The zombie apocalypse may still be headed our way, but the threat this time will not be the walking dead. Instead, homeowners may have to fear a haunted mortgage.
It's been termed the "Zombie foreclosure" and its affecting thousands of people- houses that were deemed as foreclosures that banks failed to foreclose on.
Homeowners receive a bank notice, stating that their home will be foreclosed on. Left without a solution, homeowners throw their hands up and move out. And then the bank decides not to foreclose- leaving the mortgage in the name of the homeowner. The problem? Most homeowners don't know that they still own a home.
One of the most recent stories to surface is that of Joseph Keller. At 58, Keller is a former social worker with growing medical expenses. He suffers from "liver disease, hepatitis C and inactive tuberculosis," according to Reuters.
He will die without a liver transplant.
But Keller can't afford that, and he has been denied disability benefits due to a debt that, he claims, is not his fault. Keller received a bank notice five years ago stating that his home was going to be foreclosed on. Both he and his wife evacuated their home of 13 years and moved in with one of their children. But the bank failed to follow through with the foreclosure and now Keller is facing a financial behemoth.
Since the notice, Keller has been sued for letting his house turn to shambles and chased after tax collectors for surmounting debts. His once $60,000 mortgage has swollen to over $80,000.
And Keller is not alone. Zombie foreclosures have become a growing issue following the housing bust. Banks claim that they have sent letters to inform the home owner that the foreclosure was not pursued and to warn them that they still own the home, but owners say they have never gotten such a notice.
With no resolution and a debt that continues to linger and prevent him from healthcare, Keller now fears that he may have to die in order to get his name off the mortgage. But will it continue to haunt his wife and kids?