Articles

When Can a Florida Homeowner’s Association Foreclose on Your Home?

The economy remains on shaky ground and more homeowner’s association are still aggressively foreclosing on Florida homes. An association may initiate a Florida foreclosure action if dues are not promptly paid. For example, two families are stuck in a bind after a foreclosure sale purchase of an Orlando home. The initial owners of the house are packing and ready to move after their homeowner’s association foreclosed on their home for missed dues. A third party purchased the home through an auction on the Orange County Clerk’s foreclosure website. The new owners bid $16,000 on the house and bought the home through the auction, however they were unaware that they would also be liable for the previous owner’s $200,000 mortgage. The new owners must also evict the current occupants. The family has not yet moved and they hope to stay in the house by renting it from the new owners. Some of those taking part in the online foreclosure auctions think they are getting a steal until they do more research. In many cases, they find a bank mortgage and they are on the hook to pay back an underwater mortgage. One Way to Avoid HOA Foreclosure in the First Place This story is a cautionary tale. Homeowners who have fallen behind on HOA dues have options. An Orlando foreclosure relief attorney can outline available forms of relief. One way to stay in your home is a bankruptcy. If your property is underwater, or you owe more on your mortgage than the value of your home, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be one way to stop the foreclosure and strip the association arrears....

A Florida Chapter 7 Filing May Now Eliminate a Second Mortgage

For many in the Orlando area it has become common to owe more on your home than it is currently worth. A recent decision out of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals offers a new avenue of relief for struggling homeowners who may soon face foreclosure. In McNeal v. GMAC Mortgage, LLC, the court found that in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy an individual can “strip off” a junior lien. The bankruptcy term “strip off” means that an unsecured lien is removed in its entirety. What is an Unsecured Junior Lien? A homeowner purchased a home for $200,000 in 2004 and financed $165,000 through a mortgage. The value of the home increased and in 2006, the homeowner consolidated debts with a second mortgage of $40,000. In 2012, the home is now valued at $150,000. The homeowner owes $158,000 on the first mortgage and $35,000 on the second mortgage. The second mortgage is a junior lien and is unsecured, because the house is no longer worth the amount owed on the first mortgage. How Does the Case Benefit Underwater Homeowners? Prior to this case, an individual who was underwater and facing foreclosure could only strip a junior lien, such as a home equity line of credit or a homeowner’s association lien, with a Chapter 13 filing. The individual pays back a portion of the debt they owe under a three- or five-year plan in Chapter 13. Banks holding those junior liens receive a portion of what was owed and are treated similarly to other unsecured creditors. In the past a homeowner might have needed to file a Chapter 13 solely to strip off junior...

Florida Foreclosure Proceedings Taking Longer to Process

The length of time between initial filing and completion of a Florida foreclosure continues to grow. On average, the process now takes 749 days, or a little over two years. By comparison, the national average is 366 days. Only two states have longer completion periods than Florida – New York takes the number one spot at 986 days with New Jersey coming in a close second at 974 days. The long processing period is largely due to the fact that Florida foreclosure laws, unlike those in most states, require judicial approval of foreclosures. Combine that with the fact that Florida is home to a disproportionately large share of the country’s foreclosures, and you have a perfect recipe for big backlogs and long waits. The duration of a Florida foreclosure proceeding is not expected to shorten any time soon, as initial filings continue to grow. October’s initial filings were seven percent higher than the same time last year. October also marked the third straight month of increases in foreclosure filings after a temporary slowdown caused after regulators discovered that mortgage companies and loan processers had behaved improperly. Long Wait Gives Florida Homeowners Options The long delay can, in many cases, be a good thing for Florida homeowners facing foreclosure. The two-year window gives homeowners time to consult with a Florida foreclosure attorney and work out a plan to either save their home or minimize the financial impact of the foreclosure. Some homeowners may want to pursue loan modification. The federal government has recently relaxed rules for entry into federal loan modification programs, and lenders are showing increased willingness to work with homeowners...
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