Are Victims of Foreclosure Who Strip Away Fixtures Criminals?

KitchenStripped.jpgThe Irvine Housing Blog poses a great question today: If someone's home is in the process of being foreclosed, and the soon-to-be-former owner strips off all the fixtures so that he may sell them, is he stealing from the lender who will own the home?

The question was sparked by a reader who sent IHB a craigslist ad from a fellow who lost his job after 10 years of service and now cannot afford his $10,000 monthly mortgage on a $1.5 million house.

The poor sap lists the following items with "new" sale prices but notes he will accept the best offers: 40 White flush 6 inch Can lights $145 each obo
3 white Stairway lights $620 total obo
10 J-Boxes $185 each obo
Greyfox Intercom System Package, Master station, 3 interior sub stations, 1 exterior $2,640 obo
Central Vacuum System with accessory kit Dirt Devil pro series 690 12w x 39tall $2,840 obo
15 universal outlets $275 each obo
KITCHEN CABINETS total $12,650 obo some sizes 23.75w x 52.75single, 30w x30 tall double, 30w x25 double, 2) 36w x12.5 drawers, 33w x 10 drawer, 30w x5 drawer and more in Island etc.
20 about Kitchen Knobs polished nickel $950 total obo
Kitchen Island cabinets $1,435 obo
Undertone Undermount stainless steel Sink Kohler k3356,  29.5w x 34.5 with garbage disposal $980 obo
(SOLD) Wolf Stainless Steel 30"  x 50 tall double over with professional handles $3,045 obo
(SOLD) Thermador Stainless Dishwasher with professional handles 23w x 34.5 tall $1,020 obo
(SOLD) Thermador Stainless built-in Microwave with trim kit $490 obo
(SOLD) Wolf stainless 36" Gas cooktop 5 burners $1,790 obo
KitchenAid wine cooler stainless 24"  separate climate for red and white holds 48 bottles $1,570 obo
Sub Zero FRIGERATOR with ice and water 42w x 84tall $10,845 obo
Bathroom tub enclosure clear glass doors 58wx 62tall $540 obo
Bathroom stand up shower enclosure clear glass door $540 obo
Framed Mirror master bath 74w x 45 $1,235 obo
Framed Mirror guest bath 30w x 42 $620 obo
WHITE SHUTTERS 20 WINDOWS 4 1/2 inch blades double and single
49w x60tall double, 19 w x36.5 tall single, (3) 37w x 42tall, (3) 25w x 60tall, 24 3/4w x48 3/4tall
(6) 36.5 x 60 3/4 double, $400 each obo

5 Mirrored medicine cabinets 16w x 26 tall $400 obo
2 Mansfield toilets $400 each obo
2 Bathroom towel racks polished nickel $60 obo
4 Bathroom lights with 3 hanging glass bells $100 obo
13 DOORS with fancy double molding (3) 29 3/4w x 79, (5) 31 3/4 x 79, 29.5w x 79, 27 3/4 x 79,
32w x 79 mirrored on each side $250 obo
Bradford White hydrojet energy saver 50 gallon defender safety system WATER HEATER $400 obo
15 Journeyman security double halogen lights motion sensored $30 obo "

IrvineRenter, who posted the item on Irvine Housing Blog, informs that nothing on the list appears to be personal property, meaning these are fixtures that are part of the house: "Is this stealing? Technically, the guy still owns the house and all the fixtures therein. There are probably provisions in the mortgage that prevents the sale of fixtures after a default, but who would enforce it? If you purchased this stuff, are you stealing? Does the technical definition matter? Is this right or wrong?"

Most IHB commenters believe the latter, although few seem torn up about it.
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