Friday, November 04, 2016

Legal Description Nightmare: Landlord Who Purchased & Rented Out Well-Maintained Duplex Discovers Eight Years Later That Deed Screw-Up Actually Left Him Owning Vacant, Foreclosed 2-Unit Dump Next Door

In Tumwater, Washington, The Olympian reports:
  • At the height of the real estate boom in 2006, Rory Skinner paid $305,000 for a duplex in Tumwater while his friend bought an identical duplex next door.

    Although the value has declined since the real estate market crashed, Skinner has kept his two-unit building occupied with tenants. However, his friend’s investment went into foreclosure in 2013 and was taken over by the Federal National Mortgage Association, a government-owned company better known as Fannie Mae.

    Today, the Fannie Mae-owned property at 211 and 221 Blass Ave. SE is covered with trash. Broken windows reveal piles of garbage inside the abandoned duplex where squatters have left everything from empty food containers to syringes.

    Neighbors say the conditions have attracted rats. Tenants at Skinner’s building next door told The Olympian that the Fannie Mae duplex has attracted unwanted behavior and disturbances from people who have turned it into a drug den.

    And because of confusion over who owns what, Skinner says he has been wrongly blamed.

    In short, the legal descriptions for both properties don’t match the assumed addresses. Fannie Mae is listed as the owner of Skinner’s occupied duplex while Skinner is technically considered the owner of the abandoned Fannie Mae duplex, according to property records.

    Skinner said he learned about the mix-up when an eviction notice was served to his tenants in 2014. Title documents from 2006 show that Skinner had been claiming 231 and 241 Blass Ave. SE — yet that address has been paired with the property tax parcel number for 211 and 221 Blass Ave. SE, which is the Fannie Mae duplex.

    The Skinners have hired an attorney and have filed a complaint with Stewart Title Company, but the process has been slow, he said.

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