Locks changed on a house that hasn't been foreclosed yet?

So I got the keys from a seller to take pictures of her house/repairs that are needed. She has not lived/been there in over 2 years.

When I got there today, I could not get in the house; my only assumption is that the locks had been changed. Is this possible even though the house has not yet been foreclosed on? She also has a lien from the HOA as she has not paid that for some time as well…any chance the HOA could have gotten inside and done this?

I’ve had this happen quite a few times. The lender determines (or supposes) that the property is vacant. They then send out a local company to change the locks for “security reasons”. Many times in doing this they remove a high qualify lock and replace it with a cheap lock, defeating the purpose! To get these keys, contact the lender. You must have authorization from the seller to talk with the lender about their account. Then request that the keys be sent to he house because you need to show it to prospective buyers so it won’t go to foreclosure. Ask that they overnight the keys. Every lender I know has always complied.

If you need an authorization form to give to the lender, contact me and I can provide one for you. Hope this helps.

Shari Peterson
One Day Funding, Inc.
Fast & Easy Funding To Get Your Real Estate Deals Closed


Shari is correct. There is a legal reason for this. If the property is vacant, without evidence to the lender that the property is being kept up and not at risk of vandalism that will cause a loss of value, the property is deemed by law to be insecure. That means the security document (the trust deed or mortgage) may lose value so as to not cover the balance of the note.

It is similar to a car finance company. If a care lender gets information that the owner always leaves his keys in the car in a high car theft area, the finance company can repossess it. The owner has the responsibility to maintain the value of the equity and not put it at risk.

Moving out of a property has two legal ramifications: seizure of the property as in your case because the collateral is at risk. Secondly, putting the property at risk also triggers their right to immediately foreclose on FHA/VA loans when otherwise there are steps they must go through that take some time.

Good luck.