Much has been written and said about the state of the nation’s foreclosure crisis. South Florida has served as ground zero for much of the mess in the past few years and only recently is starting to dig out from under the mountain of foreclosure filings.
New South Florida foreclosures are down. After reporting the No. 1 foreclosure rate for two consecutive months, the metro area covering Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties fell to third in April, according to RealtyTrac Inc.
Nationwide, foreclosure activity fell to its lowest level in six years.
Meantime, several of the big banks have actually halted foreclosure sales to ensure they are complying with federal guidelines.
In his most recent “From the Trenches” video, Oppenheim about the newly passed foreclosure legislation – HB 87 – which is awaiting Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s signature. Roy wrote a letter to Scott asking him not to sign the bill, pointing out that if passed it could push homeowners out of their residences without the due process to which they are entitled.
There also has been a re-emergence of the so-called “rocket docket” with the Florida Supreme Court giving its blessing to a plan that allows for lawyers to serve as general magistrates to help push the hundreds of thousands pending foreclosures through the court system.
What are the implications of this decision? Watch the video to find out.
Real estate and foreclosure defense attorney, Roy Oppenheim left Wall Street for Main Street, founding Oppenheim Law along with his wife Ellen in 1989 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He also is vice president of Weston Title and creator of the South Florida Law Blog, named the best business and technology blog by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Follow Roy on Twitter at @OpLaw or like Oppenheim Law on Facebook
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Have you seen the YouTube video of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield singing David Bowie’s “Ground Control to Major Tom” from the International Space Station? The social media loving space man has become a YouTube sensation with more than 10.5 million (yep that’s million) hits and growing. And that’s only within the span of about a week.
While the space race slows down, the rest of the planet (which you can see clearly from Hadfield’s video) pretty much has lost interest in space travel, The Canadian astronaut has single-handedly created what might be considered a Renaissance for space exploration.
It’s this kind of adventurous spirit, ingenuity and creativity that have made the world a better place to live. And it’s that kind of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that we need to bring to America’s financial sector and in particular the banking industry.
Oppenheim Law was recently interviewed by banking, legislation, regulatory policy, and litigation publisher Bloomberg BNA on many legal topics – from the “dubious constitutionality” of so-called rocket dockets, to why the planet’s biggest banks must be broken up to remain competitive.
Ironically, the sub headline that BNA gave to the section relating to the breaking up of the banking industry was “Science Fiction” and appropriately so.
I talk about how if we turned the country’s five or six largest banks into 20 or even 30 smaller ones – we would unleash a type of capitalism and creation of new products and concepts that we can’t even begin to envision.
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Zombie titles occur after a homeowner defaults, but when a lender never follows through with the foreclosure.
Although a mortgage loan servicer may notify a borrower in default that foreclosure proceedings have begun, the lender is under no obligation to continue with the process. When homeowners are given a foreclosure notice, many leave their properties because they believe they will be evicted.
During this time, however, the borrower in default is still liable for the property, even though he or she no longer lives there and is not aware of the fact that he or she still owns it.
Homeowners are legally liable for their home which means they are responsible for property maintenance costs, utilities, and taxes — all for properties they don’t realize they still legally own.
The start of zombie title issues became pronounced during the mortgage crisis. Roy Oppenheim, co-founder and partner of Oppenheim Law, said banks took shortcuts for underwriting, appraising, and securitizing.
“It was a crazy time,” he said. “They were securitizing loans faster than they were originating them.”
Tanya Marchiol, CEO of Team Investments, a real estate firm, said foreclosed homeowners cannot leave their house in shambles and expect the bank to pick up the pieces.
“It is your responsibility to know what is going on with your house,” she said. “The bank can cancel the foreclosure and never tell the homeowner.”