Tomeka Langford felt unseen, and rightfully so, as her home was swiftly taken away from her. Then, it was sold to a white woman for free.
A writer who believed to be the homebuyer of what was Langford’s home detailed the story via The Guardian.
Langford purchased the home in 2010: Langford’s story is straight from a horror movie. She reportedly purchased a home in Banglatown back in 2010 for $700. Prior, she was religiously renting spaces, but she was looking to trade her monthly rent to become a homeowner.
Affordable listing: Fortunately for her, homes were being sold at extremely low prices. Some marked at $5,000, $2,000, $500, and even as low as $1.
Homes priced this low were often accompanied by the task of handling various repairs and high property tax bills. For Langford, she knew exactly what she was walking into as her seller, William C. Murray II, kept her in the loop on repairs and back taxes.
Both were projected to cost at least $10,000. However, Langford claims she had the finances to support the upkeep.
Between 2010 and 2011, she started the process and spent a reported $6,000 or $7,000.
The downward spiral begins: From that moment on, Langford’s homebuying experience seemed short-lived. What should have been joyous moments were taken over by a robbery, time spent away from the home, then stumbling across their home being listed unknowingly on the Wayne county tax foreclosure auction website.
“This is really for sale! They done clinked it out,” Langford recalled about the moment.
Notice of foreclosure: By this time, Langford admits that she did have several issues with making regular payments toward her house. However, Langford claims she never received any notice via the mail at her new home or in person when she would drop off property tax payments for the pending foreclosure.
How Moore obtained ownership of Langford’s home: By 2015, Langford’s home had been sold to Write A House for $5,000. The same home was awarded to Anne Elizabeth Moore as a free gift designed to support writers.
Moore did not realize her home was under Langford’s name until she put the home up for sale two years later.
“After a two-year period, the house was supposed to go in my name. The deed did – the document that gives me the right to own the property. But this is different from a title, as mortgage companies will describe it, because a deed is a document while a title is a legal framework, a set of conditions that confer uncontestable ownership of a property. The title didn’t change hands,” Moore wrote, according to reports. “I discovered this when I put the house on the market, two and a half years after I had moved into it. That was when my title agency informed me that the title to the house was still in Tomeka Langford’s name.”
Langford allegedly first learned her home was given to Moore after opening a document that demonstrated she was being sued for ownership when Moore was seeking to secure the title for the home.
“It’s almost like a death,” Langford said, according to The Guardian. “You don’t never forget it, but you learn to move on.”
Court documents: Moore provides further details that show proof of how they both became at odds over ownership of the home. Court documents from Wayne county showed Langford had only made one payment of $689 and still owed a tax bill set at over $5,000. Even after foreclosure, that number was cut down to $4,449.00. However, Langford is certain she paid down her debt by $1,500 or $2,000.
“I would make multiple payments, like when I’d get my tax [refund], I’d go drop off a lump sum,” Langford explained, according to The Guardian. “Then in between I only had to pay off a hundred dollars, or a hundred and something dollars per month.”
Despite her payments, Stephanie Davis, communications manager in the office of the chief financial officer, city of Detroit, provided further context on how her home was still taken.
“When the 2009 taxes went unpaid for a third year, the ‘Judgment of Foreclosure’ was issued by the Wayne County Treasurer for this property. This happens often when someone purchases a home without checking first to see if the prior owner had unpaid taxes, which the new owner becomes responsible for,” said Davis, according to The Guardian.
Moore and Langford unite: Both Moore and Langford have since met up since the incident, and the story confirms Moore had no inclination she was going to obtain ownership of a home that already belonged to a Detroit native. As for Langford, she is still dealing with the loss of what could have been.
Paying over the assessment rate: Langford’s situation also worsened when you consider she was very likely paying well over the assessment rate of the home. However, she is unlikely to file any lawsuit as she doesn’t feel confident that she has enough information to build a strong case in her favor.
At the very least, for her troubles, Langford does wish to be compensated with another home.
“I do think it would be nice for them to give me another house, because of the one they took,” Tomeka said, according to The Guardian. “That would make me whole. Replace what you took. They got plenty houses. They can spare one or two.”