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New foreclosures in Florida increase for first time in 17 months

The following post was originally published in the Palm Beach Post by Staff Writer Kimberly Miller with excerpts by Roy Oppenheim.

Newly-filed foreclosures jumped 24 percent in Florida last month compared to a year earlier, a spike that marked the first annual increase since early 2013 and led to speculation about whether a long-predicted flood of home repossessions had arrived.


Source: RealtyTrac

According to a report from the company RealtyTrac, which measures foreclosure filings nationwide, 6,468 Florida homes fell into foreclosure in August, which was a 74 percent increase from the previous month.

Despite the statewide increase in new filings measured by RealtyTrac, Palm Beach County had just 480 new cases filed last month, a 17 percent decrease from the same time last year, according to the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office.

The rise in new cases kept Florida in the top spot on a nationwide foreclosure ranking, a place it’s held for 11 consecutive months. RealtyTrac analysts and foreclosure defense attorneys had different ideas on what caused the increase in new filings, but agreed it was likely a combination of factors;

More than 55,000 homes nationwide started the foreclosure process in August, up 12 percent from July, but flat from a year ago.

Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, said he links Florida’s increase in new filings to the so-called “fast track” foreclosure law that went into effect July 1, 2013.

Miami Florida SkylineThe law gives lien holders a way to more quickly process a foreclosure through the courts in certain situations.

But it also requires lenders to have specific documents at the time the foreclosure is filed, including proof of loan ownership, such as the original note, and that they are the correct party to foreclose. If a note is considered lost, affidavits filed under the penalty of perjury are required to attest to the veracity of the foreclosure.

In August 2013, the month after the law went into effect, new foreclosures in Florida dropped 43 percent compared to the previous month and have stayed low since.

“We believe that drop was artificially caused by the law, specifically the requirement that forces servicers to file a lost note affidavit before starting foreclosure if they have lost the note,” Blomquist said. images-6 “The August numbers are an early indicator that servicers are finally starting to adjust to that new requirement, and we would expect to see more increases in foreclosure starts in the coming months.”

Realty Trac measures three types of foreclosure filings _ the initial notice, notice of sale and final judgment. One in every 400 Florida homes had a foreclosure filing in August. In Nevada, which ranked second nationally, one in every 524 homes had a foreclosure filing. Maryland came in third at one in every 532 homes with a foreclosure filing.

“We’ve been talking about a second binge coming through,” said South Florida foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim about new foreclosure filings. “We’ve tried to anticipate it.”

But Oppenheim believes the bulk of the new cases are homeowners choosing foreclosure over doing a short sale after the Jan. 1 expiration of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act. The act allowed borrowers to exempt forgiven mortgage debt from counting as income.

learnWithout the tax exemption, a homeowner forgiven $150,000 in debt could end up owing the IRS $42,000 in taxes, depending on the tax bracket.

The industry group Florida Realtors is hopeful Congress will pass the tax break after the November elections and make it retroactive to Jan. 1.

A homeowner may owe an unpaid loan balance to a bank after a foreclosure, but lenders only have one year to file to collect that debt.

“When the government chose not to renew the exemption, there were unintended consequences,” Oppenheim said.


How the Bank of America resolution helps distressed Florida homeowners

“This morning we demonstrate once again that no institution is either too big or too powerful to escape appropriate enforcement action by the Department of Justice.  At nearly $17 billion, this resolution with Bank of America is the largest the Department has ever reached with a single entity in American history.” Associate Attorney General West Delivers Remarks at Press Conference Announcing Major Financial Fraud

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg A sign advertises home mortgage services at a Bank of America branch in Manhattan Beach, California.The Bank of America settlement is by far the largest deal the Justice Department has reached with a bank over the 2008 mortgage meltdown. In the last year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to a $13 billion settlement while Citigroup reached a separate $7 billion deal.

Now that the dust has settled on the Justice Department’s latest BIG Bank settlement with Bank of America the question in many distressed homeowner’s minds is, ” What’s in it for me.”

The answer is simple, if you have an outstanding loan with Bank of America and live in Florida you may be entitled to some kind of loss mitigation benefit. Specifically, in Florida, Bank of America has to provide approximately  $1 Billion in home owner relief. That relief comes in various shapes and sizes but the most common is approval of a loan modification where either interest or principal is somehow forgiven or thrown on the back end likely never to see the light of day again.  Other form of relief include agreeing to a short sale and waiving any possible deficiency judgements.

The moral of course is that those that stood their ground and did not just move out of their homes during the financial crisis are now in better shape than those folks who buried their heads in the sand  and prayed that when they defaulted on their loans as well as on their lawsuits that all would be forgiven and forgotten.  That is of  course the furthest from the truth. Those folks are now battling deficiency judgements and had to retain counsel such as our firm.

'Stand Your Ground' and protect your home. Thus, if you are a homeowner and have a Bank of America Loan where you remain upside down on a mortgage or underwater,  you may want to discuss your situation and see what your strategic options might be.

Oppenheim Law Firm – Roy Oppenheim, founder and editor of the South Florida Law Blog

Real estate and foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim passionately defends Florida homeowners and investors from foreclosure, arranging short-sales, loan modifications, mortgage advice, commercial litigation, and business related matters. Roy is also the original creator of the South Florida Law Blog, named the best business and technology blog by the Sun-Sentinel. Share your comments and thoughts on the Oppenheim Law digital media social networks; they’d love to hear from you. – 

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Oppenheim Law has the cornerstone on real estate/foreclosure defense

Oppenheim Law sets the record straight in real estate, foreclosure and homeowner related matters. For over 25 years, Oppenheim Law has successfully defended and protected clients in South Florida representing them as their advocates. They have closed over $1.5 billion in real estate transactions ranging from representing investors in buying and selling commercial property, representing homeowners buying and selling, refinancing or modifying their loans. The firm also has developed a national reputation defending homeowners in foreclosure and in defending deficiency judgments. The firm also engages in the highest quality of sophisticated commercial litigation and serving as general counsel to real estate developers and closely held companies, coordinating all legal related matters. Watch and see Roy Oppenheim discuss how he built South Florida’s premier law firm.  Subscribe to the award winning South Florida Law Blog to stay connected to the latest in real estate law by Roy Oppenheim.

(954) 384-6114 Oppenheim Law


South Florida residents served with second foreclosure nightmare years after home is taken

The following article featuring excerpts by Roy Oppenheim, Oppenheim Law was originally posted in the Palm Beach Post and written by Kimberly Miller.

By Kim Miller

121610 biz foreclosure 3.jpHundreds of South Florida residents are facing new foreclosure ramifications as banks seek to collect on the unpaid mortgage debt from homes that were lost years before.

In a month-long period beginning June 1, about 110 so-called deficiency judgments were filed against Palm Beach County homeowners by a Texas-based debt collection company called Dyck O’Neal. The same firm filed more than 300 cases in Broward County and nearly 200 in Miami-Dade County.

Foreclosure defense attorneys believe a change in Florida law that set a one-year deadline to file to collect the unpaid debt spurred the rash of lawsuits this summer. The previous deadline was five years.

Under deficiency judgment rules, banks, or companies they sell mortgage debt to, can go after the difference of what a home sold for at auction and what was still owed by the homeowner.

In many instances found by The Palm Beach Post, the lawsuits seek more than $100,000 from former homeowners _ money that can be reclaimed by garnishing wages, liens, or claiming rights to investment properties.

Although deficiency judgments have always loomed as a threat, they have been very rarely sought by lenders who were still overwhelmed by foreclosures and felt it was useless to go after homeowners who had few resources.

But the economy has improved in recent years. Lenders may see more of an opportunity to collect.


“These people have started over and thought this was behind them, but it’s like the night of the walking dead. It’s a new nightmare coming after them,” said South Florida foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim.

After seeing nearly no deficiency judgments since the housing crisis began, Oppenheim said he’s been contacted in the past two months by about 50 people served summonses by Dyck O’Neal.

“To me, these people are vultures,” said Miami resident Chris Ossman, who was served this summer with a deficiency judgment lawsuit seeking about $84,000. “I imagine they are looking for people getting back on their feet who they think they can get some money from.”




Tricky Dick 2.0 – The art of buying and selling deficiency judgements

The 40th anniversary of Nixon's resignation, Dyck-O'Neals 25 years as a debt collector and Oppenheim Laws blog.

The 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation, Dyck-O’Neals 25 years as a debt collector and Oppenheim Laws blog.

As we commenorate the 40th anniversary of  President Nixon’s resignation,  it came to me, that these days we are dealing  with a new form of  ‘bait and switch.”  Here’s an “In the Trenches” point of  view  that I’d like opinions on and why it  makes sense to call this blog: “Tricky Dick 2.0.”

So as more and more real estate clients keep coming in and telling us that they are being sued by a guy named Dyck-O’Neal.

Well, “Dyck” is a  debt collector and servicer of real estate deficiencies bought from Bank of America and other institutions for mere pennies on the dollar; hence, third-party wardens taking their bounty.  The victims? Homeowners  who haven’t resolved an old foreclosure. The question that keeps coming up in my mind:  “Who is Dyck O’Neal?  It doesn’t sound like just a name. Is it a person or is it a company or is it both?  Who could sleep witthe themselves at night knowing that they only paid a few dollars for the judgments from various banks and are now making other people’s lives miserable?   Is there a real person called Dyck O’Neal?

The 40th anniversary of Nixon's resignation, Dyck-O'Neals 25 years as a debt collector and Oppenheim Laws blog.

The fine print: “Dyck-O’Neal, Inc. is a debt collector. This is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.”

You just got served by Tricky Dick 2.0

Well, as luck would have it and because I do have a few friends who still represent the banks, I found a colleague of mine who actually once met Mr. Dyck-O’Neal.  Where did they meet? They met at the Mortgage Bankers Conference several years ago.  Typically at most conferences and industry wide trade shows, people are usually selling their wares or trying to get you to buy something from them. But at this convention there was a buzz and flurry around the Dyck O’Neal booth.  And why you may ask.  Simply because unlike the other conventioneers who were all selling, Dyck O’Neal was buying.

What was Dyck O’Neal buying?

He was offering to buy all the real estate deficiency judgments that the banks had obtained during the housing foreclosure crisis over the past several years.  And he was buying them in blocks of thousands at a time. The bankers, apparently like a beehive, were swarming his booth wanting to have him buy their bad paper from them.

Now my understanding is that Mr. O’Neal in fact is a very affable man and most people think very intelligent.

But some have questioned whether or not what he is doing is ‘good’  business or also morally bankrupt. Either way, it is what it is as I have explained in my previous blog posts and YouTube videos.

Will the real Dick please stand up?

Interestingly, the other question that people had is: does one pronounce the name ‘Dyke (as it used to be spelled according to research) as in rhyming with ‘pike’  as most pronunciation dictionaries suggest. or, as his parents apparently actually named him, ‘Dick.?’

Banks sell deficiency judgements to debt collector Dyck-O'Neal, Inc. Have you ever heard the expression, “If it  looks like a duck, walks like a duck,  and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck?”

The great irony here is of course that this Dyck, as most of my clients would suggest, pronounces his name in a manner that is much more fitting and appropriate for what he is actually doing.



From the trenches,

Roy Oppenheim.


Dyck-O'Neal, President NIxon and Roy Oppenheim talk morals and issues.

Roy Oppenheim, foreclosure and real estate defense attorney. Legal blogger and founder of the South Florida Law Blog.

Oppenheim Law Firm – 

Real estate and foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim passionately defends Florida homeowners and investors from foreclosure, arranging short-sales, loan modifications, mortgage advice, commercial litigation, and business related matters. Roy is also the original creator of the South Florida Law Blog, named the best business and technology blog by the Sun-Sentinel. Share your comments and thoughts on the Oppenheim Law digital media social networks; they’d love to hear from you. – 


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