The DeWitt Law Firm has extensive experience with foreclosures and foreclosure defense. We represent borrowers throughout the foreclosure process and handle both commercial and residential foreclosures. As a successful Orlando foreclosure attorney, Sherri DeWitt has argued constitutional issues regarding foreclosures and has written articles addressing these issues.
If you are a borrower and have been served with a foreclosure lawsuit, it is especially important to see an attorney immediately to assist in defending your foreclosure action. You only have 20 days from being served with the lawsuit to file a response or a default may be entered against you. If a default has already been entered, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine if it is possible to have the default set aside.
The attorneys at the DeWitt Law Firm will review every aspect of your case with you. We will review the mortgage documents, the note, and the bank disclosures. We also can arrange for a third party to conduct an audit of the lender’s accounting policies and procedures to determine any irregularities that might give you a defense to the lawsuit. As part of our commitment to personalized legal representation for our clients, we evaluate each client’s individual circumstances to determine an effective plan of action. Fighting a foreclosure often can result in additional time to arrange for a sale, refinance or workout arrangement or in a mediated resolution that is more beneficial to a property owner than a final judgment of foreclosure.
In addition to filing the paperwork to defend the foreclosure action, your attorney may be able to negotiate a loan modification with your Lender. If you own commercial property, then you may also need advice regarding the collection of rents on leases and payment of operating expenses.
Lenders often continue to negotiate with borrowers during foreclosure proceedings. Negotiations do no protect property owners from the consequences of the ongoing foreclosure lawsuit. You must continue to defend against the foreclosure action, while negotiations are pending. Do not fall into the trap of believing that the lawsuit will stop while you negotiate.
While we recommend that you contact us as early as possible once you realize you are facing foreclosure, we still may be able to help you even if you are only a few days away from the sale date.
Florida is a judicial foreclosure state, which means that all foreclosures must be processed through the court system.
Notice of Default – This is a written notice from the lender to the mortgage holder. It must contain specific information in order for the lender to proceed with the foreclosure lawsuit. If the lender fails to include the required default language, the foreclosure lawsuit, once it is filed, may be dismissed. If a borrower receives a Notice of Default and does not cure the default; the lender may file a lawsuit to foreclose on the mortgage.
Foreclosure Complaint – Once a borrower receives a Complaint, they only have 20 days to respond or a default may be entered against him or her. The Foreclosure Complaint must plead standing, jurisdiction, that the proper notice requirement have been met, and the amount owed. Additionally, the Foreclosure complaint must include a verification clause that is signed by an individual who has actual knowledge regarding your loan.
If you have received a foreclosure Complaint, it is imperative that you respond within 20 days. Failure to do so may result in a default judgment and the bank may be allowed to foreclose on the property.
The timeframe for a foreclosure action varies dramatically and is difficult to estimate.
You are not required to hire an attorney to defend a foreclosure action. However, it is advised that once you are served with a foreclosure complaint, you have an experienced foreclosure attorney review your paperwork within 20 days. An attorney’s role in the foreclosure process is a vital one. They will appear on your behalf and defend you throughout the Court proceedings. Additionally, an attorney may be able to work with your lender to determine if there are other options besides foreclosure.
From an experienced foreclosure attorney, you can expect:
Many clients come to our office days before their property is to be sold. This not only makes our job as your attorney more difficult, but it limits the defenses available to you. If the Court has already entered a default judgment against the borrower, we must show both a meritorious defense and excusable neglect to have the default set aside. Although this is possible in many instances, it is always better to consult an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. The longer you wait to get an experienced foreclosure attorney on your side, the fewer opportunities your attorney has to help you.