They give notice to the homeowner. The only instance where I could even see this possible is through the various HUD and voluntary moratoriums on foreclosures. But those were all temporary and homeowners still had the option to voluntarily hand over the home in a pre-foreclosure sale.
Again, banks are backed by investors. Banks want a clear title with no liens in order to ensure payment from the investor. I can't imagine the scenario where a bank is willing to take a total loss with no reimbursement from the investor. I can imagine that during a moratorium, the homeowner by design still owns the home and is responsible for it. If homeowners abandoned their responsibility and did not take measures to hand over the home, I could see more fines or penalties being incurred. But even still, as soon as the moratorium is lifted, the bank will do everything to get clear title to get their money back.
This is not an issue for the banks, but for institutions like HUD, Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie.
You know what would have been great in any of these articles?
One mentions "thousands" out of 10 million. But neither mention any banks or mortgage companies, any explanation of any status, or any statement from any financial institution that might be responsible for any wrong doing. Just because someone claims you owe something, does not mean it is legally true. Wouldn't be the first time alarmist and shaky journalism has tried to spread fear.
See, mortgages don't just float in space. They are all backed in some regard. FHA, VA, or Conventional. Backing risky loans was the problem with the housing bubble. Yes people are responsible for their own debt, but when they default, there is another shoe that falls when those backing the loan still insure the borrowed amount. Title ownership is a secondary matter. Clear title and ownership can happen regardless of foreclosure.
Also, there was a foreclosure moratorium. Where banks could not foreclose. If someone abandoned a property or a foreclosure process had started, but the bank was forced to halt it, it is not the responsibility of the banks for this delayed (maybe indefinitely) proceeding. It is the fault of the government policy that forced this.
And most of the time, if the homeowners had taken responsible measure to attempt to Short Sale or Dee in Lieu, they would have been better off. There still may be rare occasions where this could happen and while the borrower can be pursued, ultimately falls on the lender and the insurer of the loan.