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  • Writer's pictureVincent Tubiana

Foreclosure Defense – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

In Florida, the current rate of unemployment is hovering at approximately 12 %. As you know, millions of homeowners are losing their homes due to, among other things, the nature of the economy.

Although banks are touting that they have recovered from the recession, and are financially secure, that does not mean that they are lending money like they were during the housing boom of a few years ago, or even open to refinancing. Unless a homeowner meets certain criteria put in place by the U.S.  Government, banks are refusing to modify mortgages on their own accord.

This has created a perfect storm for the unprecedented rate of foreclosures throughout the country; especially in South Florida.

For over one year, we have been representing a homeowner in a foreclosure action. In this case, the fact that the bank actually filed the lawsuit, we believe, was completely without merit. Nevertheless, the homeowner, who had worked tirelessly for years to purchase a home, had no choice but to secure counsel and defend her rights under the constitutions of the United States and Florida.

After some extensive litigation, the case eventually was ordered to mediation. Due to our strong position, we effectively negotiated a resolution that allowed the homeowner to enter into a HAMP loan modification. If the homeowner successfully made a series of monthly payments, her modification would eventually become permanent. This provides the homeowner with permanent financial relief so she can retain ownership of her home while being able to keep food on the table and maintain her standard of living.

However, the bank’s subsequent behavior was shocking. Although the homeowner was supposed to receive the HAMP trial modification packet within a few weeks, she never received anything! The bank and its attorneys would not return phone calls, letters or emails. It was incredibly frustrating! At this point, we were forced to file additional motions with the court to force the bank to honor its mediation agreement.

Although the homeowner is usually up against a large multi-national bank, the rules of Florida civil procedure, as well as the case law, provide foreclosure defense lawyers with the ability to force the bank to honor its agreement and even request that the court issues sanctions against for unnecessarily litigious behavior and defiance of the court order.

I have no doubt that the experience that precipitated our client’s arrival to our office, has been experienced by thousands of individuals throughout South Florida. Anytime that you receive anything in the mail from the bank or a law office, be sure to read it very carefully as the fine print may contain language indicating that some of your rights have been unjustly eliminated.

If you or a friend or family member faces uncertainty about continued home ownership, please do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Hutchison & Tubiana.

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