Gallagher & Associates Law Firm, P.A.5720 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33707

Phone: 727-344-5297                    Follow us on TwitterView our profile on LinkedInFind us on FacebookVisit our blogView our videos on YouTubeView our photos on flickr         Not Just Good Lawyers, Good Counsel.

5720 Central Avenue
St.Petersburg, FL 33707
 
727-344-LAWS (5297)      Fax: 727-344-6653
866-909-LAWS    

Service Areas:

   Tampa Bay Area, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Gulfport, Largo, St. Pete Beach,  Spring Hill, Clearwater, New Port Richey, Bartow, Brooksville, Orlando, Ft. Myers, Naples, Sarasota, Bradenton

 

Citrus County, Collier County, Hernando County, Hillsborough County, Lee County, Manatee County,  Orange County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Sarasota County, Brevard County, Lake County, Seminole County.

 

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Bankruptcy Attorney Tampa

Foreclosure Defense and Bankruptcy


 

Foreclosure Bankruptcy Attorneys

Serving Tampa, St. Petersburg, And Surrounding Areas. 

 

In this current economic climate, where lenders loaned money without properly underwriting the loan, foreclosures have become the norm.  Responsible borrowers are at the risk of having their homes foreclosed due to the market forces.  Lenders have an army of attorneys ready willing and able to file foreclosure suits across the state.   If you are having problems making payments or in default, you need professional assistance in dealing with your lender.  Lenders are not looking out for you.  Lenders are only concerned about their bottom line.  You need an aggressive advocate that will take on the lenders defend your case.  Our goal is to take the lenders to task on their violations and ensure that the courts are well aware of the your situation.  In addition to defending homeowners in foreclosure lawsuits, we also sue lenders for violations of lending laws and regulations on the underwriting of the loan.  Please contact us for a free consultation to see if we can assist you in your foreclosure case.

 Foreclosure Defense

  • Defense of Foreclosure Litigation
  • Short Sales
  • Modifications
  • Predatory Lending Litigation
  • Deeds In Lieu of Foreclosure
  • Loan Workouts
  • Loan Reinstatement
  • Redemption
  • Residential
  • Commercial

 Credit Card/Loan Defense 

  • Credit Cards
  • Student Loans
  • Car Loans
  • Unsecured Loan
  • Secured Loans
  • Personal Loans
  • Lines of Credit
  • Home Equity Loans

 

   

FORECLOSURE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

•  •  •  •

 

Q.        What is deficiency judgment?  I hear about this in the news.  Should I be concerned?

 

A.         Yes.  While the idea of losing your home is bad enough, you are at the risk of losing your home and having the Court enter a judgment against you that is good for 20 years.  A deficiency judgment is a money judgment against you personally for any difference between the final judgment of foreclosure amount and what the house sells for at the foreclosure sale on the courthouse steps.  While lenders have a credit for the entire judgment amount, they only bid a nominal amount ($100) to avoid the cost of documentary stamps. That means that you would have a money judgment against you for all but $100 of the amount you owe.

 

•  •  •  •

 

Q.        I was just served with a summons and lawsuit from the bank, what do I do?

 

A.         Whatever you do, don’t ignore it and expect that it will go away.  Your best course is to retain a foreclosure attorney to defend your interests.  You have 20 days to respond to the Court and Plaintiff/Lender.  If you don’t, the Court will enter a default against you which results in having all of your rights and defenses waived and you essentially excluded from the case.  The lender will then swiftlyBeg~Place~Holder~~~proceed to take your home without any resistance.

 

•  •  •  •

 

Q.        With all the government programs, such as HAMP and Making Home Affordable Programs, relief if on the way and my lender will help me out, right?

 

A.        Wrong.  Lenders have a horrible track record in timely processing these applications for assistance and an even worse record of assisting homeowners.  Statistics show that lenders are not taking advantage of these programs.  By no means are these programs a practical solution.

 

•  •  •  •

Q: Should I open and respond to all mail from my lender or lender's attorney?

A: The first notices you receive will advise you of a default under your mortgage and the acceleration of your mortgage. Later mail may include important notice of pending legal action and important dates. Your failure to open the mail will not be an excuse in foreclosure court, and ignoring these notices will only make the situation worse. Before responding, contact us immediately for a free consultation. Your lender will have an attorney working for them, so should you.

•  •  •  •

Q: I have just been served with a summons and foreclosure complaint. What do I do?

A: YOU MUST RESPOND IN WRITING AND/OR SERVE AND FILE A RESPONSE WITHIN 20 DAYS OF BEING SERVED WITH THE COMPLAINT. IF YOU DO NOT ANSWER, YOU WILL BE IN DEFAUL OF THE COURT.  THIS RESULTS IN A LOSS OF YOUR DEFENSES AND RIGHTS.  Any delay may make the situation you are in worse, and if a borrower or homeowner fails to do anything at all, the situation may become the worst case scenario possible. Contact us immediately for a free consultation.

Florida's mortgage foreclosure process will absolutely have serious, long lasting ramifications that you may have to deal with in the future, so it absolutely in your best interest to participate now while it is occurring. Your decision to participate now may preserve, protect and safeguard valuable legal rights affecting your future income, credit worthiness and income tax consequences. Contact us immediately for a free consultation.

•  •  •  •

Q: If I do nothing, what will happen?

A: A default and default judgment will be entered, and the clerk of the court will auction your property, usually within 25 to 30 days from entry of a final judgment and you could be subject to a money judgment which is good for twenty years.

•  •  •  •

Q: Will the foreclosure process affect my credit score?

A: A foreclosure will have an adverse effect on your credit report.  It is hard to say exactly how many points your credit score will drop due to a foreclosure. There are numerous factors that affect your credit score. It does appear though, that loss mitigation options that do not result in the completion of the foreclosure are better for your credit score depending on which credit bureau you are looking at.

The impact on credit scores diminishes over time though. Loss mitigation efforts and foreclosure are definitely better than a bankruptcy, as the filing of a bankruptcy is viewed by the credit reporting industry as an attack against all trade lines across the board, whereas a mortgage foreclosure is only an attack against a single trade line, your mortgage lender.  Some foreclosure settlements can include credit restoration or the deletion of adverse credit information.

•  •  •  •

Q: After the property is auctioned by the court clerk, do I have to get out?

A: Yes. The sheriff's office will physically evict you and remove you and your personal effects from the property, usually in as little as 10-15 days.

•  •  •  •

Q: What can an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer do?

A: File a response (motion to dismiss, motion to strike, answer and affirmative defenses).  File a counterclaim against the lender for predatory lending, mortgage fraud, and mortgage underwriting violations.  In the answer, is a denial of the lender's complaint all I need to do? Usually not. You must state all affirmative defenses, otherwise they may be waived or may be may not be sufficient to stop the foreclosure process.

•  •  •  •

Q: What are affirmative defenses?

A: They are special defenses which must be specifically alleged, such as truth-in-lending violations, usury, fraud and other specific types of improper conduct by the lender, which may defeat or partially defeat the lender's claims.

•  •  •  •

Q: Why are affirmative defenses different than just an answer with denials?

A: The lender has a sufficiently more difficult burden to obtain a "fast" or summary judgment of foreclosure when affirmative defenses are filed.

•  •  •  •

Q: Can an attorney just delay the case without justification?

A:  Having an attorney will generally delay the process as opposed to not having an attorney.  While an attorney cannot cause delay solely for that purpose and attorney can use all of the discovery methods provided under law to fully investigate the facts of your case and make the lender prove their case fully.  The full exercise of your legal rights will result in delay as a by-product of a proper defense, often caused by the plaintiff not properly and promptly responding to your attorney's rightful demands.

•  •  •  •

Q: If I get a lawyer, does he automatically get more time to file an answer?

A: No, the 20 days continues to run. If a default is taken against you, it will pose, at a minimum, difficulties in getting the default set aside and allowing your attorney to use the defensive arsenal otherwise available on your behalf.

•  •  •  •

Q: If my property is sold by the court clerk, what price will it bring?

A: Usually much lower than fair market value. Most of the time it is sold for the total amount of the mortgage, or less.  And the foreclosure sale does not discharge your obligation under the note.  So you could loose your house and have a money judgment against you for up to twenty years.

•  •  •  •

Q: If the property is sold for less than the total owed, can the lender collect the difference?

A: Yes, this is where the Lender obtains a deficiency judgment.

•  •  •  •

Q: I have lots of other questions, can I call the judge or the court for advice?

A: No. Judges, judicial assistants (judge's assistant), court clerks and sheriff's department employees cannot practice law or give you legal advice. They can only point out the existence of certain procedures, but cannot tell you how to follow them or how effective they will be.

•  •  •  •

Q: Do I have the right to reinstate? (bring the mortgage current)

A: Not always, unless your mortgage or mortgage note specifically gives you this right. However, many mortgage lenders often voluntarily consent to reinstatement.