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  • Sunday, April 06, 2008


    Fort Lauderdale Law Firms Cashing In On Foreclosures in Hillsborough County

    On April 1, 2008, the Tampa (Florida) Tribune published an article concerning the filing of mortgage foreclosure lawsuits in Hillsborough County, Florida during February 2008.

    First, they found that foreclosure filings in Hillsborough County had more than doubled from the previous year. According to clerk records, there were 1,475 new mortgage foreclosure suits in Hillsborough County in February compared with 562 cases in February 2007 and 271 cases in February 2006.

    Second, they determined which law firms were responsible for the most foreclosure filings in Hillsborough County during February 2008. Not surprisingly, a Tampa-based firm had filed the most. That firm was followed, however, by a number of "foreclosure mill" law firms based in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area. The list follows:

    1. Florida Default Law Group — Tampa.......415
    2. David J. Stern — Plantation....................263
    3. Marshall C. Watson — Fort Lauderdale.....182
    4. Shapiro & Fishman — Tampa..................133
    5. Smith, Hiatt & Diaz — Fort Lauderdale......75
    6. Albertelli Law — Tampa...........................61
    7. Daniel C. Consuegra — Tampa................47
    8. Adorno & Yoss — Miami...........................41
    9. Ben-Ezra & Katz — Fort Lauderdale..........33
    10. Spear and Hoffman — Miami..................33

    These numbers will surely rise...since most people do not realize that they can stop foreclosure even if they stopped paying their mortgage. Many recent cases have been filed improperly and an experienced attorney can assist with the identification and filing of substantive and procedural defenses with the court and vigorously defend your case. Due to the lender's actions, omissions or other facts surrounding your case, you may be able to stop making mortgage payments and stay in your home while your attorney vigorously defends your property. This does not necessarily mean that you will not have to pay the loan back or completely Stop Foreclosure. It is possible to completely Stop Foreclosure if the bank or lender is in violation of the Florida Unfair Lending Act or other predatory lending practices. If the lender has committed such a violation, the entire principal and interest balance may be waived and the mortgage may be voided. This may not be relevant in your case. But, at the very least, a successful defense can do is buy you precious time to:

    * Stay in your home
    * Negotiate a work-out with the bank
    * Sell your home for a fair price
    * Refinance your home at a fair rate
    * Continue to collect rent on the property
    * Apply for a Court Ordered repayment plan
    * File a Chapter 13 or 7 Bankruptcy

    When home owners are faced with the reality of facing a potential foreclosure, many experience a state of paralysis. They don't know what to do. Selling the home may not be an option since the equity appears to have vanished. To fight foreclosure or not? That is the question. Clouding the answer is perhaps the biggest misconception, "Hiring an attorney is not a cost-effective option." If I can't afford to pay my mortgage, then how in the world can I afford to hire a competent attorney? And why should I, if I am upside down in my home? First of all, EVERYONE can and should hire an attorney to represent them in their foreclosure case. There are many competent attorneys who specialize in this area. Due to the growing number of these cases, many attorneys have become "experts" in this area. Due to the fact that most of these cases are very similar, many excellent attorneys have experienced staff and can offer extremely affordable payment arrangements. Most people don't know that once the foreclosure proceeding has started, the bank will not accept any future mortgage payments - doing so may adversely affect their ability to foreclose on your property. Furthermore, the bank pays any delinquent real estate taxes and the insurance on the property. In summation, once the bank files a foreclosure lawsuit, most of the homeowner's expenses are being paid by the bank (mortgage, taxes and insurance). However, as the legal owner of the house with full possession, you have all the rights associated with same including residing in your home, collecting rents on the property, etc. Imagine the "EQUITY" you can save / build, if you fight the foreclosure case for a year or more. The cost of qualified legal representation is a drop in the bucket compared to your typical home ownership overhead. Time is money and the real estate and financial markets are likely to turn around. The hiring of the right attorney will save you thousands of actual dollars, in addition to thousands in time value of money. Its really a no-brainer.

    Frederick A Neustein
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