When a homeowner falls behind on his or her mortgage payments and doesn’t make new arrangements with the lender, he or she risks foreclosure. In most cases, the lender can’t foreclose on the property until they have filed a lawsuit and received permission from the court. If the court dismisses it, the lender has to either re-file the lawsuit or try to collect the property or mortgage payments another way.

What to Know About the Foreclosure Process

In Florida, a lender can’t foreclose on a property without a court order. If a homeowner hasn’t made mortgage payments and the lender decides to foreclose the property, it usually files a complaint with the court. The homeowner then receives a copy of the complaint and has a choice to ignore it, answer it or file a motion to dismiss it. During the hearing to review the complaint, the judge will determine whether to proceed with the foreclosure case or to dismiss it.

What to Know About a Dismissal

If a judge decides to dismiss the foreclosure case, the lender can’t proceed with the foreclosure process. The judge might dismiss a foreclosure case if he or she doesn’t believe the lender owns the mortgage or if he or she doesn’t think the lender has followed the state’s foreclosure process properly. The mortgage lender can also dismiss the foreclosure case if it notices that it has made a mistake during the procedure or if the homeowner has made arrangements to pay the debt.

What to Know About Post-Dismissal

If a judge decides to dismiss the foreclosure case because the mortgage lender made a mistake or doesn’t have the ability to file a lawsuit against the homeowner, the lender has to start the legal process all over again. It’s important to note, that it’s possible to dismiss a foreclosure case in some states with prejudice, meaning that the mortgage lender can never re-file it. And some states limit the number of times a mortgage lender can file a foreclosure case, even if the judge decides to dismiss it without prejudice. To learn about Florida’s laws regarding foreclosure cases, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable real estate attorney.

What to Know About a Voluntary Foreclosure

If a mortgage lender has decided to foreclose on the property, the homeowner can sometimes propose a voluntary foreclosure, known as a ‘deed in lieu of foreclosure,’ and request that the lender dismiss the case. In most cases, a voluntary foreclosure doesn’t impact the homeowner’s credit, and it prevents a lender from filing a lawsuit if the monies from the sale of the property don’t cover all of the homeowner’s debt. If you voluntary foreclose, you waive the right to receive any profit from the sale.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

In most cases, paying more taxes means that you’re earning more income. Depending on your specific situation – perhaps you’ve received a bonus at work or even won the lottery – that can be a good thing, since you’ll still come out ahead financially even after getting taxed by Uncle Sam.

While paying more taxes after receiving a lump sum of money doesn’t sting too hard, feeling Uncle Sam’s wrath after a foreclosure can seem like you’ve been beheaded by a rusty sword. That said, if you’ve foreclosed on your home, here’s what you should expect on your taxes.

The Internal Revenue Service Equates Cancellation of Debt to Income

According to the IRS, you don’t gain anything financially if someone gives you a sum of money but says that you have to pay it back. Conversely, if the same lender calls you the next day and says never mind, then you’ve just gained that monetary amount. Using that logic, foreclosing on your home is like coming into money, since you aren’t obligated to pay the lender back.

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 Helps Homeowners

Fortunately for homeowners dealing with a foreclosure, Congress enacted the MFDRA of 2007 in response to the housing crisis and has extended it numerous times since. The MFDRA lets homeowners exclude the reduction or elimination of debt because of foreclosure or mortgage modification from their incomes. Here are some things to keep in mind if you think you qualify.

  • It only applies to a primary residence
  • The balance on the loan must be $2 million or less
  • The discharge of debt has probably been excluded from your income if you foreclosed on your home while also filing for bankruptcy

Remember, your lender will give you a 1099-C cancellation of debt form that will show the amount of debt that will be forgiven. You must report this amount on your tax return.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

According to a report issued by the real estate data provider RealtyTrac, Tampa Bay’s November foreclosure rate in 2015 was the sixth highest among metropolitan areas across the nation – at a rate of about one in every 512 housing units.

The five metropolitan areas in the country to top Tampa on the list included Atlantic City, N.J., Trenton, N.J., Ocala, Fla., Reading, Penn., and Baltimore. In addition to Ocala, two other cities in Florida made the top 10 – Jacksonville and Daytona Beach.

The report also states that Florida’s foreclosure rate in November – one in every 662 housing units – was the third highest in the nation. What’s more, Florida’s overall foreclosure rate ranked in the top five in the nation every month in 2015.

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.

Thanks to a spending bill signed by President Obama on Dec. 18, 2015, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act has been extended to Dec. 31, 2016. The extension will also retroactively cover mortgage debt that homeowners canceled in 2015.

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act helps homeowners avoid paying taxes on home mortgage debt that has been forgiven. In normal circumstances, any mortgage debt that has been forgiven by a lender is considered taxable income.

Initially passed in 2007, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act states that up to $2 million can be forgiven and not taxed if: the house has been the primary place of residence for at least two out of the last five years; or the homeowner has used the debt to add improvements and make upgrades to the home.

Unfortunately for anxious homeowners, this is not the first time that an extension of the MFDRA has come down to the wire and left them holding their breath. In 2014, President Obama didn’t sign an extension until December 29.

The good news is that this year’s extension will not only apply to short sales that took place in 2015 but also the ones that will take place in 2016. Previous extensions of the MFDRA only covered short sales from the preceding year.

There is no doubt this extension is a huge relief to homeowners who have faced financial burdens in the past few years, easing concerns that they might have had to move forward with a short sale.

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.

The housing market crash of 2007 caused millions of American homeowners to face the risk of foreclosure because of declining property values and staggeringly high unemployment rates. In 2010, a year after the worst part the crisis, the Obama administration initiated the ‘Hardest Hit Fund’ in an attempt to help homeowners who were affected the most. Today, 18 states and the District of Columbia are taking part in the program. But not all of the states are benefiting, especially Florida.

Florida Has the Lowest Rate of Approval For HHF Assistance

Unfortunately for Floridian homeowners, the state has the lowest rate of approval for assistance, one of the highest rates for denying it and a general slowness in processing the thousands of applications it receives. Of the 109,775 homeowners who applied for assistance – second only to California – only 22,400 have received it. This equates to a 20 percent rate of approval, the lowest of all the states.

When the Obama administration implemented the ‘Hardest Hit Fund’ program, it estimated that 106,000 Floridian homeowners would receive help from it. With the program scheduled to end in December of 2017 that number has plunged to just 39,000. According to a detailed report, there are several factors contributing to this.

  • Florida’s government officials failed to persuade banks and loan servicing companies to participate in the program, which the treasury relied on.
  • Florida’s government officials cut the number of months unemployed homeowners could receive help from 18 to 6 months, even though 43 percent of unemployed workers were jobless for more than six months.
  • The Treasury Department failed in pressuring the state to act accordingly.

For more information about the Hardest Hit Fund and how it might possibly help you, contact a real estate attorney today.

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.

If your home is in foreclosure and you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you are likely wondering if doing so will help you keep your home. The following are a few other questions to consider, as well: Will you still have to make mortgage payments after you file? Will your mortgage lender be able to foreclose on your home after your file?

Although filing for bankruptcy might be a worthwhile option to buy some more time, it likely won’t be a permanent fix to your foreclosure, unless you continue making mortgage payments. Before making a final decision to declare bankruptcy, understand what will happen to your home after filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 .

What You Need to Know About a Bankruptcy Discharge

When you file for bankruptcy, you do so to obtain a discharge or relief from certain debts. With a Chapter 7, this discharge is usually granted once the time for creditors to object the filing has expired. The average time in this case is four months from the filing date. With a Chapter 13, the discharge is granted after a payment plan has been completed. The average time for Chapter 13 is three to five years. But what about liability for a mortgage debt?

Although a bankruptcy discharge of a mortgage debt eliminates your personal liability to it, a mortgage lender can still foreclose on your home if you fail to make mortgage payments. As a result, a mortgage lender can’t hold you responsible for repaying the deficiency–the difference between the unpaid mortgage debt and the foreclosure selling price) following a foreclosure.

In some states, mortgage lenders have the ability to sue homeowners for this difference and receive a deficiency judgment. However, mortgage lenders can’t receive this judgment if your mortgage debt was discharged in bankruptcy court.

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.

When the housing market crashed in 2007, millions of homeowners faced the risk of foreclosure as a result of declined property values and high unemployment rates. The worst part of the crisis lasted until 2009, and a year later the Obama administration launched the ‘Hardest Hit Fund’ to help those impacted the most.

The housing finance agencies that participate in the program have implemented a number of initiatives that help struggling homeowners recover from the crash. As of today, 18 states and the District of Columbia are taking advantage of the program.

What Kind of Help is Offered Through the ‘Hardest Hit Fund’?

Since each state’s Housing Finance Agency designs and administers its own HHF programs, all of them vary and are specifically tailored to the region they’re meant to help. No matter the variations in the programs by state, the purpose of each is to aid two types of people: unemployed homeowners who hope to remain in their home while searching for work; and homeowners who owe more to their mortgage lender than what their home is worth. The HHF has provided $7.6 billion in relief.

The most common programs associated with the HHF include:

  • Mortgage payment assistance
  • Principal debt reduction
  • Second lien loan elimination
  • Transition assistance

How Long Will the ‘Hardest Hit Fund’ Offer Help to Homeowners?

Each state’s participating Housing Finance Agency has until the end of 2017 to use the funds that were allocated by the government. According to the Department of the Treasury’s second quarter performance summary in 2015, there are 74 active programs helping homeowners across all 19 HFAs, and about $5.1 billion of the allocated funds – or 76 percent of the program cap – have been used for aid.

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.

The term “statutes of limitations” defines the laws that set deadlines for filing a lawsuit. If a lawsuit is brought up against you after the permitted time period, asserting the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that you can use. As long as the statute has expired, a lawsuit is barred by the statute of limitations and it no longer matters whether or not you owe money to the creditor.

In the state of Florida, a lawsuit is the only way for a mortgage holder to foreclose on their real estate. In the case of a judgment of foreclosure, the court can sell the mortgaged property at a foreclosure sale. A deficiency judgment can be made against you if the price of the sale isn’t enough to cover the price of the judgment, forcing you to pay the difference.

Florida rules state that a mortgage holder is permitted five years from the date of default to either foreclose or pursue deficiency action. You are defaulting on your obligation under the mortgage each time that you fail to make a payment on time or within the grace period. If more than one payment was not met on time, the mortgage holder could then select any date to use as the default date for the foreclosure suit.

As for deficiency judgments in connection with foreclosure, the statute of limitations is one year. The time period for this statute starts when the buyer receives a certificate of title in the foreclosure sale. Until your property has been sold for less than what you owed the mortgage holder, the mortgage holder is not entitled to a deficiency judgment.

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.

Perhaps your bank has filed a motion incorrectly, or perhaps they have filed one without apparent reason in your eyes. You might be wondering if such a motion can be quashed and, if so, how would you go about doing it. There are
many options for treating such a situation based upon the specifics of each scenario, but we’ve provided a couple of pointers below to get you moving in the right direction.

The most reiterated advice for quashing a motion filed by a bank is to find a lawyer who is acquainted with the type of situation you’re facing. The language and information of these types of motions tend to be highly technical and require an experienced eye to catch the flaws, loopholes, and solutions. Seeking out counsel who is knowledgeable of the situation’s necessities will save a lot of time and heartache in the end. Your lawyer will need to be experienced in the right of action you have against the bank in the circumstance. They will also be needed to oppose the rescheduling of the sale if the instance calls for it.

While your rights are undeniable, judges tend to treat these situations quickly and aggressively. Having a skilled lawyer who has managed similar scenarios will ensure proper representation in court and enforcement of your rights.

Another advisement against a bank’s motion suggests self-representation in court under the circumstance that you have followed through with all modification payments and can provide proof. Often there is a disconnect in communication between bank departments, which could result in an incorrect motion. Proving that you have made all required payments, your objection to the motion should face little opposition in court.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida foreclosure 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.

Although it could take a mortgage lender months or even years to initiate a foreclosure after a homeowner has stopped making payments, it’s important that borrowers know what the statute of limitations is and their set time limit. Here’s an overview of the statute of limitations and how it applies to your mortgages.

Keep the Statute of Limitations in Mind

A statute of limitations is a set time limit for starting a legal claim. There are all kinds of legal actions that have a statute of limitations, each with a varying time frame based on the kind of action or claim. For our purposes, we’ll focus on the statute of limitations as it pertains to home foreclosure.

Generally, if the statute of limitations expires before the mortgage lender initiates the foreclosure, the lender’s claim becomes invalid. In this case, the lender isn’t entitled to foreclosing your home. This expiring time limit varies by state.

Learn More About Your State’s Statute of Limitations

It’s important to remember that each state has its own statutes of limitations. For example, Florida’s current statute of limitations for written contracts – mortgages – is five years. Although most states fall within the three-to-six-year range, some extend as far out as 15. Research your state’s statute of limitations to see how much time you’ll have once you default on your mortgage – first and/or second.

Of course, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your mortgage and your state’s statute of limitations, you should seek legal counsel immediately.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida foreclosure 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.