Family Told To Break Back Into Foreclosed House

By Minara El-Rahman on January 21, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

What would you do if you were evicted from a foreclosed house?

After Jim and Danielle Earl failed to make their mortgage payments on their 6-bedroom home in Simi Valley, they were evicted, the Los Angeles Times reports. With their 9 children and nowhere to go, their attorney Michael Pines had a very unorthodox solution: he threatened the judge that he would hire a locksmith and enter the foreclosed house illegally. "I'm going back there. And I hope I get arrested," Michael Pines told the judge.

This is an unusual tactic for the attorney. Michael Pines advises his clients to break into their foreclosed houses and illegally squat in them, Newser reports. And it seems like he has a few attorneys who admire his chutzpah: "Most attorneys won't admit it, but they admire his convictions," said Ventura lawyer Doug Michie.

However, most attorneys are also aware that his way of doing things skirts the law. It can also jeopardize his clients. "This attorney violates the canons of professional ethics in advising clients to break the law. What [his clients] are doing on his advice is not only going to prove costly to them and completely futile, it could lead to dangerous altercations with the true owners and law enforcement officers," said George Lefcoe, a USC real estate law professor.

While it may seem tempting to break back into your own foreclosed house, it certainly has not helped Michael Pines' own clients. He has not won a single foreclosure case.

Foreclosure is the legal process that a lender can take to repossess a home. Some possible alternatives to foreclosure that individuals facing foreclosure can discuss with an attorney are:

  • Special Forebearance
  • Mortgage Modification
  • Partial Claim
  • Pre-foreclosure Sale
  • Deed In Lieu of Foreclosure

There are definitely other ways to deal with foreclosure other than illegally squatting. For more general information, please visit our Related Resources links.

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