Mattie B. Owens got a knock at her door early Thursday morning from the Harris County Precinct 7 Constable's office. Deputy constables were following orders to evict her from her home on Longmeadow Drive, dragging everything she owns to the street.
"I'm no squatter," Owens said. "I started paying for this house over 35 years ago and I done paid."
Owens and her attorney, Derek Deyon, filed a lawsuit earlier this year against Chase Bank and another investor, claiming the bank made a mistake and sold her home even though she had already paid for it.
"We were set for court on Sept 1, 2017, for a temporary injunction hearing to stop the eviction that's occurring now," Deyon said. "However, the court date was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey."
Owens called Deyon Thursday morning in a panic. Deyon rushed to the courthouse. A judge granted a temporary restraining order to stop the eviction.
According to the lawsuit, Chase Bank sent Owens a letter on Aug. 15 stating, "During a recent review of your account, we found that we may have made an error related to the foreclosure activity for your account. To address this, we've enclosed a check for $840.10."
Deyon is not sure what Chase is acknowledging in that letter. He plans to work out the details in court later this month.
"Banks do make mistakes," Deyon said. "It's almost impossible to owe $39,000 after 29 years. You would have had to have been behind for a long time and Chase would have foreclosed on my clients a long time ago."
Owens' family is helping her move her belongings back inside. She'll get to stay in her home, at least for the time being, before her next court date in late September.
"I done paid for this house, 35 years of sweat. And it wasn't easy," Owens said, "I wasn't on no job that makes a whole lot of money, you know what I mean? But the one thing I did pay was mortgage."
When reached for comment, Chase spokesperson Greg Hassell released the following statement: "We worked with the customer for several years to keep her in her home, but despite these efforts, it finally went to sale in January. Foreclosure is always the last resort."
Chase said it was not involved in the decision to evict Owens and that the home sold in January 2017.
The bank also said it has put a 90-day suspension of foreclosures and eviction proceedings for all customers who live in areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. During that time, Chase will not refer loans to foreclosure, assess late fees or report negative information to credit agencies. Foreclosures already referred to an attorney will be halted and the property will not be sold.
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