A mortgage release, also known as a deed in lieu of foreclosure, essentially transfers ownership of a property back to the mortgage company in exchange for releasing the borrower from making any more loan payments. Deeds in lieu are usually initiated by the borrowers and need to be mutually agreed-upon and conducted in good faith.

Deeds in lieu are beneficial for the borrowers, as it releases them from further obligation and saves them the embarrassment and credit damage that would come from a foreclosure. They are also beneficial to the lender, as foreclosures and forced removals are themselves costly. Also, deeds in lieu greatly reduce the risk of borrower revenge, since the borrowers are incentivized to maintain the property to receive more generous terms.

A deed in lieu of foreclosure could be a good option for borrowers that are underwater, behind in payments, or are unable to sell the property. Sometimes, lenders include relocation incentives or allow the borrowers to remain in the property, rent free, while other living situations are secured.

As with any legal document, it is strongly advised that you have an experienced real estate attorney review the deed in lieu to make sure that the terms are satisfactory and that you are getting the best deal possible. The language in these documents can be dense and complicated, so it is worth the money to have an attorney review them to ensure the language is optimal for you.

Additionally, you may also want to speak with a CPA to remain informed of any tax implications from the deed in lieu. You don’t want any surprises when April 15 rolls around.

If you are having difficulty paying your mortgage, just remember that there are options available to you. Be sure to contact an experienced attorney to go over your specific situation and recommend the course of action that will be most beneficial to you and your family.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help you navigate this process and make the most of a difficult situation. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

Ideally, tenant-landlord relationships are open and communicative, with neither party ever blindsided by unexpected news. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, which is why many states have provisions regulating how much notice both tenants and landlords are required to give one another in the event of changes.

If a landlord chooses to sell a rental property, the lease usually transfers over to the new owners and rent is paid to them and the original lease terms still apply. However, in a situation where there is no long-term lease agreement and the property is rented month-to-month, things get trickier. In Florida, the landlord is only required to give 15 days’ notice that the month-to-month lease will not be renewed, whether due to sale of the property or any other valid reason. Fifteen days is not very much time to secure another living situation, so try to maintain open and frequent communication with your landlord about his plans for the property.

Additionally, your landlord may request access to the property for inspection or showing it to potential buyers. In most states, landlords are required to provide at least 24 hours’ notice prior to these visits and tenants are required to make reasonable accommodations.

As always, the specific terms of your lease agreement may vary, so it could be beneficial to have an experienced attorney review your rental documents and inform you of your rights as a tenant, as well as your landlord’s rights and responsibilities. If your landlord has been delinquent with repairs or other upkeep for the property, you have options like withholding rent.

If your landlord informs you that he will be selling the property, contact the new owners to see if they would like to continue renting the property to you, even if it’s just for another few weeks as you try to find a new place to stay. It’s worth a try.

For specific questions, be sure to contact an attorney and read up on your state’s specific regulations regarding tenant-landlord relationships.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

According to Florida law, HOAs are entitled to any late fees, interest accrued and even attorney fees incurred as a result of past due assessments whether or not the association filed a foreclosure suit against you.

If your lender forecloses on your home or condo, they can declare your association as a defendant in their suit whether or not the association has placed a lien on the property due to unpaid assessments.  As a named defendant, your HOA cannot collect past due assessments from you directly.  In this instance, Florida requires your lender pay the association up to one year’s worth of past due assessments or 1% of the mortgage—whichever of the two is less.

It’s important to be aware of your HOAs bylaws in order to ensure that a past due assessment does not turn into a much more expensive problem that can potentially cost you your home.  Allowing association fees to turn into foreclosure proceedings may result in a bill up to ten times greater than the original amount. If you are past due on assessments, avoid further headaches and contact your association immediately in order to reach an agreement or work out a payment plan.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

A deficiency judgment occurs when a foreclosed home sells for less than the balance owed on the mortgage loan; in the state of Florida, your lender has the legal right to file suit against you in order to garnish your financial assets and recover the difference. If you are facing foreclosure, you may be wondering whether your retirement assets are in jeopardy of being swallowed up by a deficiency judgment. But breathe easy because under Florida law, retirement accounts are out of reach from creditors.

Pension plans and retirement accounts are protected from creditors in the state of Florida and as such cannot be attached to a deficiency after a foreclosure sale. All monies or assets in a retirement or profit sharing plans are exempt from all claims from creditors, including foreclosure and/or bankruptcy proceedings. All IRA accounts, including rollover and inherited IRAs, are protected under Florida Statute 222.21(2)(a) and will not be claimed by your lender; however, the statute does require the account be maintained with a Florida financial institution or branch in order to qualify for exempt status under Florida law. The state of Florida applies the statute broadly, adding emphasis to county and state employee pensions, such as teachers, police officers and firefighters. The rationale behind Florida’s retirement exemption is to ensure that Florida residents are able to support themselves in retirement and are not instead forced to depend on the state as a result of a default.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

After a foreclosure, you may be surprised to find that the nightmare is far from over, but if your mortgage lender is unable to recover their entire loan balance after a foreclosure sale, you’re still very much along for the ride.

A deficiency occurs when a mortgage lending institution is unable to cover its investment with the proceeds from the sale of a foreclosed home.  In the state of Florida, your lender can file suit against you in order to collect the difference.  If you paid for private mortgage insurance (PMI), the insurance company will pay off the deficiency to the bank; but the PMI company has a right to hold you accountable and seek repayment.  Don’t panic!  Deficiency laws are complex and generally do not allow lenders or related parties to flippantly pursue borrowers to cover their losses once a foreclosure’s taken place.

Florida’s statute of limitations for deficiency judgments resulting from foreclosures on or after July 1, 2013 is one year, beginning the very day your home is sold in foreclosure and the new owner is issued a certificate of title. Nevertheless, sitting back and ignoring a deficiency may only make things worse and even result in garnished wages; so do consider your options!  Deficiency judgments are unsecured debt, therefore filing chapter 7 (or chapter 13) bankruptcy can eliminate your personal liability to repay them.  Before making any final decisions however, you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney to assess your unique financial situation and determine whether filing bankruptcy is the best course of action for you.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help you navigate this process and make the most of a difficult situation. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

If you’re facing foreclosure, you may be wondering whether your lender does in fact have a claim to your property based on poorly or wrongly executed negotiable instruments such as a mortgage Note.  Most often, individuals wrongly presume that a blank or unsigned endorsement makes their Note unenforceable as a legal document and as such would make their looming foreclosure illegitimate.  However, blank endorsements are commonly known and widely accepted in the legal and business domain, including in the state of Florida.

A mortgage Note or promissory Note is a promise to pay back the corresponding mortgage loan attained to buy a certain property.  In Florida, a promissory Note does not require an executed (signed) endorsement from the Note bearer for such to assume its ownership.  That is, the financial institution in possession of your mortgage Note is not required to sign the instrument’s endorsement in order to bring forth a claim seeking repayment.  Per FL Statute 671.201(21), plaintiffs (most likely your lender or loan servicer) must meet two requirements in order to be considered owner or bearer of the Note: first, they must be in possession of the original instrument and second, the original Note must be endorsed, either in blank or in the plaintiff’s name.

Unfortunately, many Florida homeowners have lost their homes to foreclosure due to poor preparation and misinformation.  If you are in danger of losing your home to foreclosure, it is imperative to seek the help of professionals and have the most accurate information possible.  If you believe you’re the victim of wrongful foreclosure proceedings, the best course of action is to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to guide you in the right direction and help you keep your home.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help you navigate this process and make the most of a difficult situation. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.