Tampa Foreclosure is still a very common occurrence. In 2014 there were 1,954 foreclosures in Hillsborough County/Tampa Bay area. While the housing market has stabilized in recent years we still have many client’s who are suffering from decreased income coupled with increased homeowner’s insurance and property taxes making their current mortgage payment unaffordable.
Lenders will begin foreclosure when the loan is in default and will send an acceleration letter to the borrower asking for the full amount of money owed including late fees due to the default. If you cannot pay the mortgage company then they will initiate foreclosure. At that point the lender will hire an attorney to file a Lis Pendens and Complaint which starts the foreclosure process. If you are a Tampa resident that has been served with a foreclosure complaint it is important that you respond within 20 days. If you do not respond within that time frame you will waive any defenses to your case and the case will move faster on the foreclosure docket towards a sale date.
By hiring a Tampa foreclosure defense attorney we will assert defenses on your behalf and handle the legal aspects of your cases. Many times we are able to negotiate a deed in lieu of foreclosure with the lender and have a deficiency waived so you will not be financially responsible for the full balance of the loan. Our goal is to protect your rights and keep you in your home as long as possible.
Foreclosure Frequently Asked Questions:
How long does the foreclosure process take?
This varies. If you do not defend the foreclosure case, the process often takes between 3-6 months. If represented by an attorney, the time period is anywhere from 6 to 12 months, in some rare instances it can be several years before the lender fully forecloses. However, we may seek an alternative that is favorable to you with the lender as well.
How long does the lender have to file a deficiency judgment?
One year from the date a certificate of sale is issued if the foreclosure action was commenced after July 1, 2013. For cases prior to this date, the statue of limitations is five years from the sale date to pursue a deficiency.
Will a loan modification stop a foreclosure?
No. There may be an offer (trial modification) for the case to be considered in inactive status (requested by Motion to the court). People often assume if they have a loan modification application pending, get an application in the mail by a governmental entity, or are in communications with the bank they will not foreclose. This is absolutely false. Until there is a formal agreement that is reached and filed with the court – the bank even if they are speaking with you regularly, the lender will proceed with the foreclosure case and sell your home.
Can I short sale my property during the foreclosure process?
Yes, until the sale date. It is preferred to start this process sooner than later. The success of doing short sale largely depends on the lender and your financial circumstances.
What happens when the bank puts my house up for sale/auction? How long will be allowed to stay in my home?
The lender will receive a Certificate of Title and will also need to acquire a Writ of Possession which will require you to leave the home. This process may only take a few days from the time title to the property is acquired but could be several weeks to months in some instances. Even under these circumstances, there are still options.
What options do I have to keep my home:
- Bankruptcy: Will immediately stop the sale date and could allow you to get caught up on the mortgage payments.
- Loan Modification: We work with lenders even in the foreclosure process to try and obtain a loan modification for clients who qualify and want to keep their home. If a foreclosure is pending this will not suspend the foreclosure process but may be attempted until the sale date of the property.
- Deed-in- Lieu of Foreclosure: The lender may consider allowing the voluntary surrender of the property by the borrower and in return may allow the borrower a full deficiency in exchange. This allows the lender to avoid continuance of the foreclosure and allows them to secure ownership of the property faster.
- Relocation Assistance: This alternative is offered by lenders on a case-by-case basis for an offer a monetary incentive for the borrower to move.
- Repayment Plan – In this scenario the lender may grant the borrower(s) time to catch up on past due payments using a repayment plan. The lender may require updated financial information. This is an ideal option if you are facing a short-term financial hardship and you are behind in payments.
- Short Sale – We often negotiate with lenders in this process and seek approval of a short sale with a deficiency waiver. This alternative may help in avoiding foreclosure and is best for individuals who cannot afford to keep their home but want an exit strategy with the least financial risk.
We are here to help you so if you are faced with a foreclosure lawsuit that has been served on you please call us immediately at 813-463-8000.
Contact Tampa Foreclosure Lawyer Gina Rosato today at Gina Rosato Law Firm, P.A. We want to be your Foreclosure Defense Attorney!