A Schaumburg man who was living in his own yard after being padlocked out of his house during foreclosure proceedings was able to move back inside Thursday.
John Wuerffel, 62, of the 1400 block of Hampton Lane was returned access to his home by representatives of HSBC Mortgage Corp., which is handling the foreclosure case on behalf of Freddie Mac.
HSBC spokesman Neil Brazil said the house was padlocked last fall to protect its value after it appeared to have been abandoned by Wuerffel, who couldn't be found.
Wuerffel said he was living out of state when the house was padlocked, and he returned to find it in that way. He spent the winter living in homeless shelters and took to sleeping in one of his several vehicles parked in the driveway when the shelters closed in the spring.
Wuerffel's vehicles are packed with his belongings and the inside of the house is believed to be full of clutter as well. Wuerffel, who is unemployed and in debt on the house, said he collects empty soda cans which can be redeemed for a dime each in Michigan.
The house has not yet been foreclosed, and Brazil said court proceedings are on hold for the present as Freddie Mac reviews the case.
As Wuerffel remains the legal owner of the house, he had the right at any time to ask for his access to the property to be returned but never did, Brazil said.
Schaumburg officials, who've also been working with Wuerffel, confirmed that he'd been made aware of this right.
Wuerffel said he is supposed to be on medication for bipolar disorder and a heart condition, but that his financial situation has sometimes kept him from affording either one.
In fact, Wuerffel said medical bills are to blame for the threatened foreclosure of the home he's owned since 1971.
Wuerffel himself hasn't been the only one adversely affected by his situation. Neighbors have been annoyed not only by the condition of the outside of his house where he hoards all his belongings, but have said he changes his clothes in public view in the driveway.
Mark Newton, a reverse-mortgage specialist for Perl Mortgage in Deerfield has been working with Wuerffel on getting a mortgage that would allow him to keep the house.
While Wuerffel is technically eligible for such a mortgage because he's over the age of 62, the value of the house - and its current condition - come into play in such decisions, Newton said.
The village of Schaumburg was in court Friday in its ongoing effort to get a court order to clean up Wuerffel's property against his will. Such an improvement in the condition of the property could play a positive role in Wuerffel's pursuit of a reverse mortgage, Newton said.
Schaumburg officials who attended Friday's court hearing said that the hearing was continued to Tuesday after Wuerffel filed a request for a jury trial.