Rent to own investment washed away after loan goes unpaid
BATON ROUGE - A rent to own deal might have been too good to be true. Now a woman and her four grandchildren are likely going to be kicked out of their home.
For at least the last year, the man who bought a home in Baton Rouge then leased it to Francis Cain hasn't been paying the mortgage. Cain thought she was paying for an opportunity to one day buy the house. She's now realizing she'll soon be packing up and moving out.
Cain says she initially saw the posting for the house on Craigslist.
"A great offer, $10,000 down and paying $650 a month for 15 years," she said.
The home price was $105,000. Cain says she put $10,000 down and was working to pay off the existing $95,000 balance by making monthly payments of $650. She entered into the agreement in September 2015 to pay on the existing mortgage granted by Alex Hamilton Jr., of Hamilton Investment Properties Community Housing, Inc. and made her first $650 payment that October.
Receipts show Cain has paid that $650 in cash each month, excited about the goal of owning her own home.
But earlier this year, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office delivered paperwork for a Notice of Seizure.
"It really just like startled me because I had faithfully been paying my note every month," said Cain.
Soon after, Alex Hamilton Jr. filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The Sheriff's Office says it's known about the housing foreclosure since April and scheduled sheriff's sale for July. Since Hamilton filed for bankruptcy in June, the house has been in limbo. Meanwhile, Cain has continued to pay rent.
Cain tells 2 On Your Side that Hamilton recently posted paperwork on her door alerting her of the Chapter 13 filing along with a Wells Fargo statement from July 2017. The Wells Fargo paperwork shows no transactions have happened on the loan for the entire year. Unpaid payment and late charges total $13,114.73. A handwritten note says the $650 she's been paying for more than two years is not applied to the house she's living in and that an additional payment of $709.58 must be paid directly to the bank.
"It's like $2,000 has been paid on the note since I first purchased the house in 2015," said Cain.
It makes her wonder where all the money she's paid has gone.
"That's a good question, I guess his personal use," she said.
Now she's wrapped up in a legal battle because the note hasn't been paid. Perhaps what's worse is that her family will soon have to find someplace else to live and her investment has gone down the drain.
Wells Fargo provided the following statement to 2 On Your Side. "Our customer, Mr. Hamilton, should have obtained Wells Fargo's consent before transferring title to the property without paying off the loan. Unfortunately, we were not aware of the unauthorized transfer or the agreement between Mr. Hamilton and Ms. Cain until the loan became delinquent and we moved to foreclosure. No foreclosure sale is currently scheduled due to Mr. Hamilton's ongoing bankruptcy, and we are reaching out to Ms. Cain to explain the situation and to discuss options that may be available."
Hamilton denied comment to 2 On Your Side.