Mortgagor who removes fixtures during redemption period has not committed larceny

The Michigan Supreme Court has issued an opinion upholding dismissal of charges against a mortgagor who removed cabinets, counter tops, sinks, the furnace, doors, the water heater, and other fixtures from a home after the mortgagee foreclosed but before the redemption period.  The court held that, because the mortgagor retained the exclusive right of possession during the redemption period, he did not remove “property of another” under the larceny statute.

Lest anybody think that mortgagors can now strip property during the redemption period with impunity, the court was quick to point out, in a footnote, that foreclosure sale purchasers have various rights under the foreclosure statutes to address such conduct.  The court also withheld opinion on whether the prosecutor could charge the mortgagor with embezzlement or with malicious destruction of property.

© Steve Sowell 2017