There are more rent-to-own-type property deals falling through the cracks, which have left some Wyandotte County residents on the street, according to the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Department.
"When our deputy shows up, they are not packed up, there are movers there to move their stuff out, they may be ill or an elderly person inside that are asked to be put to the street,'" said Lt. Kelli Bailiff, of the sheriff's department. "That's just gut-wrenching for us."
Keith Morgan bought a home through a rent-to-own deal with a Roeland Park, KS, couple, but in the end it turns up he may have paid for nothing.
"I fix houses for a living so I thought it was a perfect deal," Morgan said.
The house located along Park Drive in Kansas City, KS, Morgan described as a "real fixer-upper." One of the first projects he did was to install a little blue slide on the property for his 3-year-old son.
"I just wanted to buy a house for me and my son instead of living in an apartment," Morgan said. "It went all wrong."
In December there was a fire at the home which damaged those dreams for the future. Morgan said he was concerned at first, but remembered his monthly payment to the Roeland Park couple included $60 for homeowner's insurance.
"When I went to them to ask them ‘who do I call about the insurance that you said was part of the payment?' they said there wasn't any insurance, they forgot to buy it," Morgan said.
KCTV5 Investigative Reporter Eric Chaloux discovered through public records with the Unified Government that the people Morgan was paying each month weren't the business listed on the county tax rolls. Instead, a South Carolina business was listed on the documents.
It turns out Morgan was dealing with a local group who appear to be doing a similar "rent-to-own" purchase option themselves. Those rent-to-own types of arraignments could create trouble, if a person doesn't know all the details.
"His story is not unique at all, there's a lot of people in our community that have been involved in this situation," Bailiff said.
The sheriff's office doesn't offer legal advice, but reminds anyone considering any type of rental or home ownership to investigate the parties they're doing business with before it's too late. Some of the people being evicted the sheriff's office said thought were paying to buy the home from the "actual" owner, but it turns out they were not.
Bailiff gave Chaloux a form that can be picked up at any courthouse, called an affidavit of equitable interest. It could help secure a person's rights in a property if the deal goes south.
"Do your homework up front, use your resources and get that professional help beforehand and you're going to save yourself headache on the other end," Bailiff said.
Morgan couldn't afford to make any more repairs to the property due to the lack of homeowner's insurance. The hardest part he said is walking away from the property and the little blue slide in the front yard.
"It's been hell, I tried to live in it for a while," he said. "It was heart breaking."
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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