Foreclosure Defense, Foreclosures

Wave of Foreclosures and Evictions Expected as Federal Moratoriums Expire

The federal moratorium on foreclosures and evictions officially expired over the weekend, leaving the legal system braced for an impending wave of filings. To offset the wave of foreclosure and eviction filings which will no doubt be on the way, lawyers and courts are finding creative solutions to the problem.  

The eviction moratorium was put into place as a way to help tenants and homeowners who were left with no income due to the coronavirus causing widespread shutdowns across the country.

President Biden has pushed on Congress to approve a one-month extension for all residential evictions. However, at this time, no federal congressional action has been taken to extend the moratorium. 

Now that the moratorium has officially expired, the courts are waiting for an influx of filings, which will undoubtedly flood their dockets. The next few months will be a real test on the court system, especially once tenants are served with an official writ of possession, forcing them out of their homes.  

The Dade County Bar Association said they will support lawyers and judges as best they can during this time. One effort may come in the form of programming for the public, to help them navigate the legal system during the process. This help will be available to both tenants and homeowners, since the lifted moratorium was on evictions, as well as foreclosures. The bar association currently has two active committees working on the problem with one committee focusing on the county courts and another committee focusing on foreclosures. Given the fact that most of these individuals are already struggling financially, the need for pro bono or free legal assistance will also likely be needed.   

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between keeping your home or losing it in foreclosure. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure, please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com 

Source: Daily Business ReviewCourts ‘Going to Get Overwhelmed’: Creative Lawyering Emerges as End of Foreclosure Moratorium Looms

 

Consumer Bankruptcy

Fear Holds Many People Back from Ever Filing Bankruptcy

There are many people who can benefit from bankruptcy, but put off filing due to fear and the myths surrounding bankruptcy. Bankruptcy offers consumers a fresh financial start and relief from the burden of debt, but for many, it is the fear of the unknown that holds them back from ever taking the first step. Every year, only a small portion of consumers who could benefit from bankruptcy actually move forward with starting a case.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, approximately 14 percent (14%) of U.S. households or nearly 17 million consumers owe more than they own. While most of these individuals could benefit from bankruptcy, less than one percent (1%) of them file for bankruptcy annually. In 2020, there were only 752,160 personal bankruptcies filed. 

Bankruptcy experts refer to this gap in filings as “missing bankruptcies” or otherwise known as bankruptcy filings that should theoretically be happening, but are not. However, an even wider gap has been made in the past few months with bankruptcy filings dropping significantly in the second quarter of 2021. Figures are at about 60 percent (60%) of what they were for the previous five years.  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, courthouses were forced to close, making it hard for creditors to pursue legal collection actions against consumers, including foreclosures and wage garnishments. For the most part, foreclosures and wage garnishments are the biggest driving forces behind bankruptcy filings. Without these moving forward in the court system, bankruptcies have also been affected.  

This decrease in bankruptcy filings is only temporary, as courts begin to reopen and business getting back to normal. One fear many have is that people will wait too long to file, relying on the temporary benefits they have received during the pandemic to get by.

Many times, consumers delay filing due to the fear of losing everything they own, including cars, homes, or personal property. This fear is rooted in misconceptions regarding the protections that bankruptcy exemptions offer consumers.  In fact, the great majority of people who file for bankruptcy never have to give up any of their possessions. 

Other individuals hold off on filing for bankruptcy for fear of what the filing will do to his or her credit. While, yes, a bankruptcy filing leads to a drop in the person’s credit score, this credit can be rebuilt as soon as the filing is complete.  It is possible to be approved for financing in the future with proper financial habits and good spending behavior. A bankruptcy case does not mean the person is forever barred from ever taking out a loan or mortgage in the future.  

Whatever the reasons may be for the delay in filing for bankruptcy, a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney can quickly clear up many of the fears and misconceptions that may be holding a person back in taking that first step towards a fresh financial start.  

Please click here to read more.  

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.   

Foreclosures

Experts Warn of New Foreclosure Crisis in South Florida

With the federal moratorium on evictions and foreclosures set to expire, housing experts are predicting a new foreclosure crisis in South Florida.

The crisis began for many last year as COVID-19 forced thousands of Floridians out of jobs. It was not until April 2020 when the Trump Administration and many states hit the pause on all foreclosure and eviction proceedings on federally backed loans. States and the federal government extended these moratoriums throughout 2020 and into 2021. These extensions allowed individuals to remain in their homes and postpone the foreclosure process. 

Federal moratoriums offered through three federal agencies, including the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lending programs, are scheduled to expire finally on July 31.   

With foreclosures expected to begin again in the second half of 2021, housing experts fear that the courts will now be flooded with a wave of foreclosure cases that will not only clog the courts but will also depress the real estate market for South Florida.  

Members of the Miami-based nonprofit, Floridians for Honest Lending, say they worry that with property values going up, banks will have a big incentive to proceed with filing foreclosures. As the courthouses will likely be flooded with cases, pressure will increase to clear these cases from the books, which means that homeowners could be pressured to settle when the otherwise would not agree to do so.  

A similar situation was seen in 2008 where the number of cases hitting the courts led to what experts called “rocket dockets” or courts pushing for clearing as many cases as possible, leaving homeowners at the short end of the stick.   

After the 2008 recession, reforms were passed to prevent this situation from occurring and ensuring that predatory lending practices were barred, and homeowner rights preserved. Experts believe that the upcoming situation will put these regulations to a true test.  

Normally, these cases are either resolved by a short sale or auction, or the owner can work out an agreement with the lender, including a loan modification. The rocket-dockets that were seen in 2008 tended to discourage any type of agreement that would otherwise benefit the borrower in resolving these cases. This risk goes up when prices are up, and banks can get more money from seeking out new customers instead of working with existing ones.   

Currently, 2,110 foreclosure cases are pending in Broward County.  However, pending cases only tell part of the story. Thousands of other cases have yet to be filed due to the ongoing moratoriums. Thus far in 2021, 468 new foreclosures have been filed in Broward County, which pales in comparison to the 1,365 filings that were pending at the same time in 2020. Miami-Dade County has seen 650 new cases filed by the end of May 2021, as compared to the 2,500 that were pending at the same period in 2019. 

Cases are expected to begin coming in after the moratorium ends August 1.  In the meantime, homeowners struggling to pay their bills are still recommended to work with their lenders on forbearance measures or loan modifications. 

Please click here to read more.  

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between keeping your home or losing it in foreclosure. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure, please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com 

Consumer Bankruptcy

Post-COVID Debt Continues to Grow as Bankruptcy Filings Fall in 2021

Financial analysts had predicted a bankruptcy surge following the COVID-19 pandemic. Courts were closed for the majority of 2020, but as they began to reopen, it was believed that a massive wave of bankruptcy filings would follow. Oddly enough, that surge never came, and the number of consumer bankruptcy filings continue to drop.

According to figures from the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), 181,000 bankruptcy cases were filed in the U.S. by May 2021, which is 29 percent lower than the number of cases filed by that time in 2020. As many people were forced out of jobs or laid off with businesses temporarily or even permanently closing, consumers are continuing to rely on credit cards to cover expenses.

It is reported that consumers wait an average of 22 months after their first 90-days past-due notice before filing for bankruptcy, accumulating what is called ‘shadow debt.’   

Shadow debt is debt that has not shown up yet on the consumer’s credit report, such as unpaid rent, accruing medical bills, and bounced checks. This shadow debt causes a great deal of stress for consumers as they work through the decision to file for bankruptcy. Many consumers report that they seriously struggle with debt for up to two years before making the decision to file.  

Most of this shadow debt is unsecured debt or debt that is not otherwise secured by collateral. Common forms of unsecured shadow debt are past-due credit card bills and medical bills. An ABI study reports that shadow debt can increase on average by $7,200 for each month the consumer delays filing for bankruptcy.  

According to a National Bureau of Economic Research study, consumers owe an average of $240,000 in total debt by the time they actually file for bankruptcy. Therefore, delaying filing for bankruptcy is not always the best decision. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help determine if bankruptcy is the right option for that individual.

Please click here to read more.  

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.  

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

The Three Most Common Fears People Have When Filing for Bankruptcy

The fear of losing everything is a very real concern for those contemplating bankruptcy. However, this is one of the most common bankruptcy myths, and can keep individuals who are drowning in debt from obtaining a fresh financial start.

To make the bankruptcy process a little easier to understand, we have dispelled the top three fears people have when filing for bankruptcy.

student loan debt, Student Loans

Biden Administration Cancels Additional $55.6 Million in Student Loan Debt

The Biden Administration canceled an additional $55.6 million in student loans for 1,800 students who were found to be victims of fraud. This additional amount brings the total amount of student loan debt cancelled by the Biden administration to $1.5 trillion. 

Since entering office, President Biden has made it his mission to stand up for the thousands of students who were taken advantage of by for-profit colleges. This most recent effort was focused on students who attended Westwood College, Marinello Schools of Beauty, and the Court Reporting Institute. Previously, the administration had approved loan forgiveness for students who attended ITT Technical Institute, the American Career Institute and Corinthian College. This is the first time the Department of Education has approved loan forgiveness for students attending for-profit schools not including these three.  

Debt Collection

How Federal Laws Protect You When Dealing with Debt Collectors

Dealing with debt collectors can be stressful. Their job is to get the consumer to pay on a debt at any means necessary, which can often mean through coercion, harassment, and fear. Many debt collectors have been known to use aggressive or illegal tactics to collect on a debt, leaving many consumers to feel like they have no choice but to make payment to get them to go away. However, federal law offers certain protections when it comes to debt collectors. It is important that consumers understand what these protections are so that they are aware of what rights they do have when dealing with debt collectors.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), nearly one in every four people have a debt in collections. Illegal debt collection practice is a common complaint made to the CFPB.  

Debt Relief

What is Debt Relief and When Should I Seek It?

Debt can seem like an insurmountable burden, impossible to escape once a consumer has gotten too far in. Different options are available for dealing with credit card debt, student loan debt, and other consumer debts.  

Many times, consumers find themselves overwhelmed with several different types of debt in differing amounts.

Consumer Bankruptcy, Legal Awards

Miami Bankruptcy Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade Named a Florida Super Lawyer 8 Consecutive Years

Managing Shareholder, Timothy S. Kingcade of the Miami-based bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers 2021, in the practice area of consumer bankruptcy. This is the eighth consecutive year Kingcade has been selected to the Florida Super Lawyers list (2014-2021). The prestigious honor is awarded to only five percent of lawyers in the state.

After receiving one of the highest point totals, Kingcade was also selected to be on the Florida Super Lawyers Blue Ribbon Panel. Only those in each practice area with the highest point totals are asked to be part of the panel to evaluate the candidacy of fellow lawyers to enter the prestigious Super Lawyer rankings.

Debt Collection, Debt Relief

Understanding Zombie Debt and the Statute of Limitations

Consumer debts have what is called a statute of limitations. This is the amount of time the creditor can use the court to force a consumer to pay a debt. After the statute of limitations has expired on a debt, it is no longer legally enforceable. Occasionally, however, a consumer may be contacted regarding an old debt by a collector who hopes the consumer will ‘restart the statute of limitations.’

Zombie debt is debt that the consumer thinks is “dead,” meaning it is past the statute of limitations that the debt collector is now trying to bring back to life. While the debt collector cannot take the consumer to court to collect on the debt, there are no laws saying they cannot continue to contact the consumer to collect what is owed. Many times, debt collection agencies will purchase expired debt to turn a profit. Since the cost to buy expired debt is exceptionally low, even if they collect on a handful of accounts, they are still earning a profit.