Posts Tagged ‘Florida foreclosure attorney’

More Relief on the Way under Florida Hardest Hit Fund

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Last Friday, the board of directors at Florida Housing Finance Corporation approved changes to eligibility requirements for the Florida Hardest-Hit Fund (HHF) Program.  Such changes will not be effective until the U.S. Treasury reviews and accepts the revised term sheets for the program, Advisor Agencies have been re-trained, and the online application is updated.  The new program is expected to take effect in June or July, 2012.  As of April 9, 2012, $101.8 million has been set aside for eligible applicants in the State of Florida (though the state received more than $1 billion from the federal government in 2010).

Highlights of the newly-expanded program include:

  • Up to 12 months of mortgage payments on behalf of unemployed or underemployed borrowers (up from 6 months);
  • Mortgage reinstatement to bring delinquent mortgages current, up to $18,000 (currently the maximum is $6,000);
  • Allowing more condominium unit homeowners to be eligible for relief;
  • Making the program available to homeowners regardless of when their mortgages originated (rather than limiting the program only to those whose loans originated on or before January 1, 2009);
  • Extending eligibility to homeowners who are delinquent more than 6 months (if the servicer agrees); and
  • Requiring a minimum 10% reduction in income to constitute a hardship.

The foreclosure defense attorneys at PERENICH The Law Firm are monitoring the progress of these ongoing changes in the Florida Hardest Hit Program.  For years, we have assisted homeowners throughout the Tampa Bay, Florida area in saving their homes from foreclosure by negotiating mortgage loan modifications at mediation, defending their foreclosure cases in court, and helping them catch up on missed payments in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Bank of America Settles Racial Discrimination Claim for $335 Million

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

The U.S. Justice Department announced on December 21, 2011 that Bank of America agreed to a $335 million settlement for racial bias allegations in connection with Countrywide Financial mortgage loans. This is the largest residential fair lending settlement in history, according to the New York Times. Bank of America was under investigation by the Justice Department over allegations of racial bias against African American and Hispanic mortgage lenders by Countrywide Financial between 2004 and 2008, before it was acquired by Bank of America in 2008.

The investigation by the Justice Department revealed that loan officers and brokers from Countrywide charged higher fees and rates to over 200,000 minority borrowers across the country than to white borrowers who posed the same credit risk. According to the New York Times article from December 21, 2011, “Countrywide also steered more than 10,000 minority borrowers into costly subprime mortgages when white borrowers with similar credit profiles received regular loans.”

This settlement is the latest in a series of costly agreements by Bank of America related to improper mortgage lending practices by its predecessor, Countrywide.  In June 2010, the company agreed to pay $108 million to settle charges that Countrywide imposed inflated fees on homeowners struggling to stay in their homes.   Just two months later in August 2010, Bank of America agreed to settle lawsuits by shareholders for their mortgage losses for $600 million.

Additionally, an investigation is currently underway against several mortgage lenders in connection with improper foreclosure practices.  That investigation could spell another costly settlement for Bank of America.

The foreclosure and bankruptcy attorneys at PERENICH The Law Firm have decades of experience representing distressed homeowners and helping them stay in their homes or discharging any deficiency judgment liability to the banks following foreclosure.

Deed-Rent Back Scam Adds to Foreclosure Fiasco

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Much has been reported in the past year about questionable tactics by mortgage lenders and their attorneys in their efforts to foreclose on homes throughout Florida and the United States, despite the lenders’ inability to prove they owned the loans or otherwise had legal standing to foreclose.  This, in turn, has made short sales and foreclosure sales more difficult because the prospective buyers are unable to obtain title insurance if there is no clear evidence of ownership by the foreclosing lender.

As if the foreclosure situation in Florida wasn’t already fraught with issues of title and proper ownership, an Osceola County, Florida man has compounded the problem by placing himself on more than 100 deeds to foreclosed properties.  According to an article in today’s St. Petersburg Times, the deeds are improper because the man, named Jacob Dyck, convinced homeowners, who were desperate to remain in their home, to sign a deed to the property over to Dyck in exchange for a $2,500 fee and monthly rent.   The problem is that the deeds were signed after final foreclosure judgment had been entered in favor of the lender banks, meaning the homeowners no longer owned the home and had no right to sign the deed to Dyck.  Thus, Dyck has no claim to the properties, yet the effect of filing the bogus deeds continues to cloud title and hinder prospective buyers’ ability to purchase these properties.

The attorneys at PERENICH The Law Firm have more than 20 years of experience representing homeowners facing foreclosure on their homes, whether by the lender or an HOA.  We work to help homeowners remain in their homes by defending the foreclosure and and participating in mediation with the lender.  Depending on the situation, bankruptcy can also allow homeowners to keep their home and reinstate their mortgage.

HOAs & Investors Add Insult to Injury for Hurting Homeowners

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Homeowner associations (HOAs) and unscrupulous real estate investors are riding the wave of misfortune in the distressed housing market–all the way to the bank.  As illustrated in a recent St. Petersburg Times article concerning this latest practice, HOAs are racing to file a foreclosure action against homeowners who are behind on their HOA dues before the bank lender initiates foreclosure on the mortgage.   If the HOA can obtain a final judgment before the bank, it can then sell the property at auction to try to recoup the delinquent fees.

Real estate investors then purchase such homes at public auction, often for pennies on the dollar, and subsequently they rent the homes until the bank catches up and forecloses.  Tenants are seldom notified by these investor-landlords of the impending bank foreclosure, and they are often shocked when they are served with an eviction notice.  Like the homeowners before them, the tenants are then are forced to find a new place to live in a very short time and must scramble to find the money for a new deposit and moving costs.

One HOA foreclosure investor, who was convicted in 1999 and served time in state prison for armed robbery, boasted in the St. Petersburg Times article that he was able to purchase a $700,000 property for merely $7,000.  Another investor featured in the article is also a former inmate; he was indicted for Medicare fraud to the tune of $14 million.

The attorneys at PERENICH The Law Firm have more than 20 years of experience representing homeowners facing foreclosure on their homes, whether by the lender or an HOA.  We work to help homeowners remain in their homes by fighting the foreclosure as well as trying to negotiate a loan modification or short sale.  Depending on the situation, bankruptcy can also allow homeowners to keep their home and reinstate their mortgage.

Hardest Hit Fund will Help More Floridians Avoid Foreclosure

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

This week, Florida Housing announced the expansion of a federal foreclosure prevention program called the “Hardest Hit Fund” throughout the State of Florida.   On Monday, April 18, 2011, Florida homeowners facing possible mortgage foreclosure will be able to apply online for help under the program.

This foreclosure assistance program offers help in two ways:

  • The Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program will provide 6 months of mortgage assistance (up to $12,000) to unemployed or underemployed Florida homeowners.  Homeowners will have to pay 25% of their monthly income or at least $70 toward their monthly mortgage payment.
  • Alternatively, the Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Program will pay up to $6,000 to bring a delinquent mortgage current, if the homeowner has returned to work or is recovering from underemployment.

Homeowners may qualify for this program if:

  • they have suffered a financial hardship such as job loss and are currently unemployed or underemployed;
  • their total household income is below 140% of the area median income;
  • they are fewer than 180 days (6 months) delinquent on their mortgage payments;
  • their mortgage payments are more than 31% of their gross monthly income;
  • the property must be their primary residence;
  • they have not had a bankruptcy discharge or dismissal; and
  • they have not been convicted of a mortgage-related felony.

The complete eligibility requirements are available on the Hardest Hit website.

The Hardest Hit Fund program in Florida began as a pilot in Lee County last year.  The federal government provided a total of $1.05 billion to the State of Florida, with the last installment being paid in September, 2010.  The 7-month delay in making the program available to eligible Floridians throughout the state was due in large part to “very strong mixed signals” from Governor Rick Scott’s administration.

Florida Housing hopes the program will help approximately 40,000 struggling homeowners avoid losing their homes in foreclosure.

At PERENICH the law firm, our foreclosure defense attorneys are committed to helping Florida homeowners in distress save their homes or avoid deficiency judgments through loan modifications, short sales, deeds in lieu of foreclosure, and bankruptcy.