A recent CNNMoney article suggests that homeowners who are willing to fight back against banks in a Miami foreclosure may be able to stay in their houses rent-free for as long as several years.
Our Miami foreclosure defense lawyers have helped many homeowners by pointing out problems with bank documents, proving the robo-signing practices that have infiltrated our real estate market and the issues that have caused many people to choose a strategic default over putting their retirement savings into an underwater mortgage.
Banks have certainly shown their inability to correctly process the millions of foreclosures that have flooded the market. In their infinite wisdom, bank officials have decided that instead of legally and morally filing foreclosure paperwork, they will create inaccurate documents in support of foreclosures.
Skilled and experienced Miami foreclosure lawyers have been able to point out these mistakes and also show that bank officials are unable to prove who actually owns the loan. That has been a recurring problem for banks.
Because of their reliance on MERS, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, a network of real estate purchases and sales created by and monitored by banks, home sales haven’t been well kept track of. This registry often clashes with official records kept in cities and counties where the sales take place, so when it comes time for a bank to foreclose, the information may be mixed or even unavailable.
Also adding to the problem is that banks made money off of mortgage loans by selling them as bundles to investors. Called securitized mortgages, investment groups may actually own the loan, but the bank that originally signed the loan paperwork may attempt to bring the foreclosure.
These problems have led to free rent for some homeowners. CNNMoney reports that the average time it can take for a foreclosure to be fully processed — starting with the first missed payment to the final home auction — is now 674 days. That is up from the 253-day average from about four years ago.
In Florida, however, the court system is so slammed with cases that the average time it takes to process a foreclosure is 1,027 days, which is more than three years. Only Washington D.C. tops Florida at 1,053 days. In New York, the average stay is 906 days. Nearly 40 percent of homeowners whose houses are in default haven’t paid their banks in at least two years.
While the article reports that there is rarely a dispute about whether payments have been made, homeowners are able to stay in their houses because of bank errors. Robo-signing is a big reason. When foreclosure defense lawyers discovered these problems, they were able to show that bank employees signed paperwork despite having no knowledge as to the accuracy of the documents.
In some cases, attorneys are able to show judges that employee signatures are different on multiple papers, that notarized documents are executed on dates that aren’t possible and that the paperwork signed as accurate is incorrect.
Often, lost or misplaced paperwork can lead to a botched foreclosure by the bank as well. Since many of the documents that are filed are done so electronically, they can be misplaced easily. Unless the banks can find them, the foreclosure can be tossed out of court.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas, contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991.
More Blog Entries:
Why Did Government Aid Programs Miss the Mark on Miami Foreclosures?: December 23, 2011
More Than 45 Percent of Florida Loans Underwater, Causing Massive Foreclosures in Miami: December 20, 2011
Foreclosure free ride: 3 years, no payments, by Les Christie, CNNMoney