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Questions Answered by Thomas. R. Morris
4 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Can second mortgage lender seek post-sale deficiency judgement after liability was discharged in Chapter 7

In 2009, my neighbor filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and kept her house with two mortgages, 100k+ and 25k. Her personal obligation for the second mortgage was discharged. A loan modification of the second mortgage in 2015 adjusted the principle, term, and interest rate. In late 2017, my... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Jun 24, 2020

If the borrower on the second mortgage loan received a discharge in bankruptcy, and did not reaffirm the debt, that borrower no longer has personal liability, and cannot be pursued for the loan, whether or not the amount owed is a "deficiency."

There are some assumptions in your...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: In contract and found mold during inspections

I've been told if I ask for seller to fix they could cancel contract and fix on their own. (There is supposedly 2 more offers that came in after our contract was closed, 1 is 10% more than we offered) Can I legally force them to resolve the mold or will i risk losing home, since they can... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Jun 5, 2020

If the contract is worded as I expect that it is, which is to give you the option of cancelling the purchase in the event of an unsatisfactory inspection, and to give the seller the option, but not the obligation, to try to remedy the defect, then you cannot force the seller to resolve the mold... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: I put a tree in an alley way which is now condemned. My neighbor is claiming them now. Is there a way I can move them?

I planted them in the alley, it has since been condemned and the trees are now on the half that my neighbor gained by less than 2 feet. I have offered to buy the land and he refuses. Is there a way I can legally remove the trees? Or anything at all?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on May 26, 2020

You probably mean that the alley was vacated.

A tree, once planted, becomes part of the land. It belongs to the landowner. That’s the simple answer, but there are possible exceptions. For example, rights to timber can be owned separately. I think that your neighbor owns the trees.

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Q: If I sign a lease but can't move in, am I liable for all rent due for the term of the lease?

I am an international student planning to study in the US (Michigan). There is a strong chance I won't be able to get my visa and actually move in, but my landlord is saying that if that happens I will still have to pay all rent due under my lease. Is this true?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on May 7, 2020

It may be true. If you want to avoid liability you could insist that the lease provide for your option to terminate it if you don't receive the visa. If it's too late and the lease has already been signed, you could try to sublet the leased premises. We would have to examine the lease... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: I'm buying a house that has a tenant living in the house. The purchase agreement was in place before the governor place

the say at home order. I'm afraid the tenant is not going to move. The agreement was I get the keys at closing. Can I legally make them move?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Apr 29, 2020

Once the closing of the sale occurs and you become the owner of the property, you will be legally entitled to evict the occupants. Whether and when the district court will process and enforce an eviction becomes the issue. Evictions are being adjourned until after May 1, or some other date, by the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Banking, Civil Litigation, Contracts and Insurance Defense for Michigan on
Q: So my grandfather passed away then 4 weeks later my grandmother pass before my grandfathers insurance came in!

My grandmother may pass before the check is deposited into her account how can my mom or uncles save it before it goes back to insurance

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Apr 6, 2020

The question is not altogether clear to me, but it sounds like the insurance payment is property of your grandmother's estate, and that a probate case needs to be commenced in order to deal with the payment. An attorney with the whole picture will be able to guide you through the probate... Read more »

5 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Michigan on
Q: Got layed off March 19, 2020. On March 20, a debt collector took all the money from bank account, I have no money left.

The money that was in my account was to file bankruptcy, all the courthouses are closed to the public due to the Coronavirus. Everything I had was in my account, now I have no money for rent, food, my car. Is there any way to fight this during a national emergency?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Mar 22, 2020

The bankruptcy courts are not closed for case filings.

You might find an attorney who will file with no money down, or you can file yourself. You can apply for a waiver of the filing fee.

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: A related question. Dad put sis on his deed. He wants to add me. Does sis have to agree?
Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Mar 18, 2020

Probably. If “putting sis on is deed” means that the property was transferred by Dad to Dad and Sis, then Dad and Sis need to sign the deed that conveys it to

Dad, Sis and You. I would need more details to give a definitive answer. An attorney could figure this out once the intention is clear.

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2 Answers | Asked in Banking, Collections and Social Security for Michigan on
Q: Is it legal for my savings acct. ( DIRECT DEP from soc sec) to be garnished by credit card company?? FACTS/background

Joint acct, social security check made out to me for the care of my husband. The only money that goes into this acct is his ss check.

The garnishment was against me not him.

4k was taken without my knowledge. I didn't receive garnishment writ as they stated. I was told I... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Mar 9, 2020

If only SS is in the account, the bank should have raised the issue, but I don’t recommend reliance upon a bank to do so.

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: My husband and I are joint owners of our home. He passed away, and I would like to transfer the deed into my name.

What documents do I need, and where do I go to get the transfer done?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Feb 5, 2020

In other words, your husband was a joint owner. With his death, he ceased to be a joint owner, and you became the sole owner. The land records won't reflect that fact until his death certificate is recorded.

If the deed naming you as a joint owner is already recorded, there is no...
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2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Michigan on
Q: Currently in Chapter 7. Tried to sell my house twice, but trustee never responded to buyer.

The reason I filed is contractors destroyed our house making it unsafe. we fell behind on bills and had to file to avoid losing house. The trustee stated that my house is worth more than I stated; however I informed her about the damage and the amount to fix it. House is now in possession of bank.... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Jan 30, 2020

This is too complicated and the facts too sparse for effective discussion in this forum, and you should consult with an attorney, privately, so that the advice you received is confidential. You may be able to file a motion to compel the trustee to abandon the property, but to do so would probably... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Michigan on
Q: What happens if the trustee didnt file the final report for distribution of assets before the due date?

My Chapter 7 has been reopened due to receiving assets, the judge ordered trustee to file final report on June 1, 2019 but I havent gotten any information since then and the status of the case is still "awaiting trustee's report"

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Jan 27, 2020

There is not usually a deadline, and the order is unusual. It is probably up to you to enforce the order, and ask for the court to impose a consequence.

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for Michigan on
Q: New car contract with a dealership question.

I purchased a new car in 12/19. All the contracts have been "signed, sealed and delivered", I received my new title from Sec. of State. I paid out of pocket (plus a check from my insurance co.) for the car, there is no leanholder on the title. Can the dealership say "oops, one of the... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Jan 15, 2020

I would not dismiss the idea that the dealer can come back for more money. The answer probably depends upon the written agreement. I would look at what you agreed to: You may have agreed to pay $X for the car, and the papers probably show the rebate as the source of partial payment, so, from the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Have property in Florida with joint ownership with my wife and me and my wife's sister. Sister wants to by us out .

Do we used a quit claim deed from Florida or Michigan to convey ownership?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Nov 4, 2019

You and your wife would execute a quit-claim deed in a form complying with Florida requirements, because the deed would be recorded with the county register of deeds in Florida.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Business Law for Michigan on
Q: Do I need to worry about a conflict of interest when hiring a lawyer for an employment contract?

I need to hire a lawyer for help with an employment contract. I've found one in town, but I live in a fairly small town. Should I ask the lawyer if my client is their client and avoid using that lawyer if that is the case?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Oct 25, 2019

It's not wrong to ask, but the lawyer is required to make that determination whether or not you ask.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Does having POA give that person absolute power of the sale of joinly owned property that was inherited?

Myself, two brothers and my sister inherited property when our Dad died. The property is for sale and we cannot agree on a selling price, deadlocked at two votes each. My sister, who has POA claims that she can make the decision without our approval and has continued to lower the price against one... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Sep 9, 2019

Your sister claims to have POA (power of attorney) for whom? Your deceased father, I presume. He no longer has a say in the matter, so neither would his attorney-in-fact. I question her authority.

How is the property titled? When you say you inherited property, do you mean that the...
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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts for Michigan on
Q: Can I change terms in a contract without informing the other party?

For example, say I am looking to take out a loan of $1,000 at 10% to be paid over a year and am able to take the contract home to review.

If I change the contract to instead say that the loan is for $1,000 at 5% to be paid over a year and return the new contract signed, to the bank. If... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Sep 4, 2019

The short answer is no. Perhaps someone else is in the mood to write a lesson in contracts law. I will just use the phrase «no meeting of the minds ».

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law for Michigan on
Q: Can the previous franchise we owned legally force us to repaint our vehicles?

We owned a Servpro restoration franchise. 2 years ago we sold our license instead of renewing, and went on our own. We took all labeling off the vehicles. Servpro is now telling us that we have to have the vehicles repainted. They do not have the color trademarked. The vehicles were never... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Aug 9, 2019

The franchisor can make you stop using their trademarks. You may be correct that the color is not a trademark, but did you agree in the franchise agreement to comply with this request? If repainting is not covered by the agreement or by trademark law or by state competition law (which might be... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Collections for Michigan on
Q: Can a debt collector put a freeze on your bank account if your disabled and receiving social security benefits?

We have a joint bank account. I work, however my husband is on disability. An attorney's office has frozen part of our savings account. Can they touch this if the majority of the money in the account is from my income.

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Aug 2, 2019

Yes, unless you object to the writ of garnishment to raise the issue. The court does not automatically know that the social security proceeds are exempt.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: How can i have a property lien removed?

The lien is not mine and was placed on it 17 years ago by the Department of Justice. I purchased the property 3 years ago through Detroit landbank authority and am trying to sell it. What are my options? Also prospective buyer found the lien through a title search?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Jul 19, 2019

You need to consult with an attorney who can review the land record and the documentation of the lien. It's not possible to provide an answer to your question without a review of the particulars.

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