If your property was recently foreclosed, you may be surprised to find that you may still owe money on the property and that the ordeal is far from over. When a mortgage lender is unable to recover the entire loan balance after a foreclosure sale, homeowners are often still held responsible for the difference.

Whether through a short sale or foreclosure, when a property sells for less than the balance owed on the mortgage, the difference is called a deficiency. Homeowners facing foreclosure in the state of Florida should know that lenders have the legal right to file suit in order to hold borrowers accountable and recover losses. This is what is referred to as a deficiency judgment.

Though there are cases in which lending institutions wrongfully pursue deficiencies, ignoring or not responding to a deficiency judgment may only make things worse and even result in the loss of assets and garnished wages. It’s important to contact your lender and explore your options; if you make any deals (short sale, deed-in-lieu, etc.) be sure to make the release of any deficiencies part of your contract. Additionally, if your home has already been foreclosed and you are now fighting to catch up with a deficiency, bear in mind that deficiency judgments are unsecured debt; bankruptcy can help eliminate your personal liability to repay them.

Deficiency laws are complex and generally do not allow lenders or related parties to flippantly harass borrowers once a foreclosure’s taken place. If you are on the line for a deficiency judgment, don’t lose another minute; reach out to a respected foreclosure assistance organization in your community, or consult with an attorney to help you determine the validity of the deficiency judgment and work out the best course of action for your unique situation.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this 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.

If you’re a renter facing threat of eviction due to a noise complaint, you may be asking what your rights are as a tenant and what happens next. This quick overview of Florida’s eviction laws will help outline your options and prepare you for what’s ahead.

Firstly, yes; your landlord can in fact pursue eviction for noise-related violations. Persistent noise violations may not only be in breach of your lease, but also may violate local noise ordinances. But before eviction is attainable, your landlord must first give you proper notice of the complaint and, in order to successfully evict you, prove that you’ve violated the terms of your lease or that you’re disturbing other renters’ right to quiet enjoyment.

Per Florida law, tenants have a duty to behave and use the premises in a manner that does not unreasonably disturb others or, more broadly, constitute a breach of the peace. Under these circumstances, your landlord can seek termination of your lease provided only that you are given proper notice.

Your local noise ordinance may help you define what noise levels are appropriate in your area. Generally, anything that disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities, or exceeds the sound level limit set forth in the ordinance, will be in violation. This type of noise may refer to yelling, shouting, altercations, amplified music, musical instruments, televisions etc. The best way to avoid eviction and the termination of your tenancy is to comply with any local noise ordinances and read your lease carefully in order to ensure you are fulfilling your obligations as a tenant.

If you feel you’ve been wrongly and unfairly accused of breaching the terms of your lease due to noise complaints, consult with an experienced attorney in order to ensure that you’re being treated fairly and that your rights as a tenant are protected.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this 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.

Selling your home in a harsh economy can be tough, but selling your home while having a tenant is another matter entirely. While most listing agents and realtors would prefer their listings vacant, landlords are seldom able to afford having their investment property sit empty for months at a time. But with the right strategy, selling your property while having a tenant doesn’t have to be a total nightmare and may even be pain free. Here are a few things to consider when renting out a property which you intend to sell or are in the process of selling:

• Get it in writing! While Florida law allows landlords to showcase their property for prospective buyers even as they are housing a tenant, it is much wiser to define your plans to sell the property in the terms of your lease agreement.

• Meet your tenant half way. Tenants are most responsive and cooperative when given an incentive, so consider offering your tenant a discount on the rent for the additional inconvenience you require of them.

• Be specific. It is best to be as open and honest as possible with your tenant, making sure to enumerate your expectations, define how often and during which times you will show the home to prospective buyers, as well as outline when and how notice will be given.

• Discuss it with your lawyer. Drafting a document which avidly protects your legal interests can be tricky, consulting an experienced attorney will ensure that your lease terms are precise and that your rights are adequately protected.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this 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.

Signing a lease binds both the landlord and the tenant to a variety of responsibilities. As the owner of the property, under Florida Law the landlord is responsible for the maintenance associated with pest control—as is the case with termites. Because the process often involves fumigation, it is pertinent that the landlord have the tenants evacuate the building prior to the act taking place. However, what is the appropriate timeline of notification for a landlord to inform his or her tenants?

According to Section 83.51 of the Florida Statutes:

“(2)(a) Unless otherwise agreed in writing, in addition to the requirements of subsection (1), the landlord of a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall, at all times during the tenancy, make reasonable provisions for:

1. The extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs. When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord is not liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant must temporarily vacate the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days’ written notice, if necessary, for extermination pursuant to this subparagraph.”

In lay man’s terms, the landlord is to inform his or her tenants of their expected evacuation via written notice at least 7 days in advance. In addition, this evacuation cannot last longer than 4 days, and the tenants will not be charged the cost of rent for that time. Furthermore, the landlord is not responsible for any personal items that are damaged in the process—so tenants should be sure to remove any items of value prior to the fumigation.

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.