My husband and I recently got suckered into an owner financed rent to own fixer upper home. We made a trip 1000 miles away in December 2011 to look at what the realtor/asset manager for Missouri Asset Services LLC said over the phone were beautiful homes. When we started visiting the homes we found that they were less than desirable; some even had windows missing, furnaces missing and holes in floors where you could see under the house. Some of the homes still had peoples things in them as well from when they moved out. After a week of looking at homes and finding nothing we could move into without spending 1000's of dollars to make it liveable and pass a home occupancy inspection, we had no other choice so we choose one which was already occupied. The realtor, who happens to be the owners daughter, gave us a good line
about how they would get rid of the current tenant of the home due to
the fact that the person had not paid rent. [continued below]....
..... We signed a lease with a purchase to own option that would kick in after 4 years of paying rent. There was no deed for the home, thus making it a rental. We were told by the agent that even though the lease said we were responsible for getting the current tenants out of the home, that Missouri Asset Services would take care of it. The lease was drawn up by the agent and no attorneys were involved. We paid $800 cash to the owner in good faith so that the home would be unoccupied and available when we made our final move in January and we returned home.
Now the story gets interesting. We packed up and moved the 1000 miles and when we arrived the tenant was still in the home we had already paid a down payment on. We were then told by the agent that it was our responsibility to get rid of the tenants ourselves and we would have to take them to court and have them evicted as well as collect the rent we were responsible for from them. This of course was impossible since legally we were renters and the owner financing the home was still the owner of the house. We were told by the Police Department in the City that if we even went onto the property we could be arrested for trespassing, as the owner only filed a service warrant requesting the tenant leave and never filed for a legal eviction which would be signed by a judge, which is required in the state of Missouri for eviction.
We arrived in Missouri on January 12, 2012 and as of February 1 the original tenants were still in the home and we were being called by the secretary of Missouri Asset Services for non-payment of rent on a home we could not even move into. We went to the County Court/Sheriffs Office and were told that our lease was actually void when we signed it because the home was already occupied and that a legal eviction never took place. They then proceeded to tell us that we could not evict the tenants that were in the home because we were not the owners and that Missouri Asset Services was well aware of the eviction laws in Missouri. We were also told by numerous parties that the owner of Missouri Asset Services regularly does business this way and had been in trouble with the law for removing property from homes and destroying it before legally evicting the tenants. All this time we were homeless and spending large amounts of money just to live while we tried to get into the home we had been told would be vacant when we originally signed our lease agreement.
On February 6, 2012 we went to the home and the tenants had vacated per the service warrant date that they were asked to move out by. We proceeded to clean out the home of the 10 30-gallon trash bags of animal feces and trash that was left behind. The city where the home was located required an occupancy permit before the home could be moved into. This included doing all repairs and clean up of the property per the city guidelines, which as "home owners" per Missouri Asset Services LLC, we were responsible for. In order to pass inspection, which we paid for initially and failed we had to repair the hot water heater, the stairs, the dryer plug wires, door frames and clean up a massive amount of trash from the yard, including hazardous waste. At that time, we were still considered renters as no
deed for ownership had changed hands. As of February 17, 2012 we were still not in the home due to the fact that the city had not approved occupancy.
On February 17, 2012, the owner of Missouri Asset Services, LLC went to the home and posted a pay or vacate notice on the door of the property stating that we had not paid rent and that we needed to pay or vacate. The agent then proceeded to tell us that we were responsible for rent even though we could not move into the home and that we should have read our lease agreement better before signing it. We asked for our money back in the amount of our $800 and she laughed at us and said it was non-refundable and that if we choose not to move into the home we would owe the entire length of our lease.
This company and the realtor are misrepresenting the properties they are selling. The pictures on their website are not recent, some had dates ranging from 1997-2007 on them. They are screwing people that are already experiencing financial difficulties with an offer of owner financing and no credit check. As of February 21, 2012 Missouri Asset Services LLC had re-listed our home on their website and were telling people that it was vacant and they could walk right in and look at it. With multiple families showing up to look at the home the first two days we were actually permitted to live in it per the city, we decided that we needed to walk away. We spoke with the secretary on speaker phone as one of the families was standing right with us to find out why she has told them the house was vacant and she lied and said that she told them the house was not available. Right after they left we had a family member call and speak with the secretary who told them
that the home was pending foreclosure, which is funny because a deed
never changed hands granting ownership of the property to us. We called Missouri Asset Services again after speaking with our family member and after 4 days we still had not received a call back so we walked away so that we could try and pick up the pieces of our lives.
Beware, when it sounds too good to be true it usually is. We are out $800 for the deposit and over $500 for repairs, gas to and from the property to make the repairs, and inspection fees. At this time, there is another unsuspecting person trying to get their occupancy for the home. This is not the first problem Missouri Asset Services has had, with the same outcome for the tenants. BBB has two complaints against them. They are not a member with BBB, but they did respond to the complaints and no resolution in the form of refund was issued. The people making those BBB complaints were told by Missouri Asset Services that they were lucky that they were not being sued for the full amount of their lease totaling over $6000.