'Frequent' mortgage company error could mean you don't own your home, officially

(KUTV) — Last July, Lynette Hubbard celebrated a big milestone: She paid off the mortgage on her Saratoga Springs home.

When she turned to the Utah County recorder’s office to get a copy of her home’s deed, however, she noticed a glaring error.

"My name wasn't on it."

The official county records show her home is actually owned by someone she's never met who lives 30 miles away — on the other side of the county. Stranger still, records show Hubbard owns that person’s home.

At first, Hubbard said it seemed like nothing more than an honest mistake, but several months later she couldn't seem to get anyone to clean up the mess.

“I can't get anywhere at all," she said. "Nobody will talk to me. I've got dark circles under my eyes because I'm so frustrated and lost sleep over this. I'm running out of makeup."

Attorney Gregory Schultz says mistakes like the one afflicting Hubbard are common. He says county books are packed with errors and that there are "frequently problems like this with title recordings."

The reason, Schultz said, is that mortgage companies churn out paperwork so frequently that human error makes mistakes inevitable.

Fixing the mistakes can be a battle because it’s not a simple process. In order for a recorder's office to fix a record, a mortgage company has to fix the deed and then send that fixed-deed in to be re-recorded.

Schultz says these types of errors can lead to expensive issues, like stalled home sales being or missed deadlines on abandoned, after real-estate-contracts.

Hubbard is lucky she found the problem early.

“She was able to discover this problem when it was fresh and at its easiest to fix," he said. "All homeowners are recommended to behave in the way that she did," Schulz said.

Even with catching the mistake early, Hubbard had problems getting it fixed.

Schultz' advice?

"What really gets the work done is getting up higher in the chain of command within the company to a person who has the ability to fix the problem," he said.

Well, that is often where Get Gephardt can be of service.

So, this time, we reached out to Hubbard's mortgage company, M&T Bank on her behalf, speaking to someone “higher in the chain of command” who worked in the public relations department. The bank immediately fixed the error, and the Utah County recorder now has a corrected deed showing Hubbard owns her own home.

The Utah County Recorder’s office confirmed titles are frequently recorded with errors, but it would not get specific. The office said it doesn’t track how many deeds have to be fixed for mistakes.

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