Even though I had only a 15 year mortgage, it transferred about 4 times during that time. I never had any problem getting a satisfaction of mortgage to file with my county to show the mortgage was paid off when it came time. I think the woman exploited the system and then discovered she could continue to exploit it while living a better life or putting away more in savings than she really should have. I'm surprised the IRS didn't come into this somewhere since she was in essence receiving a service of value during those years without paying any tax on it. For instance if you are forgiven part of a mortgage in today's market, you owe the IRS tax on that portion, it's considered same as income for that year. It's a small town, otherwise she'd have had zoning all over her for keeping the windows boarded up while someone was living there. She seems to be a cantankerous person who enjoys getting one up on others. Interestingly, the value of the outstanding mortgage and past interest due on it seems to be about the value of the house currently, so in the end whoever does hold the note on it, may make out fairly well since they would have bought the mortgage at a discount from the previous holders wanting to be rid of it. The question will be if the house is also in her daughter's name on the old woman's death.
In a way, she sort of turned her mortgage into an older style that used to exist almost 100 years ago, called a balloon mortgage. That was one most often used for farmers, who would pay only the interest due on a loan for 20 years and then expected to buy the farm outright for the mortgage amount at the end of those years. Those were interest only loans and often were renewed for a new rate at the end of the 20 years or when the "balloon" payment was expected. In this woman's case however, the interest will be a lien against the property and it's increased value over the years. Even though property values have dropped these past 2 years in Florida, it's still higher than the mortgage on the property when she and husband moved into the house.