RENÉE C. BYER / rbyer@sacbee.com

Cindy Amrine and daughter Lauren, left, and three other daughters thought they might have to split up.

Weeklong reprieve for Citrus Heights family facing eviction

Published: Sunday, Jun. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013 - 9:20 am

A family facing eviction Saturday from their longtime Citrus Heights home won a weeklong reprieve after a lawyer for Bank of America, which foreclosed on the family and auctioned the house in April, intervened with the new owner, the family said.

"B of A was trying to postpone the eviction," said Cindy Amrine, a single mother of four teenage daughters. The family faced the prospect of being pushed out of their house this weekend with nowhere to live or store a lifetime's worth of possessions.

On Saturday, Amrine said a supervisor with Strategic Property Management in Burbank told her a Bank of America lawyer had been calling to secure her more time to move.

The Burbank firm is managing the house for its new owners, an investment fund called ColFin Ai-CA 5 LLC, based in Santa Monica, that bought the house at auction April 22.

A Bank of America spokesman could not be reached for comment Saturday.

The bank has made no statements on the situation, which generated an outpouring of support from Bee readers after a story on Friday described the family's plight and its efforts to use a new state law to seek redress for what it claimed was a wrongful foreclosure.

Amrine has sued Bank of America, alleging it violated the state's new "homeowner bill of rights" by selling her house at a foreclosure auction just as she was near completion of a bank-approved short sale – in which the lender would have accepted less than what is owed.

The terms of Amrine's short sale called for her to receive $20,000 in relocation assistance from the bank – an incentive available to some distressed homeowners. The money would have allowed the family to pay rent on a new home for a year, Amrine said.

Instead, she and her daughters – ages 13, 15, 18 and 19 – found themselves destitute with nowhere to live after a difficult divorce, the mother's joblessness and the ex-husband's failure to pay child support, Amrine said.

The lawsuit, filed last week by Sacramento attorney Jan Dudensing, raises the new legal issue of whether the homeowner bill of rights' prohibition on dual tracking applies to short sales.

Dual tracking is a practice, widely criticized as deceptive, in which lenders move forward with foreclosure even while trying to work out a loan modification or other alternative to keep troubled borrowers in their homes.

Dudensing said the dozens of offers that have poured in on the family's behalf include area residents saying they can pay the family's rent for six months. Others have offered storage spaces and assistance moving, she said.

Some have asked to care for the family's pets – two dogs and four cats.

"I think it touches a lot of people," the lawyer said. "It's close to home. It could be anyone."

Amrine said the support – and the unexpected reprieve – has renewed hope for her and her daughters, who just days ago were planning to go to an emergency shelter or split up the family and sleep on friends' couches.

"I let the girls sleep in today," Amrine said. "We know we still have a big job ahead of us."

Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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