Question and Answer: Foreclosure Stripping

<strong>Q: Hi Anthony: Recently my neighbors’ house was foreclosed on, and we got into a debate when they said they were going to strip the house of the light fixtures, ceiling fans and appliances. I told them that this was illegal, but they disagreed. What can owners take from a foreclosed home?

Mary L. in Chandler, AZ

A: Mary,
Your neighbors could face prosecution if they decide to strip their home. Not only is it considered a felony in Arizona, but it morally wrong. The following is a list of items that must stay in the foreclosed home:

  • Appliances such as built in microwave, dishwasher etc.
  • Cabinets and counter tops
  • Furnaces and air conditioning units
  • Plumbing and copper pipes
  • Electrical wiring
  • Light fixtures and ceiling fans
  • Doors and hardware
  • Flooring such as tile and carpet
  • Windows and vents
  • Medicine cabinets, sinks, tubs, toilets and showers
  • Sink drains and faucets
  • Landscaping, fencing, built-in pools and spas
  • Built-in shelving / bookcases

Here are some other things you legally cannot do:

  • Smash windows
  • Spray paint walls or windows
  • Turn on all the water faucets and plug up the drains

However, there are certain items a home owner can legally remove:

  • All personal items brought into the home by the owner such as furniture, clothing and common household items such as dishes, pans and silverware
  • Mirrors
  • Personal artwork and photographs from walls
  • Stationary lamps
  • Pets and pet-related items such as dog houses or aquariums
  • Drapes or curtains
  • Refrigerators, televisions, computers and stereo equipment
  • Area rugs
  • Indoor plants
  • Portable fans and heaters

I would strongly suggest that you talk to your neighbors and persuade them to reconsider rather than face the potential of serious consequences.

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