State College, Pa., home owners are accusing M&T Bank Corp. and two contractors of entering their vacant home they were trying to short sale, and treating it as an abandoned foreclosure and doing thousands of dollars in damage to the home.

The home owners Alicia and Dan Dorsey, who moved out of the home in 2007, still own the vacant house and are in the middle of negotiating a short sale on the property. The home owners had fallen delinquent on utility and maintenance bills the last few months, but the home was not in foreclosure.

The home owners are accusing bank contractors of entering the home and treating it like a foreclosure by doing a “trash-out”--removing all personal belongings and changing the locks. The home owners say that as part of the short sale agreement they were closing on, they had agreed to upgrade the kitchen with new appliances, countertops, and wood cabinets--all of which were scattered in the garage awaiting installation. The Dorseys say the contractors trashed all of the new items. (Police have since recovered most of the belongings.)

The home owners also accuse the contractors of scratching the hardwood floors, damaging the walls, and removing curtains, rods, and fixtures. They also say the sump pump was ripped out and left on the hardwood floor, and the pink antifreeze--which they put in to “winterize” the property--leaked out and damaged the hardwood floors.

Alicia Dorsey says the bank should pay for all the damages--about $100,000, she estimates. The bank says it is further investigating the incident.

Similar incidents have been reported across the country and home owners with lawsuits or complaints pending against Bank of America Corp., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., National City Mortgage, U.S. Bancorp, and even Fannie Mae, accusing the entities of trespassing and theft or destruction of property.

Source: “Contractors’ Missteps Cause Embarrassment for M&T; Workers Damage Borrower’s Home,” Buffalo News (Feb. 14, 2011)