Action13

Homeowner narrowly escapes losing his house

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

A homeowner in Humble is fighting to save his house after it was sold at auction to pay off a debt. Texas law protects homeowners from that if they have a homestead exemption, but the sale went ahead anyway.

The homeowner admits he owed $3,000, a debt racked up by his business. But he never thought his home would be sold at auction to pay that debt.

In Texas, your house can not be sold to pay off a court judgment of a debt if it has a homestead exemption. Richard Sisney's home carries that exemption, but the house ended up on the auction block anyway.

"There was a letter in the mailbox, handwritten, and another on the back gate, handwritten," Sisney said. "It said get out of your house in three days."

Sisney tells us the person who bought the home at auction paid just $780.

"I knew I had a judgment against me, but never knew it was going to go to this extent," he said.

The reason the home ended up at auction dates back to last year when Sisney pulled his business out of a property where he still owed $3,000 rent.

"I left out of the lease owing the money that I owed," Sisney explained.

A court judgment against Sisney led constables from Precinct 4 to file a writ of execution to cover the $3,000 Sisney owed. Constables tell us they then researched the property and found no homestead exemption, and then sold the house to satisfy the judgment, but there was a problem.

Sisney said, "My wife filed for it as soon as we could file for the homestead exemption."

Precinct 4 officials say after Precinct 4 researched the property and before the auction, a period of a few weeks, the Sisneys were granted the homestead exemption. Sisney's attorney, Lauren Allen, says that means the sale at auction never should have taken place.

She said, "The county attorney has told us he thinks it's going to take about a week for them to kind of get everything undone and to get the buyer his money back."

While it appears the home is safe, the county attorney tells us a final resolution is still in the works.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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humble, action13, jeff ehling
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