Bank offered to delay mortgage collections after storm damage, then took their home
HOUSTON – A married couple whose valuable lakefront property was damaged in Hurricane Harvey flooding has filed suit against Bank of America, claiming the bank offered them the option to defer their mortgage payments, then foreclosed on them when they did.
For over a decade, Jennifer and Michael Deering owned a two-story home on Lake Conroe north of Houston. Because of the massive rainfall produced by Harvey in August 2017, their property was heavily damaged. The Deerings were grateful when their mortgage lender, Bank of America, said they could defer their mortgage payments for one year.
But just two months into the “forbearance program,” the bank began sending them foreclosure notices in violation of the agreement they were granted. At the same time, another bank representative reassured them by phone that all was well. The contradictory communications continued for months.
Michael Deering, a construction contractor, had to be rushed to the emergency room after receiving notice that the mortgage was in default. The couple gave up hope and moved into a rental after learning their home would be sold at auction.
“It’s reprehensible that a bank would take advantage of a disaster to lure a couple into what amounted to a bait and switch that cost them their home,” said the Deerings’ attorney Derek Merman of Heard Law Firm of Houston.
The lawsuit alleges Bank of America violated the Texas Debt Collection Act and Deceptive Trade Practices Act through its threats and false representations about the status of the Deerings’ debt and its mishandling of the special forbearance granted to them.
The lawsuit is Jennifer and Michael Deering v. Bank of America Corporation and Bank of America N.A., Cause No. 19-09-12087 in Montgomery County, Texas.
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