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Mortgage company rescinds foreclosure on Marshall Fire victim's property

Boulder County man who lost home in Marshall Fire no longer facing foreclosure
Boulder County man who lost home in Marshall Fire no longer facing foreclosure 03:34

80-year-old Ed Sharp takes life in stride, but the last year has tested even his patience.

He's among more than 1,000 people, who lost their homes in the Marshall Fire. His new manufactured house arrived a little over a week ago and if not for Boulder County Treasurer Paul Weissmann, he might have lost it, too. 

Because Sharp has a reverse mortgage, his house has to be his primary residence. If he lives somewhere else for more than a year, regardless of the reason, federal regulations allow his mortgage company to foreclose on his property, which is exactly what happened to Sharp.  

Weissmann says, of all the homes destroyed by the Marshall Fire, only one was rebuilt and occupied within a year. 

"They can't live in a house that's not there," he said. 

He says there was a similar situation after the 2013 Boulder County flood. 

Weissmann pushed to change state law and then to extend the timeline for someone with a reverse mortgage could be out of their home to five years, but the bill failed amid pressure from the mortgage industry.

"It's been on my radar. As we get foreclosures in you see where they're from, see where they're at and this one clearly was a home that wasn't here," he said. 

Weissmann reached out to Sharp immediately to tell him his mortgage company planned to sell his house on June 15. 

"We didn't know about it," Sharp said. 

His daughter-in-law, Maggi, had been in touch with the mortgage company for the last year and even signed an affidavit from the company last fall saying the property was still Ed's primary residence. 

Still, she says, the company didn't even warn them of the foreclosure.  

CBS News Colorado aired a story on Monday explaining Sharp's situation. Two days later, Maggi called him to say his mortgage company had rescinded the foreclosure.

"That's all I heard, 'It got settled'. That was it," Sharp said.

He hopes his story will raise awareness for others with reverse mortgages. 

Sharp says he's received an outpouring of support since his story aired. 

"Really didn't expect it. I had people calling 'what can I do to help? Got cash? How can I help you?' A lot of good people in the world," he said.

Among those good people, he says, is Weissman, who is watching out for other foreclosures involving fire victims. 

"It was just wrong. We have to do what we have to do by law and be a neutral person, but we're also friends and neighbors and we've got to look out for each other," Weissman said. 

State Rep. Kyle Brown, who represents Sharp in the legislature, plans to introduce a bill like the one that failed after the flood. If it passes, it would supersede the federal regulation. Weissmann is hoping to change that as well. 

He says it's unclear how many fire victims have a reverse mortgage.

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