The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) Program
Poster Profile:Name: Law Informer
by: Law Informer posted: March 19, 2015
- Waiver of Deficiency, which releases you from the remaining balance of the mortgage debt. Meaning, the bank cannot collect the difference between the short sale price and your mortgage debt.
- The Bank stands in your shoes to accept, reject or counteroffer the current contract price.
- Your credit score is affected less than with traditional foreclosures and short sales.
- HAFA may provide you with $1,000 to $10,000 in relocation assistance.
- The Property is principal residence.
- You have a documented financial hardship.
- Mortgage originated before Jan. 1, 2009.
- Mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
- Borrower's total monthly housing payment exceeds 31 percent of gross income.
- Unpaid principal does not exceed $729,750
Should I File Bankruptcy?
Fernandez Florida Law Can Help You Decide
by: Niurka F. Asmer, Esq. posted: February 17, 2015
Fernandez Florida Law can help you determine if it is the right time to file a personal bankruptcy.
The word bankruptcy sounds daunting and the idea of it seems even more terrifying. However, in these times of financial hardship, bankruptcy courts are overwhelmed with bankruptcy filings in an effort to discharge debt or reorganize debt. If you have incurred personal debt, bankruptcy may be a viable option. Fernandez Florida Law, and its bankruptcy Attorneys in Tampa and Clearwater, can assist you through this difficult and intimidating process.
What is a bankruptcy and is it the right option for you to file?
Bankruptcy is the legal process in which debt, either business or personal, can be discharged. Its purpose is to obtain a fresh start. Many individuals facing financial hardships are unable to pay his or her creditors and are faced with potential wage garnishment or levy of assets. There are two personal bankruptcies that can be filed: 1) Chapter 7 “liquidation” and/or 2) Chapter 13 “reorganization”.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidates your debt. People have a misconception that they will lose all their assets in a chapter 7. That is not the case. Certain personal property or an amount of equity in property is exempt or protected from the liquidation process. If you meet the exemption levels, you could be in and out of bankruptcy in 4-6 months.
Chapter 13 is a reorganization of personal debt. This allows a person to keep their personal property, however, due to the level of income, a payment plan will be created by a bankrtupcy attorney, wherein the debtor will pay a percentage of their debt. A Chapter 13 will also allow you to strip off unsecured liens on real property, cram down notes on vehicles to fair market value and pay off debt owed to the IRS.
Now that you know the main forms of personal bankruptcy, how do you know if you should file? The following questions were designed to help you decide if you are financially overextended and may not realize it:
- Does more than 20% of your take-home pay go towards paying creditors?
- Do you need a second job to earn enough to make needs meet?
- Do you rely on credit cards for everyday expenses?
- Do you only pay the minimum due each month?
- Do you have late or missed payments?
- Do you take out new credit cards or loans to pay off the old ones?
- Are you unsure about how much you owe?
If you answered yes to two or more of the questions, call or contact Fernandez Florida Law for your free bankruptcy consultation.
Bankruptcy is an option available to millions of Americans to eliminate unmanageable debts, or stop from losing your home in foreclosure. Potential clients can schedule an appointment with Fernandez Florida Law and leave the consultation with a feeling of hope and ease after being educated on their legal rights and options. Should I file bankruptcy? If you believe the answer is yes or have further questions, contact Fernandez Florida Law to protect yourself and your assets.
Fernandez Florida Law fights for those in Tampa, New Tampa, Oldsmar, Lutz, Clearwater, Largo, Seminole and the State of Florida who need help getting back on their feet financially. Call 813-412-5605 today or contact us.
How Can an Attorney Ease You into Life After Foreclosure?
by: Niurka F. Asmer, Esq. posted: February 17, 2015
Unfortunately, foreclosure is a stressful reality for many Floridians in Tampa and Clearwater. Hard working individuals find themselves facing tough economic challenges, including job loss, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and cashing in their hard-earned retirement savings to pay debts. Hiring an attorney to defend your foreclosure case will provide you with options and a foreseeable end result that can lessen the burden on you and your family.
Fernandez Florida Law, Tampa and Clearwater’s Foreclosure Attorney, takes the time to understand the financial situation that brought you to foreclosure. Some options include: loan modification, foreclosure defense, short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure, chapter 13 or 7 bankruptcy.
In addition to assisting with the legalities of a foreclosure, Fernandez Florida Law can aid you in rebuilding your credit. After a foreclosure, your top priority should be to find a decent, affordable place to live and to start rebuilding your credit. Unfortunately, the time you spend in foreclosure will stall your ability to bounce back from the negative credit reporting. Once the foreclosure action is completed, it is recommended to begin rebuilding your credit immediately and to create a sustainable spending and savings plan.
Continue using credit: People often make the mistake of closing credit lines or cutting credit cards when their scores take a major hit. Shunning credit altogether only leaves a large gap in your credit history, which is nearly as troubling to lenders as a bad credit history.
Make sure your payments are timely: To avoid missing a due date by accident, set up automated payments. It is advised to purchase small items on credit and pay off the entire balance when the bill is due.
Check your credit score: A federal law allows you to get a free yearly credit report at Annual Credit Report which will allow you to track your progress and monitor fraud.
The biggest question Florida residents who face foreclosure is: Can I be a homeowner again? Credit is like beauty…its’ all in the eyes of the beholder. Although a foreclosure will impact your ability to get a conforming, conventional mortgage, the answer is yes. How long the impact lasts depends on how quickly you can rebuild your credit. For many people, an FHA loan will be the quickest path back to homeownership. After a foreclosure, the government body requires a three-year waiting period before you can qualify for another FHA-backed loan. There are exceptions, which can speed up the process.
Call Fernandez Florida Law today for a free consultation to learn your rights and options available to you. Fernandez Florida Law represents clients in Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Polk County.
The main office is located in South Tampa at 113 South Boulevard, 1st Floor, Tampa FL 33606. Call (813) 412-5605 or contact us to schedule a free consultation.
Fernandez Florida Law's has a satellite location in Clearwater Florida located at Hodusa Towers, National Properties Trust, Inc., 28870 U.S. Highway 19 N, Suite 300, Clearwater FL 33761. Call (727) 282-1910 or contact us to schedule a consultation.
Thinking about Bankruptcy after Holiday Credit Card Debt?
by: Niurka F. Asmer, Esq. posted: January 28, 2015
Most people in Tampa Bay pull out their credit cards during the holidays. Travel, family gatherings, gifts, and diners out, all add up quickly with the belief that it will be paid off in the future. Trends show that credit card debt raises though the first of the year, with diminished spending in February.
January roles around and the pleasures of the holiday season start to disappear with higher credit card balances. For someone already struggle with debt those few extra dollars for credit card payments can be the tipping point of financial chaos. Managing day-to-day expense gets more difficult which can lead to missed payments and debt going into collections.
In the US 40% of individuals with a credit card have debts in collections. When credit cards payments are late and minimums are not paid fees and interest can raise the total debt considerably. After the credit card company tries to collect the debt for months they may turn the collection efforts over to a collection agency. Collection agencies make money from the debt they collect, leading to vigorous attempts at collecting that debt. This can involve continuous phone calls to your home, cell phone and work. On some occasions, creditors will locate family members as a scare tactic to collect on the debt.
Credit card debt, especially from the holidays, can be a major factor when considering bankruptcy. A difficult decision to make, but when mounting debt seems unbearable it is a viable option. According to the US Court statistics over 35,000 personal bankruptcies were filled in Florida’s Middle District, which covers the areas around Fort Myers, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville. Nationally, almost a million bankruptcies were filled in 2014. Bankruptcy is quite common, just not talked about that often.
When making a decision to file bankruptcy consider a few things:
- File annual taxes before filing bankruptcy; a refund could be viewed as income
- Don’t take large cash advances over $900 on credit cards 10 weeks before filing for bankruptcy; it may not be discharged and considered an invalid transfer.
- Avoid extravagant purchases, over $650, on credit cards 3 months prior to filing; this can be viewed as fraud.
After filing for bankruptcy:
- All collections efforts must stop due to the automatic stay in place.
- It could stop a foreclosure sale
- Debt can be discharged
- Cars and homes can be kept with new payment plans
- Provides you with an opportunity to reestablish your credit and build a positive financial history
Fernandez Florida Law with offices in Tampa and Clearwater, can help sort through your options surrounding bankruptcy. Having over a decade of experience in bankruptcy and collection efforts in court, the attorneys provide personal service and a sense of security while helping you restore your financial health. Contact our bankruptcy offices in Tampa or Clearwater today for help.
Attack of the Robo-Signers Again, Now with Deficiency Judgements
by: Niurka F. Asmer, Esq. posted: December 26, 2014
The aftermath of robo-signers is impacting Florida again. Remember the mortgage loan automatons that were acting strictly on their own will, authenticating foreclosure documents with no verification of the information they were swearing to? Their debatable documents are now being used to badger previous borrowers years after their homes have gone into foreclosure. Foreclosure Attorneys have complained for years that the problems started when robo-signed documents allowed banks to foreclose without any legal standing.
Now Robo-signers Redux has since developed. Mortgage giant Fannie Mae has hired debt collectors on a pursuit to redeem the difference between what the homeowners owed on their mortgages when they were foreclosed and the amount received when the properties were resold, called the deficiency.
Fannie Mae, other mortgage lenders and third party debt collectors that buys the deficiency debt can file a deficiency claim in court. If they succeed with the deficiency claim lawsuit a foreclosed homeowner could be faced with a deficiency judgment, possibly owing tens of thousands of dollars and potential interest.
So now Florida banks have been bombarding former homeowners for deficiency judgment payments on their homes that ultimately went into foreclosure with the help of robo-signers.
In order for a bank to foreclose on a homeowner, it needs proof that it has the right to do so. For example, the bank must present documentation showing that it holds the note underlying the mortgage. However, this paperwork was often inaccurate or even missing with robo-signers. This led to mounds of foreclosure in 2009 and onward. Law firms representing the banks set up assembly lines to create new documents allowing them the right to foreclose. During the peak of this foreclosure dilemma, the Florida Courts became so overwhelmed that they created a new system known as Rocket Docket to help speed the process.
In 2012, the robo-signers got the attention of the Florida’s State Attorney General who achieved a 25 billion dollar settlement with 5 major banks that had foreclosed, most without proper documentation. Most robo-firms closed, attornies were sanctioned and some disbarred.
There are still many open cases of former homeowners being pursued by Fannie Mae and other mortgage lenders for deficiency judgments in Florida regarding documents handled by robo-signers. Florida courthouses are seeing their fare share of cases, as well as the Tampa and Clearwater Law Firm of Fernandez FLorida Law.
Many foreclosed former homeowners feel helpless when faced with a deficiency case. An experienced foreclosure attorney can help determine if the foreclosure was the result of robo-signers and build a defense against a judgment.
Foreclosure Lawyer Nicki Fernandez Amser of Fernandez Florida Law has experience helping those faced with foreclosure and deficiency judgment cases. She can discuss the various options available prior to foreclosure, after, and help negotiate with the bank throughout the process.
Hiring a foreclosure lawyer in Tampa when faced with a pending lawsuit can shed light on your options.
Faced with a deficiency case? The Foreclosure Attorney at Fernandez Florida Law can:
- Create a deficiency defense by determining if robo-singers were involved in the foreclosure
- Negotiate the deficiency judgment to reduce the amount that owed
Want to proceed with a foreclosure? The Foreclosure Lawyer at Fernandez Florida Law can:
- Negotiate the deficiency judgment to reduce the amount that you owe
- Explain bankruptcy options for debt relief
Want to fight a foreclosure? The Foreclosure Firm Fernandez Florida Law can:
- Create a foreclosure defense
- Negotiate with the Lender for a loan modification
- Work on a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure
- Negotiate with homeowners associations and condo associations with liens against your property
When facing a deficiency judgement, foreclosure, or considering a short sale? Contact Fernandez Florida Law with offices in Tampa and Clearwater Florida, we can help navigate your foreclosure and provide solutions. Contact our Tampa Foreclosure Lawyer at 813-412-5605, our Pinellas Foreclosure Lawyer at 727-282-1910 or by email.
Awarded Best Law Firm of 2015 by the FLCAJ
by: Niurka F. Asmer, Esq. posted: December 21, 2014
Fernandez Florida Law is pleased to announce its award for Best Law Firm of 2015 by the Florida Community Association Journal.
The entire legal team is honored by the award recognizing its work in connection with HOA's and Condo Associations in Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough county.
The FLCAJ award is presented to Condo Associations and HOA service providers that demonstrate through their commitment to the community associations they serve, an exemplary level of proficiency, reliability, fairness, and integrity.
We look forward to receiving our award at the Florida Community Association’s Education & Expo at the Palm Beach County Convention Center on January 15, 2015.
Fernandez Florida Law’s Condo Association and HOA Attorney, Nicki Fernandez Asmer, prides herself in providing legal representation to Condo Association and HOAs with offices in Tampa and Clearwater. Our firm provides individual attention with reasonable pricing. Fernandez Florida Law assists association boards and their management companies with preparing and conducting board meetings; providing legal opinions on the associations’ business under Florida law; enforcing covenants and restrictions and; drafting and negotiating vendor contracts.”
Don’t Let Your Condo Association End Up in the Dog House
by: Niurka F. Asmer, Esq. posted: December 21, 2014
Many Condo Association and Homeowner Associations in Tampa and Clearwater have pet restrictions within their community's covenants. Some community associations restrict all pets, while others limit by size or certain dog breeds. Just because a community limits pets, this may not exclude certain animals from residing in their building or community.
Pet restrictions can be enforced, as long as the animal is only a pet and not used for any medical reasons. Questions can arise with boards when faced with a resident that acquires or moves in with an animal. Depending on how the HOA or Condo Board proceeds, the situation could have significant financial consequences.
When faced with an animal in a residence the association board needs to be aware of the law and rules governing the situation. FHA requires exemptions to these rules in certain medical situations. The two federally covered classes of animals are service animals and emotional support animals. It is vital that your board understands the definitions and requirement for both cases.
Service animals are usually dogs, but sometimes small horses, that have received training to provide a specific service or benefit to someone with a disability. Service animals must be allowed under the Americans with Disability Act to accompany people with disabilities in public places and reside in their residence.
Emotion support dogs provide comfort. They do not qualify as service animals under the Americans with Disability Act, but are covered under the FHA. They can be restricted from public places that don’t allow pets, but are allowed to live in no-pet housing. An HOA or condo association can request medical necessity documentation for an emotional support dog.
Animal owners in Florida have successfully sued boards and respective members over service and support animals. Consulting with your HOA Attorney before making a determination about an animal in a no pet community could save the boards a legal battle and a potently hefty judgment.
The Clearwater and Tampa HOA Firm of Fernandez Florida Law is experienced with pet and service animal issues. Call Fernandez Florida Law for the individual attention that your community association deserves from an experienced lawyer. Email or call to discuss 813-412-5605 in Hillsborough County or 727-282-1910 in Pinellas County to schedule a consultation.
On Our Way to the Coliseum
For The West Florida Property Managers Expo
by: Niurka F. Asmer, Esq. posted: November 06, 2014
Fernandez Florida Law is on their way to the Coliseum in St. Petersburg for the Property Managers Expo West Florida event on November 12th from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
This exciting expo will feature over 75 vendors with business focusing on community association, HOAs, condo associations, property managers and property owners. It will offer the opportunity to meet qualified Florida state-wide vendors and professional service organizations providing information about their companies. Seminars and educational opportunities will be offered including: pool heating, Community Board Certification, Concrete and Hurricane Claims.
If something funny happens on your way to the Coliseum stop by Booth 20 in the South West Corner of the Property Managers Expo and meet Tampa HOA Attorney Nicki Fernandez Asmer of Fernandez Florida Law to find out the details. She will be discussing the benefits of hiring a HOA law firm dedicated to individual attention for every HOA and Condo Association client with reasonable pricing.
Can’t make it to the Coliseum? Contact the HOA Law Firm Fernandez Florida Law at 813-412-5605 in Hillsborough or 727-282-1910 in Pinellas or by email.
Q: Who’s Your Favorite HOA & Condo Association Attorney in Tampa and Clearwater?
A: Fernandez Florida Law
by: Niurka F. Asmer, Esq. posted: November 06, 2014
Fernandez Florida Law has been nominated for best law firm of 2015 in the Florida Community Association Journal. The entire Legal and office team is excited about the opportunity to be recognized for our work with Home Owners and Condo Associations in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
The FCAJ award is presented to Condo Association and HOA service providers that demonstrate through their commitment to the community associations they serve an exemplary level of proficiency, reliability, fairness, and integrity. The winners will be announced at the Florida Community Association’s Education & Expo at the Palm Beach County Convention Center on January 15, 2015.
HOA and Condo Association Attorney Nicki Fernandez Asmer of Fernandez Florida Law prides herself in providing legal representation to Condo Association and HOAs in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, focusing on individual attention with reasonable pricing. Fernandez Florida Law assists association boards and their management companies with preparing for and conducting board meetings; answering questions about documents and Florida law; enforcing the covenants and restrictions and; drafting and negotiating contracts for provision of services.
Condo Association Lawyer Nicki Fernandez Asmer also believes education is instrumental when for everyone in the community association arena. The firm created a law blog and sends frequent emails to educate HOA and condo board members about the latest law changes and legal rulings impacting their Florida communities.
HOA Attorney Asmer also realizes the importance of property managers in Tampa Bay understanding their legal responsibilities, so she became certified in offering property managers CLEs. She recently offered a Lunch and Learn opportunity for the Tampa Bay property managers of Ameri-Tech Property Management in Clearwater.
The annual award is tabulated by votes at the FLCAJ website, so please show your support for Fernandez Florida Law in the Legal Services category. If you are not a property manager or board member, please choose “other” when voting. Thanks much for your support and wish us luck!
Vote for Fernandez Florida Law here!
Is your HOA or Condo Association in need a an experienced law firm that provides prompt and individual attention? Call Fernandez Florida Law with office in Tampa and Clearwater Florida 813-412-5605 in Hillsborough or 727-282-1910 in Pinellas or by email .
Tampa Foreclosed Home Owners - Heard about the Great Securitization Swindle?
Poster Profile:Name: BityBit
Brittany is a child of the internet. Her early days of multi-tasking included IMing, texting and blogging at the same time. Now her tasks still involve blogging, but chasing around two muchins has been added to the list.
by: BityBit posted: November 06, 2014
I was recently retained by a client who had a mortgage foreclosure case, where the original lender was America’s Wholesale Lender. I’d never heard of this lender and did some research on the internet (not legal research) to determine whether this was a legitimate lender. Something just didn’t seem right. The note and mortgage were supposedly transferred to Countrywide Mortgage and then Bank of America.
I stumbled upon hundreds of articles regarding securitization scandals orchestrated by Countrywide over the last decade. It appears Countrywide falsely created 3.5 million loans at the taxpayers expense, which blows my mind because it was such a simple, yet undetected scam that went on for so long.
In 2003, Countrywide tried to dominate the housing boom, but they needed a way to get around the licensing fees in each state, corporate taxes, and regulatory costs required to business. That's when the Securitization Swindle was born. Rather than becoming licensed and registered in every state, they created the trade name (DBA) "America's Wholesale Lender," and registered in every state. They hoped this would slide under the radar of the regulators and collect billions of dollars in loan fees. Their plan worked and nobody realized that America's Wholesale Lender wasn't a registered or licensed corporation to do business in their State. Countrywide went on to make 3.5 million loans across every state in the country under the DBA "America's Wholesale Lender".
However, a DBA such as America's Wholesale Lender is not a legal entity and cannot own property, file lawsuits, or hold a security interests. Some local regulators started to catch on and refused to record the loans because the lender was only a DBA and wasn't licensed in the state.
Countrywide then decided to commit more fraud by listing the lender on their mortgages as "America's Wholesale Lender, a Corporation organized and existing under the Laws of New York". They resubmitted the loans and it went through without a problem. No one realized that America's Wholesale Lender wasn't actually a registered corporation or lender.
Instead of selling the loans to a securitized trust per pooling agreements, Bank of America (BOA) now controlled them. BOA was collecting the payments and foreclosing on loans even though it never owned or funded any of the actual loans.
In 2008, the matter was brought it to the attention of the US District Court, alleging that BOA was foreclosing on loans that it didn't own, and that the loans were made by a corporation that BOA didn't hold an interest in. The District Court dismissed the case as irrelevant and BOA continued with the fraud.
Bank of America immediately tried to prevent AWLI from making claims on their loans. They got MERS to create an assignment on behalf of AWLI to send a loan to Bank of New York Mellon, Deutsche Bank, or US Bank. Like in my client’s case, the Plaintiff bank attached the assignment to its foreclosure complaint, hoping to push the case through to foreclosure sale without anyone noticing. My client had been in foreclosure since 2012 without anyone raising suspicion of the issue involved.
Here’s the really annoying part: These fraudulent loans have been repaid with taxpayer money in the TARP bailout, as well as by the insurance companies who insured these supposedly securitized trusts.
With the right legal team on your side, these homeowners can get the justice they rightfully deserve.
If you know anyone with a loan from America's Wholesale Lender or facing foreclosure from other mortgage lenders, contact our Tampa Foreclosure Attorney at 813-412-5605 or email. Our experienced foreclosure lawyer, with offices in Tampa and Clearwater, and team specialize in exposing exactly this sort of fraud. Our Attorney has the leverage to get the banks negotiating on our terms. It doesn't matter if the homeowner has already been foreclosed on, we still might be able to help.