Seniors sometimes can quickly end lease

Q: I have a friend who is 70 years old and in poor health. She is going to need to break her lease to move to live with her daughter. I told her of your article, stating that she could do that without any fines or payments. Would you be a dear and send a copy of the article on this matter? — J. A. M.

A: In my state, the law allows a person aged 62 or older to terminate a lease with a calendar month’s notice and no penalty, if they’re moving to a subsidized senior living facility. Most states have similar provisions. In my state, she can also do so if she is moving in with a family member and a doctor certifies she is no longer able to live alone and requires assistance with daily living.

As I don’t know where your friend lives, that’s about all I can tell her. You might try searching the Internet with “senior terminate lease” and the name of her state.

Foreclosure or short sale

Q: Under the assumption that questions are never silly, could you please explain the difference between a short sale house and a foreclosed house? — E. M. H.

A: Those are two different procedures that may be followed when an owner fails to make the promised payments on a lien — a financial claim against the house. Most often, that lien is a mortgage. With a foreclosure, the property is sold at a public auction. The successful bidder must come up with all cash, immediately or shortly after.

Sometimes, the lender may agree to allow a short sale instead. In that case, the property will be sold on the open market in the normal way. The lender agrees to settle for the proceeds, even if there isn’t enough to cover the debt.

With a short sale, the property is likely to bring a higher price, the debt is cancelled, and the property owner’s credit rating doesn’t take quite so bad a hit as with a foreclosure. Lender’s approval is required, though, of any purchase offer. Judging from my mail, short sales are lengthy, complicated and frustrating.

Perhaps I just don’t hear about the ones that go right.

Lienholder dies

Q: My ex-wife has a lien on my house per divorce agreement. She has passed away. Is there a way to get lien removed so I can sell the house with a clear title? — M. C.

A: The lien didn’t die with your ex. It belongs to her estate or to the person who inherited it. You’ll have to deal with them as you would have with her.

Edith Lank will respond personally to any question sent to 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620; or to www.askedith.com.

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