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Florida Foreclosures: What to Do When the Bank Comes for Your Home

Your home is almost certainly the most important place in your life. And if you’re like just about everybody in the state of Florida, you bought your home using mortgage financing. That means, in effect, that until you pay the mortgage off, there’s always the threat that an economic downturn for you or your family — such as large medical expenses or the loss of a job — will result in the bank coming to take your home. As you’re probably aware, Florida is one of the states in the union that has been hit the hardest by the mortgage and foreclosure crisis. All across the state, major national banks — like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, CitiBank, and Bank of America — are bringing foreclosure actions in the Florida courts, seeking to take possession of homes that belong to families who’ve defaulted on their mortgages. The business litigation division at Gary Roberts & Associates is available to defend mortgage and foreclosure actions. If you’re facing foreclosure, you have rights under the law — rights that the bank has to recognize.

A Recent Case

The 2013 case of Green v. JPMorgan Chase provides a great example. Mr. Green allegedly defaulted on a mortgage loan owned by JPMorgan Chase. The bank brought a foreclosure action seeking to reclaim and then sell the house to cover the outstanding debt. Mr. Green, however, had several counterclaims and defenses. For example, he claimed that when his mortgage loan was transferred from the original servicer, Washington Mutual (WaMu), to Chase (which bought WaMu), he hadn’t received the legally required notice of a change in service within 30 days. He had, consequently, been denied a fair opportunity to make mortgage payments. (This notice is required by a federal law called the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).) In addition, he claimed that the bank had failed to establish, by credible evidence, that it actually held the rights to his mortgage before it filed suit to repossess his home. He pointed out that the agreement transferring his specific mortgage from WaMu to Chase was signed, but not dated. Therefore, the bank had not proved when it acquired the rights to his mortgage loan.

The Florida Court of Appeals agreed with both of Mr. Green’s arguments, finding that it was inappropriate for the trial court to have granted summary judgment in favor of the bank. Instead, the Court held, Mr. Green deserved an opportunity to develop his evidence of the RESPA violation. Moreover, the Court found that it was not adequate for Chase simply to say that it had bought all the assets of WaMu. It had to specifically show that it had acquired ownership over Mr. Green’s mortgage before bringing suit to foreclose on the loan.

Cases like Mr. Green’s are all too common throughout Florida. If you’re facing foreclosure or know you’re in danger of defaulting on your mortgage loan, call the business litigation attorneys at Gary Roberts & Associates to get the representation you deserve.

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