Help for Wrongful Foreclosure in Jacksonville, FL
Parker & DuFresne, P.A. is the most experienced firm in Northeast Florida, offering both bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy strategies for fighting your foreclosure. Our skilled team has defended over 700 hundred homeowners in state court foreclosure cases. As a debt relief agency, we file bankruptcy for thousands of people in federal bankruptcy court to avoid foreclosure.
What Are My Options When My Home Is in Foreclosure?
You have three options.
- If you feel that the filing was a wrongful foreclosure, you can fight the mortgage company. We have been fighting mortgage companies since 1994, and we are nationally recognized as a leader in foreclosure litigation and bankruptcy.
- If you know you got behind, but you want to save your home, you can file a bankruptcy, which will give you two different ways to protect your home. You can participate in the Mortgage Modification Mediation Program, or you can bring your delinquent mortgage current through a 5-year Chapter 13 Plan of Reorganization.
- If you don’t want to keep the house, you may be able to short sell your property and avoid bankruptcy and foreclosure. Often, we can negotiate enough time with the bank in your foreclosure case to allow you to market and sell your property. Usually, the banks will agree to waive the difference between what you owe and the sales price of your home.
Can I Fight My Mortgage Company for Wrongful Foreclosure?
The law requires that the plaintiff, often your mortgage servicer, prove their foreclosure action is proper. The plaintiff must prove the validity of every single allegation in the foreclosure complaint to ensure it is not a wrongful foreclosure. The main elements a foreclosure plaintiff must prove are
At the time the foreclosure complaint was filed, the homeowner was behind in mortgage payments.
This element may seem obvious, but many homeowners assert they were current at the time the foreclosure action began. Sometimes, the mortgage company refuses to accept payments or illegally places payments into a “suspense account.” The servicer may have offered an emergency forbearance, like after a hurricane, and then demanded that the skipped payments be made all at once.
The mortgage company did everything it was legally and contractually required to do before filing the foreclosure case.
Often, mortgage servicers fail to perform all “conditions precedent” to filing their foreclosure case. For instance, FHA and VA require mortgage servicers to perform precise loss-mitigation services to homeowners before placing them in foreclosure. Not surprisingly, these services are often not provided.
The plaintiff has the standing to bring the foreclosure action.
Loan originators frequently sell ownership of residential mortgage loans to other entities. Sometimes the buyer is a trust, known as mortgage-backed security. In the past, mortgage companies were notorious for bringing foreclosure actions before they legally owned the loan. This practice still occurs today, but mortgage companies are better at concealing their activities. Furthermore, judges have become numb to the shoddy legal work performed by the foreclosure law firms.
Each mortgage foreclosure presents different factual scenarios which require careful legal analysis by our foreclosure lawyers. The wrongful foreclosure lawyers of Parker & DuFresne are happy to analyze your foreclosure paperwork to determine what possible defenses exist for fighting your foreclosure.
Can I Save My Home without Filing Bankruptcy?
Yes, you can attempt to modify your mortgage while the foreclosure case is pending. However, the success rate for modifying a mortgage is dismally low. Mortgage servicers often engage in “extend and pretend” strategies to distract homeowners in foreclosure. Your servicer may reach out to you while in foreclosure to offer you “loss mitigation options,” like a mortgage modification.
If you have been through this process with your servicer, you know how exasperating it is. Doesn’t it feel like your servicer is just creating a convoluted path for you and waiting for you to misstep? You know they want to say, “We tried to give you a modification, but you screwed it up. It’s your fault!”
Has your servicer denied receiving the paperwork and documentation you have sent to them more than once? Has your servicer informed you that your modification packet was incomplete or incorrectly completed? You are not alone. These are common tactics for wearing down honest homeowners just trying to get back on track.
So, way more often than not, homeowners fail to modify their mortgages when going it alone.
The foreclosure lawyers of Parker & DuFresne can handle your mortgage modification outside of bankruptcy court. While the success rate is lower than if you do file bankruptcy, we have successfully modified many mortgages without having to file a bankruptcy.
How Does Bankruptcy Help Me Save My Home?
The first bankruptcy option is the Mortgage Modification Mediation Program (“MMMP”). In either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the bankruptcy judge can order the parties to participate in the MMMP, and that order imposes a duty to mediate in good faith. While this does not ensure your mortgage company will agree to modify your loan, it does ensure that it will at least reasonably consider the modification. The modification lawyers at Parker and DuFresne have experienced a much higher modification success rate inside the bankruptcy system than inside the state court system. We attribute the increased success in bankruptcy to the good faith requirement placed upon the parties by federal law.
Chapter 13 Repayment
The second bankruptcy option is a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Again, the automatic stay freezes the foreclosure case, and the homeowner is giver 60 months (5 years) to bring the mortgage delinquency current. The experienced bankruptcy lawyers of Parker & DuFresne use various techniques and strategies when crafting Chapter 13 plans to make them as affordable as possible. For instance, we modify the length and interest rate of your car loan, which often lowers the monthly payment. You can apply the monthly savings to your mortgage arrearage. We frequently craft plans with payments that are not much greater than your original monthly secured debt obligations.
What If I Don’t Want to Save My Home?
Homeowners have many reasons for just walking away from their house. The foreclosure lawyers of Parker & DuFresne can help you minimize the financial liability and credit damage of a foreclosure. We often defend foreclosure cases with the primary objective of buying enough time to get the property sold at a short sale. A successful short sale means no foreclosure will appear on your credit. The short sale will often allow you to buy another home in just a couple of years. The key to a successful short sale is to obtain a waiver of deficiency from the lender. Without a waiver, the lender can sue a homeowner for the difference between the short sale price and the amount left owing on the promissory note.
If the lender refuses to grant a deficiency waiver, a homeowner may determine the best course of action is to avoid the deficiency by filing bankruptcy. The bankruptcy lawyers of Parker & DuFresne have filed Chapter 13 bankruptcies for the sole purpose of avoiding these potentially massive deficiencies. Even homeowners with large incomes and high-net-worth frequently file bankruptcy for this purpose.
Dealing with Wrongful Foreclosures
There are many ways to deal with wrongful foreclosure successfully. The law firm of Parker & DuFresne can expertly handle your case in the manner which best suits your individual needs. Contact us today.