Foreclosure Defense The Law Offices of Sasha Katz, PL defends property owners from foreclosure actions brought by lenders and homeowners and condo associations. Florida and Federal laws provide procedural and equitable defenses to prevent or postpone foreclosure. We work against lender abuse and protect our clients from unfair practices dictated by your bank. Lenders have lawyers, so should you! At Law Offices of Sasha Katz, PL, we understand that no two situations are the same. Each client’s situation is analyzed on an individual basis by Sasha Katz, Esq. and staff. We are fully aware of the stress involved with facing financial burdens and foreclosure. For this reason, we develop a customized course of action to specifically meet your goals. We have found that providing knowledge of the process, a time line and a plan empowers clients to take steps to take back their financial life. In order to get started, we offer a FREE 15-minute phone or in person consultation. During that time, we will review your budget and set goals. It matters to us that you leave our office with less burden and stress than when you arrived. Making an appointment is easy. Keep in mind that most people who lose their homes to foreclosure don’t need to! Have you been served? In Florida, the foreclosure process begins when the bank’s attorney files a foreclosure complaint against you. The foreclosure complaint usually includes a summons for each party including the borrower, owner of the property, other lienholders like a line of credit, second mortgage or judgement creditor and any tenants in the property. Each party served will have twenty (20) calendar days to respond to the complaint. If there is no response by the twentieth day, you could face a default judgment which may result in a quick final judgment and court auction of your property. It is imperative that a response is made in a timely manner so that you have an opportunity to raise defenses and any claims you may have against your lender. Common Misconceptions Can’t I just walk away from my property? There are scenarios when it may be best to walk away from the property. But not in literal terms! If it is in your best interest not to retain the property, you can take strategic action to discontinue mortgage payments and negotiate beneficial settlement terms. As a property owner, you have liability as a title holder. As a borrower, you have liability as to your loan obligations. You may incur liability in both respects if you walk away without a strategic plan. Can’t I file bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure proceeding? Sometimes filing a bankruptcy petition is the easiest way to stop an imminent foreclosure sale date. However, it is not a long term fix in some cases. As soon as the bankruptcy is discharged, the bank’s attorney may proceed with foreclosure under some circumstances. It is best to assess all legal angles before making the decision to file bankruptcy to stop a court sale date. Is it too late to hire an attorney if my foreclosure case has been pending for a while? No, it is almost never too late to hire an attorney to defend you. Although the greatest breadth of options is available if you defend yourself from the beginning, counsel at any stage of the case will likely be beneficial. Can the county sheriff show up at my house and kick me out? No, Florida courts require notice to homeowners in foreclosure cases. When the court enters judgment in favor of the lender and issues an auction date of your property, you will be mailed a copy of the court document. This information is also available on public records. If you do not move out of the property by the court auction date, the new owner may file a writ of possession, which must be served to you in person. If you do not move out of the property and the writ is not delayed, a sheriff may come to the property to oversee your move out of the property at that time. Notice requirements in our legal system protect homeowners from being surprised by court auction dates and writs of possession. Foreclosure Scams The New York Post identifies South Florida as the nation’s organized fraud capital. Mortgage related fraud is one of the three major fraud trends. Over the years, we have generalized the warning signs of potential mortgage fraud into these areas: Deed Transfers: Suspect fraud any time you are asked to transfer title of your property to third party so that they can help you save your home. Deed transfers are extremely risky as you are giving up your title rights to the property, but not relieving yourself of mortgage debt related to the property. Over Promising Advertisements: Suspect fraud anytime an advertisement claims to have a direct relationship with your lender, claims to have an already approved modification from your lender or claims to be a governmental entity or associated with a governmental entity when it is not. Hard Money Loans with High Interest Rates: Suspect fraud any time you are offered a loan to save your home in exchange for loan terms you can’t afford. The lender may be waiting to quickly foreclosure once you miss a payment. Phony Counseling Agencies: Suspect fraud when you are asked to pay a high fee for financial counseling and preparation of paperwork to submit to your lender. The counseling agency could be misleading you to take your money and prevent you from getting real help.