Real Estate Defense Law

Property Liens

Liens are claims against property placed by another person or entity in order to secure payment of a debt from monies or services owed. There are two types of liens that can be placed on your property; voluntary and involuntary liens. Voluntary liens are imposed by a contract between the creditor and the debtor. A classical example of a voluntary lien as opposed to an involuntary lien is when a lender records a mortgage on your property when you borrowed money to pay for the property. On the other hand, involuntary liens are imposed by law. An example of an involuntary lien is when a lien is placed on property for outstanding taxes and other unpaid debts.

Our firm is experienced in dealing with matters concerning:

  • Judgment Liens
  • Property Tax Liens
  • Second Mortgage Liens
  • HOA/COA Liens
  • IRS Liens
  • Construction (Mechanic’s) Liens

Deficiency Judgments

A deficiency judgment can occur regardless if you short sold your home, offered a deed in lieu of foreclosure or were foreclosed upon. What exactly is a deficiency judgment? To explain, let’s break up the two words. First, a deficiency exists when the value of your home does not cover the balance that is owed to the bank. Next, the bank, at their sole discretion, can file an action asking the court for a judgment against you for the difference between the home value and the balance owed on your loan plus interest and legal fees that have accrued since your alleged default. Thus, a deficiency judgment is a money judgment against a borrower whose real estate collateral did not create sufficient value to pay the underlying loan in full.

Our law firm is experienced at defending individuals facing deficiency judgment actions. Although deficiency judgment actions can be challenging to defend, there are many procedures that banks are required to follow in order to legally secure a valid deficiency judgment against an individual. There are also crucial timetables that banks must follow in order to obtain a valid deficiency judgment. As a form of defense, our firm will make sure that the banks follow the rules in their efforts to obtain deficiency judgments. We will protect and invoke your rights in an effort to stop banks from pursuing their deficiency judgment actions.

Statute of Limitations

In Florida there is currently a five year Statute of Limitations on foreclosure actions, but the issue is complex and under review by the Florida Supreme Court. The five year period begins from the time the bank accelerates the loan. There are two ways that acceleration of the loan typically occurs. Acceleration occurs either by an actual Notice of acceleration (not to be confused with a Letter of Intent to Accelerate), or on the date the foreclosure suit is filed. In most cases, the latter event will trigger the Statute of Limitations since banks typically don’t send a Notice of Acceleration. At this point it does not matter if the foreclosure suit takes two, five or seven years to resolve; the Statute of Limitation is not an issue. However, if for whatever reason the foreclosure action should be dismissed or should you be victorious in the foreclosure action and five years have passed from the time of the original foreclosure action was filed, the Statute of Limitations might be at issue and banks may have difficulty filing another foreclosure suit against you.

Today we are seeing numerous attempts by banks trying to re-foreclose. Many of these cases should not be allowed to proceed due to the Statute of Limitations. Don’t give the bank a second bite at the apple by letting them try to take your home away a second time. If you have any questions about the Statute of Limitations give us a call and we can assess your situation to determine what solutions are available to you.

Declaratory Judgments

Obtaining a declaratory judgment by a court is a valuable judicial tool that allows you to obtain clarity and resolve confusions about a legal question. You may want to know whether a party is in default under a land lease or contract, what is the boundary line on a particular parcel or whether a particular statute/ordinance applies to you. A declaratory judgment asks the court to answer these types of questions or interpretations of law. Such a role is different than the traditional function of the court which is usually utilized to find damages or to order a party to an action to do something. With declaratory judgments, the court is simply giving a legally binding answer to a question presented to the court.

Quiet Title Actions

An action to quiet title is a lawsuit brought to resolve disputes over property. The goal of a quiet title action is to “quiet” the claims of title to the property by others. Quiet title actions may also be necessary to obtain “marketable title” and thus be eligible to obtain title insurance. A Quiet title action is an effective tool to remove an invalid lien or other encumbrances placed on property such as a stale mortgage that is no longer valid due to the Statute of Limitations or other reasons. Our firm has handled numerous quiet title actions. We understand that for most people seeking a quiet title action, time is of the essence. We will work quickly and diligently on your case so that you can take sole title to your property and move forward with your endeavors.

If you have any questions on real estate defense law please click here to contact us and we will be glad to respond to your inquiry.