“What we got from this is the state has had the opportunity to see where the laws have been broken,’ Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock said at the time, “and frankly, it is in large part thanks to the work of the defense attorneys.
We cited April Charney from the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and Peter Ticktin and many others wonderful attorneys who have taken bank officers’ depositions, challenged judges rulings and fought the good fight for the Florida homeowner.
Somewhere along the line, the overly ambitious bankers on Wall Street had the “great idea” of slicing and dicing the interest of the Promissory Note and literally severing it from your Mortgage. Why? Convenience,expediency, and, arguably, greed. And much like Humpty Dumpty after his great fall, the banks couldn’t bring the mortgages and their corresponding Notes all back together again. The banks were accused of fraud and perjury trying to do just that.
If Americans are right, 2012 will finally be the magic year for the housing market. Over 2,000 adults were polled by Trulia and RealtyTrac , and the majority, 22 percent, said most Americans think the housing market will fully recover in the new year. A mere 10 percent thought a recovery would happen this year, while nearly a quarter of those surveyed predicted a bumpy road until 2015 and beyond.
We reviewed the most popular stories on the South Florida Law Blog this year and came up with our list of the top 10 posts for 2011
Some of Oppenheim Law’s most popular videos and blog posts this year were on the topic of deficiency judgements. Understanding deficiencies and the Florida rules which pertain to them are key to avoid getting a deficiency judgment.
The unpaid mortgage debt associated with a residence is a deficiency. A bank can foreclose and force a judicial sale of a home if the mortgage borrower fails to pay the associated mortgage debt. The deficiency is the difference between the proceeds from the sale and the remaining mortgage loan balance. A deficiency can also result from a short sale, which is an alternative to foreclosure.
The rules pertaining to deficiencies differ from state to state. In Florida, if the bank is successful in obtaining a deficiency judgment, it will be recorded in the public records and collectable for up to twenty years. To avoid the possibility of getting a deficiency judgment, before deciding to walk away from your home, hiring a good foreclosure defense attorney is necessary.
At first glance, it looked like Florida foreclosure victims were finally getting the help they need from the feds. Reading the fine print it looks like if we had to describe this in one tweet word: #fail.
Just as Oppenheim anticipated, this year we’ve seen how big this foreclosure mess really is. There were numerous investigations, and a self-imposed moratorium on foreclosures during parts of 2011, resulting in a massive backlog of cases.
It was ludicrous, as Bank of America officials first said, that they would only need 60 days to review their inventory of files.
“It took them virtually a year to figure out that they were doing were just not kosher and had to stop,” Oppenheim explained.
There were several huge financial settlements offered to the banks over their illegitimate foreclosure practices, but the majority just did not stick. Judges told them the settlements were unacceptable and did not go far enough. With various attorneys general and the IRS among the agencies getting involved, these cases are nowhere close to settled.
“The banks literally got their hand not just caught in the cookie jar, but the lid was slammed on it, and everyone got to see the hand just hanging there,” said Oppenheim.
2011 is leaving us with a still unstable market, so people are looking for tangible investments, Oppenheim continued, and with the dollar still weak, Florida real estate is not a bad deal. When you add the fact that there is an excess of distressed properties, prices are not expected to rise anytime soon. he said.
Now every year there is an X-Factor, and this year it was Occupy Wall Street. It was a movement no one really saw coming, and despite some right-wingers attempts to limit Occupy as a fringe movement, Oppenheim said, there is no question the message of Occupy has resonated with middle America.