Real Estate Defense Law
A property lien is a legal claim against real estate granting the holder of the lien a specified amount of money upon the sale of the property. There are two types of liens that may exist against a property: voluntary and involuntary liens. Voluntary liens are imposed by a contract between the creditor and the debtor. A common example of a voluntary lien is when a borrower purchases a property with a loan from a bank and the bank records a mortgage on the property. On the other hand, an involuntary lien is imposed by law. An example of an involuntary lien is when a lien is placed on a 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
- Homeowner and Condominium Association Liens
- IRS Liens
- Construction (Mechanic’s) Liens
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. A deficiency exists when the value of your home does not cover the balance that is owed to the bank. When this happens, 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. The judgment would also include interest and legal fees that have accrued since your alleged default.
At Oppenheim Law, we are well equipped to defend you in an action seeking a deficiency judgment against you. 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 and rules 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 applicable rules. 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 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.
A declaratory judgment is a legal determination made by a Court that resolves any uncertainty regarding a dispute between parties. An individual or business entity may seek a declaratory judgment after a legal controversy occurs, but before any damages have occurred or any laws have been violated. After analyzing the controversy, the Court makes a determination as to the rights of each party. For example, a party may ask the Court to determine whether a party has defaulted under a land lease or whether a particular statute or ordinance applies to you or your land. The Court’s decision in a declaratory judgment is binding against all parties. It is best to explore the issues and facts in the early stages of litigation. At Oppenheim Law, we will conduct an in-depth analysis of the law, facts and your best defense.
Quiet Title Actions
An action to quiet title is lawsuit where the plaintiff to the lawsuit seeks to establish their title to the land and compel the adverse party to establish a claim or be forever stopped from asserting their claim. Actions to quiet title also operate as an avenue to obtain “marketable title,” as well as to remove invalid liens or other blemishes to the title of the property. On occasion, some parties make false claims of ownership against another person’s property. For example, a party may file an invalid lien against your property, to which you would have to defend your interests. When this happens, the affected party can file a suit for slander of title. Disputes regarding the title to your property are time sensitive, and require a diligent and effective defense. The attorneys at Oppenheim Law can assist you in protecting your property against adverse claims.