Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Zombie Foreclosures


While South Florida has seen a significant drop in Zombie Foreclosures it is still a SPOOKY phenomenon that homeowners facing foreclosure should be aware of.

A Zombie Foreclosure can occur if a homeowner abandons their home once the foreclosure process has started. The homeowner moves away thinking the house will be lost to the bank. The sale is cancelled (for one of many reasons) and title is never transferred to a new owner. The title remains in the homeowners name and costs can begin to accrue because there is still the obligation to pay for HOA dues and assessments, property taxes as well as maintenance by the owner of the property. Bills or lawsuits may become a problem months or even years later for these financial obligations.  

There are two options that may help avoid the horror of a Zombie Foreclosure.  One is to stay in the home throughout the entire foreclosure process - not moving out until the official foreclosure sale has occurred.  Should one no longer wish to stay in the home, a short sale is another option.  This strategy will allow the sale to go through, even if more is owed than the house is worth.  Combined with a bankruptcy, a short sale is an excellent way allow to help rebuild your credit quicker than allowing the home to foreclose.

When faced with foreclosure, there are many legal options that may help you meet your objective.  Please contact our office if you need more information.

Segaul Law Firm
300 S Pine Island Road, Suite 304
Plantation, FL 33324

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

HAMP Misconduct


Over the past five years, millions of mortgage loans have been modified by the big banks and mortgage servicers. Recent reports have been in the media that a staggering amount of homeowners have re-defaulted on their loans.  It turns out that the re-defaults may have been caused by the loan servicers and not the borrowers.
The United States Treasury has done compliance testing at the major HAMP (Home Affordability Modification Program) loan servicers.  These servicers include Bank of America, CitiMortgage, JP Morgan Chase, Nationstar, Ocwen, Select Portfolio Servicing and Wells Fargo. This probe was conducted by sampling 100 borrowers at each mortgage servicer who had re-defaulted on their loans by December 2015.

What the examination found was that 6 out of 7 homeowners had been wrongfully terminated by these servicers.   Problems that the Special Inspector General Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) identified were as follows: miscalculating the amount of missed payments by a homeowner, misapplication of payments and mishandling of rolling delinquencies.  Select Portfolio Servicing was the only large provider who had not made these errors.  In addition, these companies continued to make the termination blunders even after the Treasury reported failures to them regarding their systems.

A report given to Congress by the SIGTARP warned that findings of unfounded terminations from the HAMP program in the sample that was tested is indicative of extensive misconduct on the part of the servicers and should be addressed by further oversight by the Treasury.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Telephone Scam Targeting Bankruptcy Filers


Throughout parts of the United States, consumers are falling prey to a sophisticated phone scam which targets people who have filed for bankruptcy.  This information, according to the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), has prompted attorneys and public officials to make potential targets aware of this telephone scam.  The scam has been reported in New Hampshire and Virginia and it is likely that this fraudulent activity will begin to spread to other states.

Con artists use software that can deceive a caller ID system. The intended victim thinks the call is coming from the phone line of their attorney.  In some instances, personal information from public filings has being used to trick the consumer. These calls take place after business hours so clients have more difficulty contacting their attorney.

This scam solicits a wire transfer to satisfy a debt that is said to be outside of the bankruptcy proceeding.  Consumers have been threatened with arrest if they fail to wire the money immediately.

Should you receive any call that you think does not sound legitimate, hang up and contact us immediately.  Also, NEVER give personal or financial account information to any un-verified source.

Segaul Law Firm
300 S Pine Island Road, Suite 304
Plantation, FL 33324

Friday, October 2, 2015

Repairing Your Own Credit After Bankruptcy


After bankruptcy, any debt that was discharged should be listed on your credit report with a zero balance and a note that the “debt was included in bankruptcy.”  Very often that is not the case resulting in a credit score which is lower than it should be.

This fix is relatively simple and can be done by yourself for minimal or no cost at all.

The three national credit agencies are required to provide you with a free credit report once every 12 months.  You can go to www.annualcreditreport.com  or call 1-877-322-8228, to get these reports.  If you see this mistake on your credit report the first step is to alert the credit reporting company either online or by mail, of any item of information that you believe is incorrect.   

Each credit reporting company website has a link with instructions of how to dispute an inaccurate item online.  Typically, all you need is your case number, bankruptcy chapter and filing date.  This information is located on the Notice of Case Filing you received from the Court.

If you are contacting them by mail, include copies of your bankruptcy schedules and discharge notice to support your claim.  We suggest you include a copy of your credit report; highlight or circle each item you are questioning.  Explain why you are disputing the information and ask that it be removed or corrected.  Keep copies of all the correspondence you send the credit reporting agency.  Also be sure to send everything certified mail with a return receipt so you can be sure your information was received.   Be sure to keep a file with copies of everything you send to the credit reporting company.

The credit reporting agency has 30 days to investigate your dispute(s).  Once the agency has finished their investigation, they will give you the results in writing. 

If a creditor disagrees with any objection and states that they have a valid debt, it is very likely they are violating the bankruptcy discharge and may be subject to court sanctions.  Please contact us IMMEDIATELY if that is the case.

Segaul Law Firm
300 South Pine Island Road, Suite 304
Plantation, FL 33324