If you thought they were gone, think again. The foreclosure phenomenon known as a ‘zombie foreclosure’ has proven that it is here to stay. A zombie foreclosure occurs when homeowners leave their homes when they receive a notice of foreclosure only to find out years later that the bank decided not to foreclose on the property; leaving title in the homeowner’s name.
#Fangate overshadows weirdest start of the FL. Gov. gubernatorial debate as the 900 pound invisible gorilla in South Florida seeks answers.
While the Florida real estate market is heating up in Florida and particularly South Florida, all eyes are also watching the 2014 Florida gubernatorial election between candidates Charlie Crist (D) and Rick Scott (R) -both parties openly discuss education, unemployment, immigration and the ever-promising $1 billion in tax cuts.
One thing for sure is; no one is speaking about the 900 pound invisible gorilla in this campaign which is the billions of real estate dollars that continue to be locked up from the housing issues dealing with zombie foreclosures.
For the first time since the Governors race began – the South Florida housing issue is finally being addressed; unfortunately, not by either Crist or Scott.
And, last night twitter followers started to go crazy posting viral remarks and making almost famous the hashtag from Hell, #fangate. Some examples
Local South Florida Foreclosure Issues
Local real estate and foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim (well regarded for opinions that seem to be a favorite amongst South Florida homeowners’ afflicted and/or inflicted by the “Too Big To Fail, Too Big to Jail” banking quagmire) poignantly asks the Fl. Gov. gubernatorial candidates Crist and Scott to address the untapped housing issues mostly involving Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, Palm Beach and West Palm Beach areas that could infuse the South Florida economy with billions in economic fuel.
South Florida’s Economy
And, as billions of dollars in untapped Florida resources continue to remain locked-up, one thing is for certain – the 900lb invisible gorilla will flare its’ nostrils until either Crist or Scott soothes the giant.
What is causing this market to remain untapped in precious resources?
Besides #Fangate overshadowing Florida’s key issues, this was the weirdest start of a gubernatorial debate that took place as the 900 pound invisible gorilla in South Florida is seeking answers.
Homes unsuccessfully foreclosed upon by the banks are causing a huge drag on the Florida real estate market. Homeowners cannot resell, transfer title, refinance, or purchase new homes because they are literally trapped.
Oppenheim has concerns regarding the “unlocked real estate resources that can’t be tapped.”
And, with good reason.
2014 Gubernatorial Fla. Elections
In order to move the Florida economy forward the gubernatorial candidates must address the housing issues still looming since the crisis.
Numerous businesses’ in Florida would receive a true boost, as would employment and the entire Florida economy, by a proper addressing of Florida’s housing issues. All areas of business statewide, specifically construction, banking, furniture, sales, insurance companies, real estate lawyers, title companies and surveyors – among others, are (and have been) eagerly awaiting for a candidate to emerge with a plan to triumph over the lingering effects of the crisis and drive Florida forward in 2015.
From The Trenches
founder and editor of the South Florida Law Blog
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 Laws digital media social networks; they’d love to hear from you. –
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This post by Roy Oppenheim was originally published in Yahoo! Homes and is being redistributed on South Florida Law Blog with their permission.
Our client, who had a $2.5 million mortgage, stopped making payments after the bank forced placed insurance on the home, even though he already had insurance. Forced placed insurance is a policy that, as the name implies, is placed on a home when the homeowner’s own policy either has lapsed or the bank decided it’s not sufficient.
Just before our client was about to get a “directed” — or favorable — verdict from the judge, the bank fell on its sword and dismissed the suit, recognizing it was about to lose the case because it was unable to prove that it had the proper documentation needed to legally foreclose on the home.
But this win could be short-lived since our client can still fall victim to what is quickly becoming known as a “zombie foreclosure.” As the name suggests, these zombie foreclosures are even more of a nightmare than your basic, everyday foreclosure.
Thousands of homeowners have and continue to become victims of zombie foreclosures — liable for homes they didn’t even know they owned after lenders decided not to pursue a foreclosure after all.
As I have written about previously, banks have been walking away from foreclosures with impunity because it simply isn’t worth their time or money to pursue them. Because there are no regulations in place that say the lenders must tell the homeowner that they have changed their mind about the foreclosure, borrowers are still on the hook — not only for the mortgage on a home they may, or may not, live in, but also any property taxes, homeowner association fees, etc.
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It’s a case of Dawn of the Dead called zombie foreclosures. In addition to the wave of Florida foreclosure cases expected once the banks get their paperwork in order and begin to foreclose on new homes again, a different wave of foreclosure cases is also ready to crest. The second wave is the zombie foreclosure wave.
The zombie cases are the ones that were dismissed without prejudice, meaning that they can be re-filed; because lawyers for the banks didn’t show up to hearings or the cases were dismissed due to legal and technical irregularities. Typically, such cases were handled by large foreclosure mills that had sloppy practices.
Now banks are getting a second shot at the cases, which will further clog the court system with even more cases. However, the backlog in the courts and the long periods of inactivity in the zombie cases does buy homeowners more time.
The future surge of cases also creates the danger that the “cookie-cutter” approach lambasted by Judge Jennifer Bailey, the head of the Miami-Dade civil court division, will once again be used by lawyers overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases to deal with. The problem is that the cookie-cutter approach was what allowed the banks and mortgage servicers to fraudulently foreclose on homeowners in the first place.
There is the potential, with the anticipated surge in foreclosure cases, for further fraud and abuse.
The irony is it could be happening with the exact same foreclosure cases that the document mills mishandled in the first place!