2014 polls show Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist in tight race with only one month to go. Roy Oppenheim, foreclosure defense attorney wants the Florida real estate zombie foreclosures to be addressed by both.
#Fangate overshadows weirdest start of the FL. Gov. gubernatorial debate as the 900 pound invisible gorilla in South Florida seeks answers.
While the Florida real estate market is heating up in Florida and particularly South Florida, all eyes are also watching the 2014 Florida gubernatorial election between candidates Charlie Crist (D) and Rick Scott (R) -both parties openly discuss education, unemployment, immigration and the ever-promising $1 billion in tax cuts.
One thing for sure is; no one is speaking about the 900 pound invisible gorilla in this campaign which is the billions of real estate dollars that continue to be locked up from the housing issues dealing with zombie foreclosures.
For the first time since the Governors race began – the South Florida housing issue is finally being addressed; unfortunately, not by either Crist or Scott.
And, last night twitter followers started to go crazy posting viral remarks and making almost famous the hashtag from Hell, #fangate. Some examples
Homes in the State of Florida are Holding Back the Economy With Zombie Foreclosures.
Local South Florida Foreclosure Issues
Local real estate and foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim (well regarded for opinions that seem to be a favorite amongst South Florida homeowners’ afflicted and/or inflicted by the “Too Big To Fail, Too Big to Jail” banking quagmire) poignantly asks the Fl. Gov. gubernatorial candidates Crist and Scott to address the untapped housing issues mostly involving Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, Palm Beach and West Palm Beach areas that could infuse the South Florida economy with billions in economic fuel.
South Florida’s Economy
Zombie foreclosures continue to impede South Florida real estate market – locking up billions of dollars
And, as billions of dollars in untapped Florida resources continue to remain locked-up, one thing is for certain – the 900lb invisible gorilla will flare its’ nostrils until either Crist or Scott soothes the giant.
What is causing this market to remain untapped in precious resources?
Besides #Fangate overshadowing Florida’s key issues, this was the weirdest start of a gubernatorial debate that took place as the 900 pound invisible gorilla in South Florida is seeking answers.
Homes unsuccessfully foreclosed upon by the banks are causing a huge drag on the Florida real estate market. Homeowners cannot resell, transfer title, refinance, or purchase new homes because they are literally trapped.
Oppenheim has concerns regarding the “unlocked real estate resources that can’t be tapped.”
And, with good reason.
2014 Gubernatorial Fla. Elections
In order to move the Florida economy forward the gubernatorial candidates must address the housing issues still looming since the crisis.
Numerous businesses’ in Florida would receive a true boost, as would employment and the entire Florida economy, by a proper addressing of Florida’s housing issues. All areas of business statewide, specifically construction, banking, furniture, sales, insurance companies, real estate lawyers, title companies and surveyors – among others, are (and have been) eagerly awaiting for a candidate to emerge with a plan to triumph over the lingering effects of the crisis and drive Florida forward in 2015.
From The Trenches
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 Laws digital media social networks; they’d love to hear from you. –
The following article was originally written by Samantha Joseph for the Daily Business Review with excerpts from real estate and foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim.
Florida leads the nation in foreclosures long after the housing crisis, but new data show the pace has dramatically slowed in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, and the numbers even fell in Palm Beach County.
Analysts predicted foreclosures would plunge as the crushing flood of cases worked through an overwhelmed legal system. And a new report from California-based real estate research firm RealtyTrac suggests the courts are whisking through the backlog.
From July to August, total foreclosures filings jumped 54 percent to 2,343 in Broward County. But a closer look shows a year-over-year increase of only 7.7 percent from 2,175 in August 2013. The same was true in Miami-Dade, where a nearly 16 percent spike from July to August brought the tally to 2,838 compared to a 24 percent drop from 3,737 a year before.
The numbers indicate cases are rushing through the legal system each month, and that the rate of default has significantly slowed in the last 12 months.
“The lawsuits that were up in the air are now finally coming to a close,” said Reese Stigliano, senior vice president of Brenner Real Estate Group in Fort Lauderdale. “And people who bought bad loans are now going around cleaning up these loans and settling with the borrowers.”
The picture is clearest in Palm Beach County. Lenders filed 480 new foreclosures cases in August—down 9.9 percent from 533 cases in July and about 17 percent from 578 in August 2013, according to the latest count from the clerk’s office.
DBR Article 091614
New Cases in Palm Beach County
“The number of new cases filed in Palm Beach County has maintained a steady pace for the past year,” said Palm Beach County clerk and controller Sharon Bock. “I think homeowners who are behind on their mortgages are finding other alternatives such as selling their homes to avoid foreclosure.”
Last year it looked like the positive momentum might become sluggish when the federal government removed a major incentive for struggling homeowners. The federal Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 provided a tax benefit for short sales of primary residences, but that reprieve expired Dec. 31.
With less motivation for short sales, analysts expected fewer deals after December, but the latest numbers show homeowners are successfully avoiding new foreclosure suits.
New Legal Challenges with Deficiency Judgements
The questions now are whether new legal challenges will emerge from the breakneck speed of ongoing cases or if lenders will consider new maneuvers to recoup losses before the statute of limitations wipes out those claims.
“We have clients who were foreclosed once, had the case dismissed and are now in foreclosure again,” said Roy D. Oppenheim, co-founder and senior partner at Oppenheim Law in Weston, which represents homeowners. “The lenders still have a mortgage of record, and they’re trying to collect.”
Samantha Joseph can be reached at (954) 468-2614.
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.
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.
The 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. “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.
Without 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.
“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
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.
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. –
– See more at: http://southfloridalawblog.com/#sthash.92vQNBhy.dpuf
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