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REAL ESTATE LAW

FORECLOSURE

Florida leads the nation in foreclosures. With so many new cases being filed each day, it’s critical to hire an experienced Florida foreclosure attorney to represent and guide you through each step of the process. torres|benet, p.a. is committed to helping homeowners who are facing foreclosure by providing expert advice and options. By providing foreclosure defense and forcing the bank to prove its foreclosure case, we can give you additional time to assess alternatives such as short sales, loan modifications, and a deed in lieu. No matter where you are in the foreclosure process, we can help!

MORTGAGE LOAN MODIFICATIONS

A loan modification is a permanent change of a lender’s loan terms that is utilized to help the delinquent borrower become current, lower the mortgage payment or reduce the principle due and owing on the note. Normally,  for foreclosure, loan modifications provide the lender and borrower with a less expensive alternative. Loan modifications are nevertheless  are a preferred alternative to a foreclosure because of the reduced cost to both the lender and borrower. While a loan modification may sound easy, it can be a lengthy process that may involve increasing interest rates or lengthening the loan altogether. 

FORECLOSURE AVOIDANCE

SHORT SALE
Even if you don’t currently have any equity, you still can possibly sell your home through a process called a short sale. It’s a transaction that allows you to sell your home for a price less than what you currently owe on your mortgage, but only if your lender agrees to accept it. This process can be extremely time consuming and usually requires lengthy negotiation with the lender by a skilled short sale attorney. torres|benet, p.a. works with lenders daily to negotiate short sales on behalf of his clients. He and his team can convince lenders that there’s more benefit in taking less than what is owed now, rather than foreclosing and trying to sell later.

What If The Property Sells For Less Than You Owe? Sometimes the mortgage company will write off the difference between what you owe and the sale price is at closing. Sometimes they won’t. Also, depending on your purchase agreement, either the buyer or the mortgage company will have to pay the realtor fees and closing cost. The entire process can be extremely time consuming and usually requires lengthy negotiation with the lender by a skilled attorney. Not to mention there are many pitfalls to this type of transaction, and it is critical that things be done correctly the first time, otherwise your bank may decline the transaction, or void other solutions. 

BANKRUPTCY

If There’s No Other Solution, another option is to file for bankruptcy. This allows you to restructure your debt and protect you from losing your home. By decreasing the total amount you owe to creditors or extending the time of your other loans, bankruptcy may free up additional cash flow and allow you to continue making your mortgage payments. torres|benet, p.a. understands that many bankruptcies occur due to separation, business failure, health problems or mortgage-related distress. While bankruptcy seems like an extreme option for avoiding foreclosure, it’s one that can be utilized when debt has accrued. However, this decision should not be taken lightly and seeking expert counsel is always a good idea. 

DEED IN LIEU 

When facing foreclosure, did you know: there’s an option allowing you to voluntarily transfer the property to the lender in exchange for a release of the mortgage? When short sale isn’t a viable option, deed in lieu might be the answer. By helping you resolve your delinquency and avoid foreclosure, this process often finds the lender agreeing to forgive the deficiency that remains after the property is sold—the amount of the loan that is not met by sale proceeds. If you’re facing foreclosure, an experienced and aggressive Florida deed in lieu attorney can help you understand the ins and outs of the deed in lieu process; torres|benet, p.a. works with you to meet your needs and obtain the results you deserve. In most cases, the lender will also agree to forgive the deficiency (the amount of the loan that is not covered by the sale proceeds) that remains after the house is sold. If you’re a Florida homeowner facing foreclosure, the deed in lieu process may be an option to consider!

QUITCLAIM DEED 

A quitclaim deed is a legal instrument which is used to transfer interest in real property from one party known as a Grantor to another party known as Grantee. It is often mistakenly referred to as a quick claim deed. A quitclaim deed relieves the Grantor of any liability regarding the ownership of the property. Subsequently, the Grantor of a quitclaim deed is not liable to Grantee, if another party’s claim to the property is later discovered. A quitclaim deed does not guarantee that the Grantor has clear title to the property. It’s simply a relinquishment of any rights a Grantor may have in a property.

LANDLORD TENANT LAW

In Florida, landlords are prohibited from certain actions.  Florida law does not allow a landlord to force a tenant out through particular actions, such as: shutting off the utilities or interrupting service of water, heat, light, electricity, gas, elevator, garbage collection, or refrigeration (even if that service is under the control of the landlord or the landlord makes payment); changing the locks or using a device that denies the tenant access; removing the outside doors, locks, roof, walls or windows (except for purposes of maintenance, repair or replacement); and removing the tenant’s personal property from the rented residence.

Tenants are likewise prohibited from certain actions. A tenant may not just withhold rent or terminate the lease because the tenant has a dispute with the landlord; the tenant must first give the landlord an opportunity to remedy the situation. Florida law dictates the manner and procedure the tenant should follow before withholding rent or terminating a lease. Otherwise, if the tenant simply withholds rent or abandons the rented residence, the landlord can file an eviction against the tenant or initiate legal proceedings against the tenant for monetary damages.

Typical Landlord responsibilities: 

  • Comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing and health codes;
  • Maintain the roof, exterior walls, foundations and all other structural components in good repair;
  • Keep the plumbing in reasonably good working condition.
  • The landlord’s obligations may be altered or modified in writing with respect to a single family dwelling or duplex.

Typical Tenant responsibilities:

  • Comply with all building, housing and health codes.
  • Keep the dwelling clean and sanitary.
  • Remove garbage from the dwelling in a clean and sanitary manner.
  • Keep plumbing fixtures clean, sanitary and in repair.
  • Not destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or property belonging to the landlord.
  • Conduct selves/visitors in a manner that does not unreasonably disturb the tenant’s neighbors or constitute a breach of the peace.
  • Operate in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities.

SECURITY DEPOSITS
In disputes involving a security deposit, Florida law dictates the procedures and timelines regarding the return of a security deposit or a landlord’s intent to keep part or all of a security deposit. After the lease terminates and the tenant moves out, the landlord must return the deposit within 15 days if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim on the security deposit. If the landlord intends to impose a claim on the deposit, the landlord must state in writing by certified mail to the tenant’s last known mailing address within 30 days explaining why the landlord is keeping a portion of or all of the deposit. If the notice is not sent as required within the 30-day period, the landlord forfeits the right to impose a claim upon the deposit.

Unless the tenant objects to the landlord’s claim on the deposit within 15 days after receipt of the landlord’s notice of intention to impose a claim, the landlord may then deduct the amount of his or her claim and shall remit the balance of the deposit to the tenant within 30 days. If the tenant objects to the landlord’s claim, the tenant should first notify the landlord in writing by certified mail that the tenant objects to the landlord’s claim on the security deposit. The tenant may then file a complaint with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services or institute an action in a court to decide the landlord’s right to the security deposit.

EVICTIONS
When a landlord is attempting to evict a tenant, Florida law dictates specific steps and procedures, as well as exact timelines, which both the landlord and tenant must follow and abide. If the landlord fails to correctly follow the steps and procedures, the eviction may be dismissed by the court. Likewise, if the tenant does not properly follow the procedures and abide by the timelines, the court may find the tenant in default and grant the eviction. 

For all these reasons, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side who knows and understands the complexity of Florida Tenant/Landlord law to protect your rights!

The material on this page has been prepared and or compiled by torres|benet, p.a. for informational purposes only. RECEIPT OF THIS INFORMATION DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.