Home - Foreclosure Defense
Foreclosure is the forced sale of a property by a financial institution. Foreclosure usually occurs when a property owner has failed to pay back his home loan to the lending institution. A home loan is also known as a mortgage and the lending institution is typically a bank. Since the property is collateral for the loan, the lending institution has the right to force the sale of the property (foreclosure) if the property owner does not pay his mortgage on time every month.
What is a mortgage?
In Florida, a mortgage is a lien on property by a bank or financial institution for money that a property owner borrowed from the institution in order to pay for that property. After a mortgage is signed and approved, the property owner has the obligation to pay back the property loan plus interest. The financial institution has the right to force the sale of the property if the property owner does not pay the mortgage on time.
What is an acceleration clause?
An acceleration clause is part of the mortgage’s promissory note and is an important feature to understand. An acceleration clause can cause a premature foreclosure action by allowing the bank to declare the entire loan due if the property owner misses a certain number of payments on the mortgage. An acceleration clause gives the bank the right to sue for the entire sum of the loan, not just the missed payment. However, it usually requires that the property owner is given adequate notice before the acceleration cause can be utilized. Most acceleration clauses are legal, valid, and enforceable stipulations.
How does the foreclosure process work?
When a foreclosure occurs it is considered a lawsuit brought by the financial institution and it forces the sale of property in order to satisfy the outstanding debt. The lender will file and record in the public records a Lis Pendens, which lets everyone know that a lawsuit has been filed against the property. A court will enter a Judgment setting forth the balance due on the mortgage and include the interest which has accrued. The court will then order a sale of the property. Once the property has sold, the proceeds of the sale will be used to pay the outstanding debt. However, the owner of the property usually has a right to pay off and reinstate the financial institution before the foreclosure sale in order to keep the property.
Many mortgages created within the past ten years were securitized (meaning they were bundled and sold to investors through a series of transactions) and are therefore subject to various contractual obligations in addition to State and Federal laws and regulations. One such obligation relates to the mortgage loan originator’s requirement to satisfy several procedural assignments in order for these mortgages to be properly transferred to the eventual owners of these instruments. Because in most cases these procedures were not adhered to, the mortgage foreclosure Plaintiffs are unable to legally prove ownership of the Mortgage, thereby giving rise to a defense that the Plaintiff in the foreclosure case lacks the authority to enforce the mortgage.
The best case scenario for a homeowner is that his attorney is able to pursue a legal proceeding called a Quiet Title Action, the result of which eliminates the mortgage altogether. A quiet title action is a lawsuit to establish a party's title to real property against anyone and everyone, and thus "quiet" any challenges or claims to the title. This legal action is "brought to remove a cloud on the title" so that plaintiff and those in privity with him may forever be free of claims against the property.
What should I do if my property is being foreclosed?
A foreclosure defense attorney can help you with:
- Pre-foreclosure counseling and strategies
- Default management/walkaways
- Short sales
- Loan modifications
- Deed in Lieu
There are many ways to attack a pending foreclosure, but time is not on your side when a lender elects to foreclose. If you have received a complaint for foreclosure from your lender, it is critical that you contact a local attorney immediately. You have 20 days to respond to a lawsuit. Otherwise, a default maybe entered against you.
If you have defaulted on your mortgage or have been notified of foreclosure on your Florida property, you should consult with an experienced foreclosure attorney in south Florida. A local attorney can help you understand your rights in this process, determine which options are available to you, and help you save your home. Go to our find lawyers center for help.
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