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Zombie Homes

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer. He has helped hundreds of New Yorkers stay in their homes. He fights foreclosure lawsuits throughout the Metropolitan New York area and helps his clients obtain mortgage modifications. Elliot and his staff of attorneys can be reached 7 days a week.  He and his associates can be reached by calling 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 or by sending an email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Underwater Homes

To watch today’s video blog, please click on the link below:

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense attorney who helps homeowners fight foreclosure lawsuits and obtain mortgage modifications.  He and his associates are available for consultation by calling 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 or send an email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Long Island Foreclosure Rates Continue to Climb

foreclosure defense attorney on Long IslandForeclosure rates for both Nassau and Suffolk Counties, on Long Island, are the highest in New York State. Approximately 3% of the homes in Suffolk County are in foreclosure. In Nassau County, approximately 2 ½% of all homes are in foreclosure. There are more than 27,000 pending foreclosure cases in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

The Housing Crisis

The housing crisis has hit Long Island homeowners harder than homeowners in other areas of the State. Superstorm Sandy contributed to this problem by devastating many homes on Long Island. Thomas DiNapoli, the Comptroller of New York State, recently stated “if you are on Long Island and you have a huge mortgage, based on a price that no longer was attainable, you could easily get ‘underwater’.” Underwater refers to homes which owe more money on their mortgages than the home is worth.

While in many other areas in New York State the foreclosure crisis is easing, it continues to get worse in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. In January of 2015, the number of homes going into foreclosure in Nassau County jumped by almost 20%. Some of this increase in homes being foreclosed upon was related to the delayed impact of Superstorm Sandy, which hit Long Island in 2012, has had on homes going into foreclosure. In the State of New York, approximately 1 in every 90 homes is in foreclosure. While in Nassau County 1 out of every 40 homes are in foreclosure, and in Suffolk County 1 out of every 35 homes are in foreclosure. Comparing this to the foreclosure rate in New York City which has only 1 out of every 116 homes in foreclosure shows the huge problem faced by homeowners in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.New York foreclosure defense lawyer

Home Ownership: The Pros and Cons

foreclosure defense for homeownersI have had numerous discussions with potential home buyers with regard to the pros and cons of owning a home. There are many substantial benefits but the foreclosure crisis in recent years is illustrative of some of the major drawbacks in owning a home.

  • Renting.  If you rent you have flexibility.  Most leases are for a year or two.  When the lease is over you can move.  If your company relocates to a different part of the country, or out of the country, you are not stuck with a significant piece of real estate.  In some situations you can simply notify the landlord you are moving and give the landlord the ability to rent your house even before your lease is up and avoid financial liability to the landlord.
  • It should also be noted that when you buy a house, there are many up front costs related to the acquisition of the house.  These are often referred to as “closing costs”.
  •    Is owning a home a good investment?  It generally costs much more to pay the expenses concerning owning a home than to pay rent.  However, most homes over time will appreciate in value.  If you have a conventional mortgage for either 15 or 30 years, your mortgage payments will be the same each and every month.  However, the taxes on your house will usually go up.  Since taxes are usually incorporated into the mortgage payments that you send to your bank, it is most likely that even though the actual mortgage payments will stay flat, the amount of your expenses will go up from year to year.

    According to Richard Green, a professor at the University of Southern California the following is a rule of thumb as to how much appreciation you will need to make the home a worthwhile investment vis a vis staying in an apartment and paying rent.  Professor Green states that house values should not “have to go up more than 3% a year for you to break even.”  Professor Green suggests that your home should not be your sole investment.  He states “the idea that home ownership doesn’t carry a lot of risk with it is wrong.”  “If you are in a mutual fund, with a long term prospective, it is probably going to grow faster than real estate values.  Housing can be more volatile than you think (depending on location).”

  • What is equity in a home?  To start with, you only build equity if the value of your home is increasing.  If your home is appreciating while you are paying off the mortgage, you are developing equity in your home.  To determine the equity in your home you subtract from the appraised value of your home the amount of your mortgage debt.  What remains, if anything, is your equity in the home.
  • Home ownership is a long term investment.  It is generally suggested that if you purchase a home you stay in it for a minimum of 5 years.  This will give your home a reasonable period of time to appreciate.  You also need to consider the closing costs involved in purchasing a home and the expenses involved in selling a home when you determine the actual equity in your home.

Buy a Home and You are the Landlord

When you rent, if something breaks you can contact the landlord and/or his representative and request they make the repairs that are necessary. When you own a home, if something breaks, doesn’t function properly, or goes wrong, you are responsible. If you can’t fix it, you have to hire someone at your own expense to fix it. Maintenance costs in a home, generally, are more than most people anticipate. Before you buy a home you should have an engineer inspect the home and advise you whether the boiler, electrical system, roof, foundation or other aspects of the home are in good condition. You don’t want to buy a home and have it fall down shortly after you purchase it.

New York foreclosure defense lawyerElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense attorney. He helps homeowners in the Metropolitan New York area fight foreclosure lawsuits and obtain mortgage modifications.

Foreclosure Lawsuit Blocked Concerning Death Issues

foreclosure attorney in New YorkA foreclosure action was brought by JP Morgan Chase in the Supreme Court of New York County. Justice Francois Rivera was the judge assigned to the case. Chase claimed in their pleadings that Charles had executed a mortgage and note on real property in favor of Fleet Real Estate Funding. They claimed Fleet Real Estate Funding had assigned the mortgage to JP Morgan Chase. They claimed Charles defaulted on making his payments on the note and mortgage, they had accelerated the note and mortgage and served the acceleration notice on Charles.

Charles’ Death

After Chase had commenced this lawsuit they ascertained that Charles had died. It should be noted Charles did not respond to any of the documents served upon him by Chase or the Summons and Complaint. That may have been related to the fact that he wasn’t alive!

Although Chase was aware that Charles had died, the moving papers submitted by them did not contain an original death certificate. The court was never made aware as to when Charles died. Judge Rivera advised Chase that when an individual to a lawsuit dies, the court is divested of jurisdiction to continue legal proceedings until an appropriate substitution is made. In addition, any court order rendered after the date of death of a party and before a legal representative is appointed to represent the deceased party would also be void.

Judge Rivera reached the conclusion since Chase had not submitted a death certificate, and they weren’t aware of the date of death, they could not determine if Charles was ever legally a party to this lawsuit. The court further stated if Charles died after the lawsuit was initiated, the action would be stayed under New York State law. In the end, Judge Rivera found that Chase could not have any relief at all until they resolved the issues concerning Charles’ death.

Conclusion

Dying is a defense to a foreclosure lawsuit! However, there are less painful defenses which can be established by hiring a foreclosure lawyer upon the initiation of legal proceedings against you.New York foreclosure defense lawyer

What Happens When You Fall Behind On Your Mortgage?

To watch today’s video blog, please click on the link below:

http://youtu.be/jZT2uG0JdTI

Elliot Schlissel is a foreclosure defense lawyer helping homeowners stay in their homes throughout the Metropolitan New York area.  He and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 or send an email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Bank Punished For Negotiating In Bad Faith: Court Limits Their Interest Rate to 2%

homeowner's attorneyJustice Debra Silber sitting in a Supreme Court foreclosure court in Kings County, New York recently had a case involving bad faith in negotiations by Deutsche Bank. In this case the defendant moved for, and was granted, an Order which confirmed a report of a special referee made at the foreclosure conference which found that Deutsche Bank had acted in bad faith in violation of New York Civil Practice Law and Rules section 3408(f).

Bad Faith by Bank

Justice Silber, in her decision, found the actions and inactions by Deutsche Bank clearly indicated an absence of good faith as was contemplated by the New York Statute. During a period of ten months the bank delayed the underwriting of husband’s mortgage modification application. The referee found Deutsche Bank’s failure to act during a 10 month period was a dilatory tactic. Justice Silber concluded the husband had sought to obtain a mortgage modification for a period of 6 months. He had made 18 appearances at foreclosure mediation conferences. In determining the appropriate sanction to punish Deutsche Bank for its failure to work with the defendant in this case regarding his mortgage modification application, the court decided to reduce the interest rate to 2% on the balance of the mortgage which accrued after August 1, 2010. This was the date Justice Silber deemed the bank should have approved the husband’s HAMP mortgage application. In addition, the bank and its loan servicer organization were barred from collecting attorney’s fees with regard to the foreclosure lawsuit which accrued after August 1, 2010.

Conclusion

If a bank fails to negotiate in good faith mortgage modifications at foreclosure court mediation conferences, there are remedies available to the homeowner.

foreclosure defense lawyersElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney who litigates foreclosure cases. He seeks to keep homeowners in their homes.

Foreclosure Dismissed, Bank Fails To Show It Was The Holder Of The Note

mortgage modification and bankruptcy attorneys on long islandJustice Francois Rivera, sitting in the Real Property Part in Supreme Court, Kings County, recently dismissed a foreclosure case brought by Loancare against Mr. Coleman.

The foreclosure lawsuit claimed Coleman had failed to make payments on the note and mortgage. It further claimed he took no action to cure the default. Coleman submitted an Answer which contained seventeen affirmative defenses. One of the affirmative defenses was that the bank lacked standing to bring this lawsuit.

Justice Rivera noted in his decision, before commencing a foreclosure lawsuit a plaintiff must have a legal or an equitable interest in the mortgage.

Transfer of the Mortgage

Coleman initially had given a mortgage to Lend America. Lend America executed and delivered the mortgage and note to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., (hereinafter referred to as “MERS”) as Lend America’s nominee.

When Loancare brought the lawsuit, they did not claim or prove that Lend America delivered the note to MERS. Therefore MERS was never the holder of the note. Since they didn’t have the note to begin with, they couldn’t assign it! Since MERS couldn’t assign it to Loancare, Loancare never became the holder of the note pursuant to a written assignment prior to initiating the foreclosure lawsuit. In addition, Justice Rivera pointed out in his decision Loancare did not allege the facts and circumstances as to who and which entity physically delivered the note.

Justice Rivera therefore decided Loancare did not establish a prima facie case that it was the holder and/or assignee of the note and mortgage. Justice Rivera therefore dismissed the lawsuit based on the fact the plaintiff had no standing to bring this foreclosure proceeding.

Conclusion

Submitting an appropriate Answer with numerous affirmative defenses and especially alleging lack of standing, is very important when responding to a foreclosure lawsuit. If Coleman had failed to allege lack of standing in his Answer, he would have waived this affirmative defense and Loancare would have been successful in obtaining a judgment of foreclosure and selling Coleman’s home.

foreclosure defense attorneysElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney who helps homeowners fight foreclosure lawsuits and stay in their home.

Zombie Homes

foreclosure defense attorneys“Zombie homes” are homes that have been vacated by families related to banks bringing foreclosure legal action against the homes. New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has proposed legislation to deal with the blight caused to neighborhoods throughout the State of New York by homes abandoned by families related to mortgage foreclosure lawsuits. He has submitted a bill to the legislature called the Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act. This proposed statute would require homeowners to be informed of their rights to stay in their homes during the course of foreclosure litigation. Homeowners are entitled to stay in their homes until there are court orders forcing them to leave their homes. This usually takes years for these court orders to be obtained.

Zombie Home Registry Statute

The bill proposed by Attorney General Schneiderman would require a registry of zombie homes to be maintained by the municipalities to help manage this problem. Attorney General Schneiderman has recently stated he found the number of zombie foreclosures related to vacant properties in the State of New York increased by 50% during the 2014 calendar year. Attorney General Schneiderman defines zombie properties as homes which are vacated by their rightful owners but the banks have not taken title to pursuant to foreclosure lawsuits. In a statement, Attorney General Schneiderman stated “leaving zombie properties to rot is unfair to municipalities and unfair to neighbors, who pay their taxes and maintain their homes.” Attorney General Schneiderman’s bill would require banks to maintain properties much earlier in the foreclosure process. This would ease the burden on local governments and taxpayers who are now being forced to maintain these homes to prevent blights in local neighborhoods.

Zombie Homes in New York

RealtyTrac, which reports information concerning foreclosures and real estate trends has reported that New York State has the third highest total among all states of zombie properties. RealtyTrac found zombie properties represent almost 20% of all New York homes in foreclosure.

Conclusion

Attorney General Schneiderman’s proposed law is an excellent idea.New York foreclosure defense attorney Island

How to Spot Bank Fraud

Please click on the link below to watch today’s video blog:

http://youtu.be/TJ37ObjF1iA

Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense lawyer in the Metropolitan New York area.  He has been helping homeowners stay in the homes for more than 20 years.  Elliot and his associates help their clients obtain mortgage modifications.  Elliot can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Foreclosure Defense in Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick and Bellmore, New York

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