Personal Finance For the Publicly Employed: Quit Paying Your Mortgage Because Your Overtime's Been Reduced


San Jose Merc surveys the default-no-foreclosure demographic, and turns up the story of one brave bus driver:

S.J. man fights back

San Jose homeowner and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus driver Darrell Thomas stopped paying his mortgage in late 2008 after he lost overtime pay and while he was seeking a loan modification. He was offered a trial modification in April last year, but as he was about to start making the new payments, he learned he'd been foreclosed on. With help from an attorney, he successfully sued to get back his triplex, where he lives and has tenants.

But he's still pursuing legal action against his lender, Wells Fargo, because he feels he was improperly denied a loan modification under the Home Affordable Modification Program. In May he began making mortgage payments for the first time in almost a year and a half, as part of an agreement with Wells Fargo to ensure the bank would not foreclose on him during litigation.

While some might find relief in walking away from their homes after prolonged struggle, "I don't look at it that way," said Thomas, 46. "That's home. I'm established, that's where my family's at, and it's hard to start over."

Don't you have to start the first time before you can start over? The article doesn't say when Thomas closed. But if the loss of overtime pay is enough to render you unable to pay your mortgage, you are by definition a "reach" borrower. If Thomas has one penny of equity in this property, I'll switch to non-alcoholic beer.

If anybody should be suing Wells Fargo, it is Thomas' tenants, for not foreclosing on him while he's running a completely fraudulent business: living free and collecting rents.