid of your pets but you need to think what is best for you and your family

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