We all know what happens when a bank forecloses on a home. It is a nightmare for everyone involved: the defaulting homeowners who lose their home, the banks who lose money on their loan, and the neighbors whose homes decrease in value. But what happens when a developer gets foreclosed upon? Back in January, CBS4 in Florida City reported on the Florida Keys Townhomes, a residential community development that has recently learned exactly what can happen, and the results seem like they could be a good story for a Stephen King novel.
A year ago, it seemed like a great plan. Buy a new home in a residential community where you could raise a family and enjoy the basketball courts, pool, barbeque pits, playgrounds and the other amenities provided by the development. Even though the development wasn’t fully completed, it was only a matter of time, so you signed the papers and moved in. A couple weeks later, on a stop to City Hall, you find out that the entire development was being foreclosed upon. This is what happened to Jorge Pichardo and his family, one of only ten families that bought homes in the Florida Keys development. “We’re paying. We can pay.” Jorge told CBS4 Reporter David Sutta. “The thing is that we didn’t foreclose. The developers foreclosed.”
Jorge and the other ten families are now stuck, living in an unfinished, undeveloped ghost town of sorts. The story reports that there are “rows of empty townhouses [that] sit on blocks of paved roads being devoured by weeds”. Of the 614 promised units, only 70 were ever built, and only the ten families living in the community purchased homes. Well, this situation is a real doozey indeed. Is anyone else picturing a Lord of the Flies power struggle between the ten families, war breaks out, and one day, the National Guard enters into town seeing these people acting as savages, and then everyone starts crying etc?…..
Ok, that’s taking it a bit far. But what is going to be next for these people? They obviously can’t rent or sell their homes. In fact, according to the CBS4 report, their “community” barely even exists. The U.S. postal service doesn’t deliver mail and there are no street lights. When thieves began ransacking the homes, Jorge called the police and they couldn’t even find them in the system. “They transferred us to Homestead Police. Homestead couldn’t find us. We got transferred to Miami-Dade police. Miami-Dade finally said ‘You know what? This address and this zip code actually belong to Florida City'”. Well at least now, the Florida City police are regularly patrolling their streets, but that’s about the only respite the ten families in there are getting from their dire situation.
The people of Florida Keys Townhomes may be the only example of when not getting foreclosed upon can bite you in the ass harder than if you were. I’m fascinated by this situation. I can’t imagine how eerie it must be to live there. Is there any sense of normalcy there? Upon completing this blog, I’m going to my boss to see if he’ll fly me out there to do a full story on this foreclosed upon community. Then I can go there and report back first hand, just how restless the natives are getting, and what is happening in the every day life of the families that lost their community but not their homes.
By Andrew Brentan