Our Miami foreclosure defense lawyers continue to share the Florida Attorney General's Report "Unfair, Deceptive and Unconscionable Acts in Foreclosure Cases" with struggling South Florida homeowners.
The tide is turning rapidly in favor of the homeowner. This is the year -- 2011 -- to assert your rights. To fight back. Whether you want to prevent foreclosure in Miami, void a deficiency judgment, seek a cash settlement for damages, or even seek the return of your property, the banks are on the run and may be more willing to deal in your case than ever before.
Lawyers for banks continue to withdraw paperwork in foreclosure cases and some areas are even calling periodic halts to the foreclosure process. At issue is whether banks seeking to foreclose even have rights to the property. The shift to electronic mortgage tracking over the past 20 years was done to allow banks to make even more money packaging and selling mortgages as investments. As a consequence, the old paper mortgages were tossed aside, lost or destroyed.
And in many cases there is serious question as to whether a bank even owns the right to a mortgage. As a result, banks and their attorneys have employed so-called robosigners to sign affidavits swearing that is the case. They also have generated new paperwork and lost-note claims, and engaged in other questionable tactics that are now being reviewed by judges and the offices of attorney generals across the nation.
The mortgage-backed trusts that were created each contained 5,000 mortgage notes with a face value of $1.5 billion. These were sold as Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) and could be sold to investors in bite-sized pieces. Rules for operation of the trusts were outlined in "Pooling and Servicing Agreements."
Meanwhile, trust bundles traveled from the lender to the depositor to the securities company to the trustee. Sometimes, the original note was lost in the process. Sometimes the parties were lax about the procedures -- which was often the case in Florida, according to the Attorney General's report.
In short, some of the largest banks in the country, simply lost ownership paperwork. The key to tracking ownership are the "assignments," which track ownership of the mortgage from one bank to another. Only the holder of the note and mortgage can initiate foreclosure.
The robosigning scandal involves people who were signing thousands of assignments without adequate knowledge of mortgage ownership -- banks, in other words, are accused of simply making it up as they went along.
And tens of thousands of such assignments were signed weekly. Other fraudulent practices of which the banks are accused include the creation or use of fake witnesses, fake notaries, fake documents and false affidavits.
What has become abundantly clear is that you cannot rely upon the banks to deal with you in good faith. If you are struggling with a foreclosure, deficiency judgment or other foreclosure-related issues in South Florida, contact a Miami real estate attorney today to discuss your rights.