A Brief Recap on the New Deficiency Judgment Deadlines
As I have explained in my previous blog posts and YouTube videos, July 1st 2014 was a key date in terms of deficiency judgments. If a bank had a foreclosure judgment entered in their favor at any time prior to June 30th, 2013 and the bank desired to file a lawsuit against the homeowner seeking a deficiency judgment, the deficiency judgment suit must be have been filed before July 1st, 2014. After July 1, 2014, under Florida Law, a deficiency judgment suit will have to be filed against the homeowner within one year after the entry of a foreclosure judgment or it can never be filed.
One of the reasons Florida legislators enacted this law is because they correctly recognized the burden and stress placed on constituents unsure of whether they were going to be sued for a deficiency years after a foreclosure judgment had been entered. It was a drag on the economy; plain and simple.
So who is Dyck-O’Neal, Inc.
Our firm has anticipated that there would be a rush by the banks to file deficiency judgment actions against homeowners as the clock ticked down to the July 1st, 2014 deadline. In fact, in June 2014 – Dyck-O’Neal, Inc., filed 323 deficiency cases in Broward County alone. We have also been retained to defend more deficiency judgment cases than the total amount of deficiency judgment cases we defended in all of 2013.
However, it is not just the banks doing the suing this time around. It’s also third party companies like Dyck O’Neal. Dyck O’neal, a company based out of Texas, has been filing thousands of deficiency judgment claims throughout the state and country. Since banks are well aware of the high costs in litigating claims against homeowners, most of them have chosen to act more efficiently and assign (sell) their deficiency judgment claims to third party collection companies like Dyck-O’Neal, Inc., for probably pennies on the dollar. These companies then attempt to squeeze whatever they can from homeowners in deficiency judgement actions and in many reported instances use harsh, harassing and aggressive methods to make the succumb to their demands. About 7 out of 10 deficiency judgment cases we are currently defending have Dyck O’Neal Inc. listed as the plaintiff. Dyck-O’Neal, Inc.,as been buying deficiency judgments from banks and going after homeowners like you since 1988. They are well versed and experienced in this game. You can be sure that they strategically chose which deficiency judgment claims to buy from the banks.
How Are We Defending Against Banks and Companies Like Dyck O’Neal?
During the initial “Complaint Stage” of deficiency judgment lawsuits, Oppenheim Law generally starts off by attempting to dismiss the entire case against the homeowner. We attack the deficiency judgment lawsuit filed by testing the legal sufficiency of the ‘Complaint.’ We also have seen many issues with ‘service of process’ in these new deficiency judgment lawsuits. During the “Complaint Stage” addition success is achieved by our associates challenging the substantive nature of the Complaint. For instance, many times the foreclosing bank discharged or “wrote-off” the deficiency amount after the foreclosure judgment was entered against the homeowner. In doing this, the banks received a tax credit by the IRS.
Oppenheim Law cases showed that the bank or their assignee (the companies they sold the deficiency judgment to such as Dyck O’neal) may not have a valid claim against homeowners since they have discharged the claim. If the deficiency judgment lawsuit is not completely dismissed during the initial “Complaint Stage” mentioned above, the Firm will move on to other, more technical strategies in defending your case. These strategies are unique and narrowly tailored to each of our clients’ specific needs based on the situation. Do Not Just Ignore the Deficiency judgement lawsuit
If there is one thing that the homeowner will take away from this blog-post is that the worst thing they can do if faced with a deficiency judgment lawsuit is to simply ‘ignore it.’ The entity filing the lawsuit wants you to ignore it! Why is that? If after 20 days the homeowner that has been served has not taken legal action, the Creditor, Dyck O’Neal Inc. or whoever is suing for the deficiency judgment will move for a Default Judgment. Once they are granted a Default Judgment by the court they will move to:
- Garnish your wages
- Cease your bank account
- Repossess your car
- Attempt to liquidate your assets
Stand Your Ground! To put this in lay terms, they will hound you (homeowner or property owner) like a wounded dog for up to 20 years. G-d forbid should you die, they can and will go after your estate, vigorously.
Do Not Give Up Your Rights To Defend Your Home – ‘Stand your ground ‘ means: Do not give up your rights to defend yourself. If you would like to know more or are interested in a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys currently handling several deficiency judgment cases, give Oppenheim Law a call at (954) 384-6114.
We HIGHLY recommend you retain an attorney if have been or anticipate being sued by Dyck O’Neal Inc. or by any other entity seeking a deficiency judgment against you.
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Repeatedly I am asked what my thoughts are about the implications of the situation in Iraq as it relates to the U.S. economy and the real estate market. While I nor anyone has a crystal ball, I do believe that there are certain logical implications that we can extrapolate from the Iraq crisis.
Specifically, it appears with energy prices spiking that there will be an interruption in the supply of oil from Iraq for the foreseeable future. Of course, the oil companies will use any excuse to drive up the price of oil and thus it is logical to anticipate that we will see a spike in gasoline prices shortly.
When oil and gasoline prices rise, a number of things happen beyond the pump.
Those people who are on fixed incomes or have tight economic budgets begin to cut back on certain discretionary items. They may go out to eat less and/or they will make one less trip to the grocery store in order to save a little money. Thus, those real estate markets that are hypersensitive to any adjustment in disposable income such as 80 percent of the residential market will likely be the first markets to have an alteration in the pricing structure due to increased oil prices. Sustained increased prices at the gas pump are effectively a form of anti-inflation. In fact at times when the economy was heating up too much at the beginning of the millennium the government would want oil prices to go up in order to prevent the economy from overheating.
Now, of course, as we are not in a period of inflation anything that harms the economy can cause deflation in the economy. When money is syphoned out of the economy with increased oil prices, there is less money to spend on other items thus reducing demand in some circumstances.
Waging a war on high-end real estate
Of course, the high-end part of the real estate market will likely not be affected by any increase in oil prices because it is not as vulnerable to these small calibrations in the economy compared to the wealth that such individuals may possess. So if you are trying to read the tea leaves it is likely that we will see some changes in a downward or sideways movement as it relates to lower income and middle income housing and very little impact on the higher-end markets.
U.S. energy arena soars
So as the Middle East erupts; U.S. is on the alternative energy front. Naturally, of course, there is always a silver lining in these situations. We live in a global oil market so as oil prices increase the desire to pursue alternative energy whether it is wind, solar, natural gas or even fracking will increase. U.S. output in oil has soared because we’ve adopted new technologies at a fairly good clip since 2008. New technology is valuable to the U.S. economy in the sense that it will allow us to become even more independent of what goes on in the rest of the world.
Here’s the bottom line. We live in a world that runs on oil. War in the Middle-East puts that supply at risk which makes investments scarce. The local South Florida real estate market has weathered lots of storms. Stay tuned as we continue to watch the events halfway around the world affect our real estate market.
From the trenches,
Real estate and foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim passionately defends Florida homeowners and investors from foreclosure, arranging short-sales, loan modifications, mortgage advice, commercial litigation, and business related matters. Roy is also the original creator of the South Florida Law Blog, named the best business and technology blog by the Sun-Sentinel. Share your comments and thoughts on the Oppenheim Law digital media social networks; they’d love to hear from you.
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Starting today banks have less than 30 days to file suit against homeowners for deficiency judgments if the foreclosure judgement was entered any time before June 30, 2013. If the banks miss the deadline, the banks’ rights to continue with a deficiency for these older cases is over. After July 1, 2014 if one is foreclosed upon, in Florida, the lender will have 365 days to proceed with filing suit for a deficiency judgment.
Last year the legislature shortened the time a bank had to file from 5 years to 1 year. So, yes we are seeing a flurry of banks filing for deficiency cases before the clock strikes midnight at month’s end.
For more information concerning this issue feel free to watch Roy Oppenheim from ” In the Trenches” on the South Florida law Blog and find out right here.