On April 5, 2012, the day after regaining entry to my house after evicting the tenant for nonpayment of rent, I was granted a $15,000 judgment against him. But I acted too soon in filing for that judgment. As I walked throughout the house taking notes on damage and missing items, I discovered he had taken over $30,000 in furniture and other belongings from my home. (At some point I will have to figure out how to get the $15,000 judgment order changed or amended to include the extra amount.)
For the 15 years I paid premiums, I had never filed a claim against my homeowner insurance policy - not even auto insurance (40 years). I had obtained homeowners insurance with American Commerce Insurance Company through AAA. But that April, I filed my first claim ever. It was for $30,000, and I provided receipts and a list of all the items missing. A week later I received a letter canceling my insurance coverage because I had failed to tell them I had rented out the house (which would have raised the premiums even more). I was so busy and distraught over the mess I had to clean up - which costs me thousands of dollars - I wasn't able to get another insurance policy for five months. And of course it cost me more than what I had been paying. A short time later CitiMortgage informed me I owed them $1200 for the period of time I didn't have insurance. They made me pay $100.00 extra every month, which I am still paying. The mortgage payment is now $2,080 monthly.
At my husband's death, my income decreased immediately with the loss of almost half his pension and all of his Social Security benefits, which combined amounted to about $1,000 a month. Then it cost even more ($500 monthly) when I refinanced the mortgage shortly before his death (i.e., the federal government allows a spouse to file for life insurance benefits if the dying spouse's death is expected within nine months or less of the filing and is so certified by a licensed physician). At that point in time, CitiMortgage, Inc. was the servicer and FannieMae was the owner of the loan. It remains that way today.
My job search has been a failure, and very frustrating. I thought a BA degree would help open doors, but not, I suppose, if you are middle-aged. But I continue to seek employment although I don't hold out much hope. Meanwhile, I am in the process of filing a complaint with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. I have filed complaints with other agencies, and will provide details on those efforts in another, future posting. It's just a matter of getting all the documents together and focusing on the task. Not easy.
Once I finally got the house back in presentable condition, I rented out rooms. More problems there, which I will discuss in my next post.