The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) Program was enacted as part of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (HASP) in 2009 as a reaction to the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent economic slowdown. The HAFA program offers borrowers options of short sales or deeds in lieu to get out from under mortgages they can no longer afford to make payments on. HAFA short sales differ from traditional short sales, in that the borrower does not owe the difference between the original purchase price and the final sale price. This saves the borrower from further hardship and does not affect their credit score as negatively as a foreclosure. Additionally, the program offers other benefits to both lenders and borrowers, such as subsidies to cover administration costs and up to $3,000 in relocation assistance.

Currently, the HAFA program is scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2013. This means that if you wish to participate in the program, you need to submit a Request for Mortgage Assistance (RMA) by the deadline date. To be safe, you should make arrangements that the RMA arrives by the sunset date, and is not simply post-marked on the date. Additionally, the deal must be closed by October 1, 2014. As with all federal programs, HAFA may get extended, but do not count on it. It is important to begin the process as soon as possible.

Participation in the HAFA program is contingent on a number of eligibility requirements and completion of numerous forms. It is highly advised you consult with an experienced real estate attorney to work with your mortgage provider to ensure you obtain favorable terms and the process is followed correctly.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this difficult process and determine a positive solution. 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.

In judicial foreclosure states, such as Florida, the foreclosure process must go through the courts.  Though it may seem counterintuitive, judicial proceedings can be beneficial for borrowers as the burden of proof falls to the lender and can often buy you some time.  A foreclosure summons is your lender’s official initiation to foreclose on the property.  Once you are served with a summons, you will need to file a response within 20 days.

Filing a response is your best bet to reach a resolution, even if your chances of winning the case and permanently remaining in the home are small.  Filing a response generally gives you more time to prepare a defense, assess your options or even bring your loan current.  Failing to file an answer to the summons, however, will cost your right to speak up at the foreclosure hearing and may even result in your lender winning the court’s approval to foreclose by default.  The answer provides you with an opportunity to contest the foreclosure action and tell the courts your side of the story; maybe your lender violated fair lending procedures or did not give valid notice of default?  There are many reasons why a judge may have a foreclosure suit thrown out.  Once you’ve filed the answer, the court will set a hearing at which point you’ll be able to present your case.

If you are contesting the foreclosure against you, file your response immediately and consult with a lawyer.  If you are attempting to permanently remain in your home, it is especially important to file an answer to the summons.  Promptly filing a response and working with an experienced Attorney is the most effective way to avoid trial and bring your lender back to the negotiating table.  An experienced foreclosure attorney can help you successfully navigate through the often chaotic foreclosure process and ensure that any and all worthwhile options are made available to you.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this difficult process and determine a positive solution. 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.

It is an unfortunate reality that many individuals have had to go into foreclosure as a result of the economic downturn. Some people have been successful at paying down their mortgage by renting out extra rooms to increase cashflow. However, sometimes it is not enough and the property still goes into foreclosure. However, this creates a complex scenario where you and your tenants may have different rights going forward.

Much of the difference comes down to whether or not your tenants are “bona fide.” According to federal law, tenants are bona fide if they are not part of the immediate family of the owner/landlord, the lease was executed as an “arm’s length transaction, and they are paying a fair market rate to live there. If the tenants are not bona fide, they are not protected under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure act and will need to vacate the property within 60 days after receiving notice from the new owner. Bona fide tenants must vacate within 90 days after notice from the new owner.

As the previous owner/landlord, your rights are different. After the foreclosure, you may be served with a Writ of Possession that gives you 24 hours to vacate the property. The new owners may be interested in having you lease the property from them, allowing you to stay longer.

As you can see, these situations can be extraordinarily complex, so it would be beneficial for you to work with an experienced attorney that can file the necessary forms and fight for your rights and interests.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this difficult process and determine a positive solution. 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.

The statute of limitations on any action by a creditor to collect a debt must be made within five years from the date of default or acceleration.  If the statute of limitations expires your lender cannot foreclose.  Nevertheless, the lien remains a burden on the property for at least another 15 years from the date it was originally recorded.  Here’s a closer look at how a discharge of mortgage in bankruptcy affects your property and your creditor’s ability to collect a debt.

When a mortgage is discharged in bankruptcy, the debtor no longer bears personal liability for the loan whether or not the lender was deeded back the property during the bankruptcy proceedings.  Therefore if your mortgage was discharged in bankruptcy you are in fact no longer liable for the debt.  Likewise, any deficiency judgment is wiped out by the bankruptcy and your lender is barred from harassing you for the difference.  However, the lien remains stacked against the property, which means your lender may still legally foreclose on the property as a way to wipe out secondary liens and cover losses.

Even though your lender may proceed with a foreclosure, post discharge, and you may be named as a party of interest in their filing, the foreclosure action is solely against the property, as you’ve been released from liability.  The foreclosure should NOT appear on your credit reports unless it began prior to your bankruptcy filing.

If your lender is attempting to collect from you, they may be in violation of the discharge or state consumer laws, but bear in mind that when it comes to matters of foreclosure it’s always best to consult qualified professionals for guidance.  To learn more about Florida foreclosure laws reach out to your county consumer protection offices or contact your bankruptcy attorney.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this difficult process and determine a positive solution. 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.

Prior to the passage of the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act in 2009, tenants’ rights were superseded by the “successor in interest,” that is, the new owner of the property. The act was passed to prevent tenants from being blindsided with removal notices that left them little to no time to secure a new living situation. Under the Act, the terms of the original lease must be honored if the tenant is bona fide.

In order to be a bona fide tenant, you cannot be the child, spouse, or parent of the original owner/landlord, the transaction must have been conducted at arm’s length (usually involving a contract, no “special arrangements”), and you must pay a fair market rate in rent. If you are found to not be a bona fide tenant, the new owners are not obligated to honor the original terms of the lease and you will likely receive notice to vacate the premises within 60 days. However, if you do meet the bona fide qualifications, the new owner has to honor the existing lease term and must provide at least 90 days’ notice before any eviction actions can occur.

Clearly, real estate matters involving multiple parties and differing rights can be quite complex and frustrating. It would be wise to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you make sense of the various rules, laws, and forms out there. You need someone in your corner who will fight for your rights and get you the best outcome possible.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this difficult process and determine a positive solution. 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.

Foreclosures can be poorly executed and are often convoluted as mortgage companies aim to rid themselves of bad investments as quickly as possible.  As a result, there is much room for error throughout the entirety of the process.  If your previous home was foreclosed but you did not execute a promissory note, you may be wondering whether the lender can legally hold you responsible for repayment.  The simple answer is no, you are not legally liable for the debt if you did not sign the promissory note.

Circumstances, however, may not always be so cut and dry—for example, you may be married to the primary borrower on the note.  In such a scenario, the lender may name you in the lawsuit because you have a marital interest in the property under the law.  Nevertheless, unless you made a promise to repay the debt in writing—that is, unless you signed a note—you are not liable for that debt.  Unfortunately, mistakes do happen often when it comes to mortgage lenders and foreclosures proceedings.

Though it is a pain and an undue burden to be hounded for money you do not owe, the best policy under these circumstances is to be proactive.  If you find yourself fending off a lender attempting to collect payment for a loan you are not legally accountable for, consult with a foreclosure attorney.  Key details are often overlooked by mortgage lenders and blunders can be made by both banks and borrowers alike, resulting in further headaches and even damage to your credit; an experienced attorney can guide you through the foreclosure muck and help clear up your name.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this difficult process and determine a positive solution. 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.

It is an unfortunate reality that many individuals have had to go into foreclosure as a result of the economic downturn. Some people have been successful at paying down their mortgage by renting out extra rooms to increase cashflow. However, sometimes it is not enough and the property still goes into foreclosure. However, this creates a complex scenario where you and your tenants may have different rights going forward.

Much of the difference comes down to whether or not your tenants are “bona fide.” According to federal law, tenants are bona fide if they are not part of the immediate family of the owner/landlord, the lease was executed as an “arm’s length transaction, and they are paying a fair market rate to live there. If the tenants are not bona fide, they are not protected under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure act and will need to vacate the property within 60 days after receiving notice from the new owner. Bona fide tenants must vacate within 90 days after notice from the new owner.

As the previous owner/landlord, your rights are different. After the foreclosure, you may be served with a Writ of Possession that gives you 24 hours to vacate the property. The new owners may be interested in having you lease the property from them, allowing you to stay longer.

As you can see, these situations can be extraordinarily complex, so it would be beneficial for you to work with an experienced attorney that can file the necessary forms and fight for your rights and interests.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this difficult process and determine a positive solution. 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.

The current real estate climate, with owners becoming tenants and banks becoming landlords, can be rife with complicated situations and shifting loyalties. It can be extremely difficult to find out what your rights are. If you were leasing a property that was subsequently foreclosed, your obligations as a tenant should have shifted to the new owner. That is, you would pay rent and fees per your original lease agreement to them.

Additionally, any security deposits you paid to the original owner should have shifted to the new owner as well. As the new holders of the security deposit, it is their responsibility to hang onto until the landlord/tenant relationship has ended and return the deposit to you, minus any documented expenses for repair, unpaid rent, etc.

If your original landlord did not transfer the security deposit to the new owners during foreclosure, your only recourse is small claims court, unfortunately. Make sure to stay in touch with your landlord and the prospective new owners during the foreclosure process to make sure that the transfer is going smoothly.

As you can see, leasing a property that has been foreclosed can be a very complicated situation and it is possible for tenants to be taken advantage of. In order to protect your rights and ensure you get the best treatment possible, consult with an experienced attorney. Only a knowledgeable real estate lawyer can help you make sense of the complex laws, regulations, and forms that govern the real estate industry. Contact one today to learn about your rights.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this difficult process and determine a positive solution. 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.