Somewhere Along the Chain a Link Broke...
With the aid of a tax map, the Sevier County Electric System office, and the kind folks at the Sevier County 911 addressing office, I learned that there are in fact two homes on this lot and that one of them is 2019. Armed with this information, I found that for some unknown reason 2019 comes before 2017 even though the street numbers before and beyond these two homes are all sequentially higher. Sure enough, there was the house. Unfortunately, from here the plot thickened even further.
Although there was nobody home at house #1 I was able to leave the required legal notices informing the occupant of the foreclosure and their rights going forward. The occupant of house #2 was understandably dismayed when I explained that he would have to be prepared to move when the property was sold because his now former landlord no longer owned the property. This afternoong I received a message from my office about a call from someone who said that they were the current owners of these homes. A call to this person provided yet another twist. He had in fact:
- Signed a contract for deed
- Paid $5,000 down as a non-refundable deposit
- Made regular monthly payments for 3 years to the property owner
- Made over TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS of improvements to the property
The lessons of this sad tale are many:
- NEVER lease a property from someone who isn't the property's actual owner of record.
- Use a professional attorney and/or Realtor to make sure that you are on firm legal ground.
- Be VERY cautious when using a contract for deed arrangement to purchase a property.
- Remember that in Sevier County street numbers don't always follow a rational progression.