South Florida Residents Facing Second Foreclosure Nightmare
Hundreds of South Florida residents are facing new foreclosure nightmares as banks are now seeking to collect on unpaid mortgage debt from homes that were lost years ago. Since around June first of this year, over one hundred “deficiency judgments” were filed against Palm Beach County homeowners by a Texas debt collection company called Dyck O’Neal. The same company has filed similar claims against more than 200 people in Miami-Dade County and 300 residents in Broward County.
Florida Deficiency Judgments
Under the rules of deficiency judgments, companies that sell mortgage debt can go after the difference of what a home sold for in foreclosure and what is still owed by a homeowner. Many of the Palm Beach County homeowners served with judgments are facing claims of over $100,000 that can be collected by liens on current property or claiming the rights to investment properties. However, these companies cannot garnish the wages of a “head of household” in Florida.
Florida law was recently changed that set a one-year deadline to file to collect unpaid debt, when the original deadline was five years. Foreclosure experts believe that this is the main reason behind the rash of judgments being filed against homeowners. Another reason for the increased number of deficiency judgments is the economy. During the recession, lenders rarely used deficiency judgments because they were useless against homeowners with so few resources. Now that the economy is turning around, lenders are seeing more of an opportunity to collect.
Florida “Foreclosure Mills”
Another unfortunate aspect of the flood of deficiency judgments being filed against South Florida residents is the law firm “foreclosure mills” that are representing the debt collection companies. In order to serve the lawsuits against Florida homeowners, out of state debt collection companies like Dyck O’Neal use in-state law firms as their legal representation. Some of these firms earned the nickname “foreclosure mill” when it came to light that lenders were not properly documenting foreclosure paperwork and used robo-signers to attest to the veracity of documents that they had not read.
One of the firms serving deficiency judgments now was under investigation in 2011 for operating as a foreclosure mill and was being investigated under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act. If you or a loved one has been served by one of these foreclosure mill firms, you need an experienced foreclosure and deficiency judgment attorney to defend you against their claims.
A Boca Raton Attorney Can Help Defend Against Deficiency Judgments
Being served with a deficiency judgment years after foreclosure can be a nightmarish experience, and the process of dealing with these judgments can take a toll financially, as well as emotionally. You do not need to defend against a deficiency judgment alone, especially after you have just started to recover from the housing crisis and recession. If you or someone that you know has been served with a deficiency judgment for a foreclosure property in the Boca Raton, West Palm, or Lake Worth area, let the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. help. Call or contact our offices today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.