COVID Forbearance and Debt Relief: 1.6 million missed mortgage payments

COVID: 1.6 million missed mortgage payments (including COVID Forbearance), Delinquency Rates have doubled.

Based on recent data by Black Knight, Mortgage delinquencies surged by 1.6 million in April. This represents the largest single increase in Black Knight’s history. This number includes individuals who are in a COVID forbearance and covers all missed mortgage payments. As part of our work helping consumers with COVID debt relief, a number of folks are asking what the benefits of a COVID forbearance are.

Basically, a COVID forbearance plan allows you to miss three mortgage payments. These payments will generally become due in month four – in addition to the regularly scheduled mortgage payment. Imagine your monthly mortgage payment is $1,000 per month. Under a typical COVID forbearance, you can miss three months of mortgage payments with no late fees and no additional interest. In month four, your normal $1,000 payment is still due, plus the additional $3,000 you have missed under your COVID forbearance.

This is troubling, because the statistics are showing (at least for the past two weeks as of the date of writing – May 22, 2020) over 200,000 Florida unemployment claims in the state. Imagine then, the time that it will take for those unemployed to find new jobs. For those that are unemployed, a COVID forbearance essentially becomes a race for the consumer. You have to essentially find a new job, save up your $4000, and make your 4 mortgage payments. This is a very hard race to win as the economy reopens.

General Deliquency Rates are up to 6.45%, their highest since 2008.

This general deliquency rate is alarming. This includes all debts – credit cards, personal loans, payday loans, etc., that are in default status because of COVID. A COVID default has staggering impact because consumer debt has soared to 14.3 trillion dollars – it is now higher then it was in 2008. In general, credit cards are trying to work with consumers, accepting minimum payments, interest only payments, etc. This is problematic, because, if you are in a race to pay a COVID forbearance, on top of credit card debt, you may find that there is simply too much to pay back.

If you are on a COVID Forbearance or a forbearance with your Credit Card company and can’t make your payment all at once – you may have options.

For close to a decade, our firm has been helping consumers modify their loans, pursue short sales, file bankruptcy or negotiate debt, and seek recovery from banks for blunders related to the way they are collecting debts. This has not changed. If you have a COVID Forbearance through your mortgage lender or a credit card company, or are thinking of accepting one, you may have options. You can feel free to contact my office via phone at 813.502.6768, you can e-mail us, or you can schedule a time to speak with us online.

Posted in Uncategorized

COVID-19 (Corona Virus) and Debt Relief Solutions for Floridians

Are you worried about not making ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic?

3.25.2020 – In light of recent questions, Owen & Dunivan, PLLC is conducting business as usual for the most part. We are not having in person meetings at the office, but we are fully staffed and accepting new clients. We are also available via videoconference. To set up a time with Bryant, please use the online scheduling link.

In light of COVID-19, many Americans are scrambling at what they can do to avoid their own financial collapse. A recent release by the National Consumer Law Center suggested that consumers take the following steps to try to avoid missed payments on their loans and credit cards:

  • Contact your creditors
  • Create an emergency budget
  • Try a personal loan
  • If you must use a card, use the one with the lowest interest rate
  • Send temporary hardship letters
  • Use community and government assistance
  • Take out retirement savings
  • Avoid payday loans

While I think these are some pretty solid recommendations, it’s important to note that every situation will be different in light of COVID-19. For example – for many consumers who are living paycheck to paycheck like roughly 80% of Americans – the only place to come up with extra money will likely be a credit card. Unfortunately, the average APR for a credit card is 21.21%. A low interest credit card may not be an option. Additionally, because the average American’s credit score is 682, they may not qualify for personal loans.

In terms of coping with COVID-19, an emergency budget is a great spot to start – but that is premised on actually having income during the current quarantine situation. If there are limited incoming funds, then you will have to act quickly and swiftly. This is where government assistance can come in handy. One caveat though – if it’s a loan, it will have to be paid back. A great resource is https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus for Americans.

Perhaps the best advice in these recommendations is reaching out to your lender. We are suffering from a global crisis – most businesses understand that financial hardship in this instance was not avoidable. The key, I think, will be to document the conversations. We live in a digital world – get employee ID numbers. Get names, and be sure to take contemporaneous notes when discussing things with your lender. Try to document things via email. Don’t rely on “their word”. We’ve all seen what happened in the 2008 recession. Millions of Americans believed what people were telling them only to not see it come to fruition. Pay attention to your monthly balances in this time – if you don’t see what they discussed (and you have hopefully documented), it may be actionable.

Above all avoid payday loans!!!

If you have questions or would like help trying to protect yourself during this crises, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. You can do this three ways: (1) call 813.502.6768 , (2) e-mail me , or (3) set up a time online .

Posted in Uncategorized

Zoning Disputes: Explaining Easement Rights

Easements Fence on Property Line Owen and Dunivan Law

Have you ever wondered why utility workers can access your property without your permission? Or have you ever seen two houses with a shared driveway and wondered how that works? Or wondered who owns the path that leads to public beach access? 

Easements are a type of real property that can be complex and difficult to understand but they are also very common so it is important to have a general understanding of what they are and how they affect property rights. 

What is an Easement?

An easement is the right of an individual to have some sort of limited ownership or possession of the property that belongs to another individual. In short, it essentially gives another person or entity the right to trespass upon land that is owned by someone else. 

While this may sound confusing it really is an easy concept if you look at the bigger picture. Easements are born out of necessity when you have one’s ownership of property but that same property is also a requirement for another’s needs. 

Utility Companies

For example, easements are especially prevalent on residential properties. Most commonly, public utility companies may own some of your land upon which utilities are located on, but allow you, the property owner, to have an easement. You are allowed to use the property as your own as long as you do not infringe upon the need of the utility company. 

HOA and Community Use

Additionally, a neighborhood might have easements that allow for walking paths on your property that are open access to all local residents. These paths, while on your property, are open to all residents and may even be maintained by the neighborhood or HOA. 

Shared Driveway Access

In other situations, an easement can be a shared driveway or road for a landlocked property. It is not uncommon for houses, especially in rural areas, to share driveways.

It is important to understand who is responsible for the maintenance before you purchase the home or property. 

Implications of Easements for Homebuyers

Future homebuyers may face the biggest limitations that may arise from easements. 

New homebuyers should reference the home’s title before buying the property. It should specify if, and where, there are any easements on the property. This could affect future plans to build fences, pools, swing sets, or sheds. 

Easements also “run” with the land and not with the homeowner. Therefore, when a home is sold the easement right is transferred to the new homeowner. 

Understanding What Crosses the Legal Line

Sometimes easements are not as “easy” as they may seem. When easements are not known or understood, it is easy for numerous legal problems to arise whether it is through their creation, interpretation, or implementation.

Whether you are looking to create, transfer, or terminate an easement it is important to have an experienced real estate attorney who can guide you through the process. 

The real estate lawyers at Owen & Dunivan in Brandon, Florida are knowledgeable and experienced in zoning disputes and easements. We are happy to meet with you to discuss your easement concerns. 

Contact us online or call us today at 813-502-6768 to set up a free legal consultation. 

Posted in Real Estate, Real Estate Attorney Tagged with: , , ,

How Homeowners Can Handle HOA Disputes

Aerial view of of a residential HOA neighborhood Owen and Dunivan

Do you live in a community governed by a homeowners’ association (HOA)? If so, you’ve more than likely run into a unique set of issues with your living situation – from rules and regulations that affect the usage and maintenance of the property or difficult neighbors within the community. Fortunately, most issues can be resolved amicably, however, there are circumstances when that is not possible. When this happens, there are several ways to handle HOA disputes.

Referencing the HOA Bylaws & The Internal Process

The first step in resolving an HOA dispute is to reference the association’s bylaws, rules, and regulations. These documents should provide an informal and/or internal process for community members to resolve disputes that arise between homeowners and the HOA.  

For example, an informal meeting often includes an informal discussion between the HOA President or other board members and the homeowner to determine whether a dispute can be resolved internally and informally. This informal meeting is the easiest option in resolving HOA disputes, however, it requires rational thought from both sides to be effective.  

Alternative Means of Dispute Resolution

In cases where the internal HOA process does not resolve the issue, the next step is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – commonly in the form of arbitration or mediation (involves a third party who listens to both parties, seeks to find a middle ground and resolution).  

In the state of Florida, the law requires both parties to conduct mediation proceedings before a lawsuit can be filed, but only in if the dispute involves: 

  • Changes to a parcel or common area 
  • Covenant enforcement 
  • Amendments or modifications to HOA documents 
  • Meetings of the board and board-appointed committees 
  • Membership meetings that aren’t election-related 
  • Access to records 

Meditation is a voluntary process intended to encourage both parties to resolve the issue. While no one can force one side to resolve a dispute in mediation, Florida law has a caveat for refusal to participate in a resolution. Bear in mind: a party who declines mediation cannot recover attorney’s fees in a subsequent lawsuit. 

Litigation

Under Florida law, ADR is not appropriate in certain HOA disputes, and therefore, state court is the only option when a disagreement involves: 

  • Collection of assessments, fines or other financial matters 
  • Enforcement of a prior mediation settlement agreement between the parties 
  • A lawsuit by a party seeking to enforce a prior arbitration award 
  • Lawsuits for injunctive relief 
  • Title to property  
  • Breach of duty allegations against a director 

We are litigation experts and are available to answer your HOA dispute questions. Call our top-rated Tampa, FL area real estate attorneys to learn how the legal system may be on your side — 813-502-6768

Mandatory Arbitration for Certain Circumstances

Florida law requires mandatory arbitration in two types of situations – disputes involving the recall of an HOA board member and the HOA that involves elections. These types of disagreements are handled before the State Department of Business and Professional Regulation and are not eligible for pre-lawsuit mediation, leaving arbitration as the only pre-litigation option.  

While mandatory for both parties to participate in arbitration, the proceedings are non-binding. However, the arbitration order is enforceable if a lawsuit isn’t filed within 30 days after it has been entered.  

Help Resolve Homeowners’ Association Disputes

Let the legal team of Owen & Dunivan help resolve your homeowners’ association disputes. Whether you are a homeowner involved in a homeowners’ association dispute or a member of the HOA, it is important to understand laws in Florida regarding HOA disputes that are subject to an internal process resolution, mediation or arbitration or litigation.  

An experienced real estate attorney can help in all matters of HOA disputes and will help achieve a favorable resolution. For more information on our Tampa law firm or to schedule a free consultation, please call us at (813) 502-6768

Posted in Real Estate, Real Estate Attorney Tagged with: , , , ,

Does the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act Apply in Florida?

Couple discussing bills debt collection FCCPA Consumer Collections Law

Have you been harassed by aggressive and inappropriate debt collectors? What you may not know is that you are protected from this type of behavior. While the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) is an important law that protects consumers nationwide, the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) is what applies locally.  

What is the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act?

The FDCPA is a federal law that explicitly defines what abusive debt collections are and provides legal recourse for those who have been illegally harassed by creditors. This law applies to debt collectors and certain third-party debt buyers but does not cover collection activities performed by an original creditor.  

How the FCCPA Protects You

Collection agencies may not engage in any sort of tactic designed to harass, abuse, or mislead you into paying a debt. They can’t falsely claim that an attorney is involved, for example, or send communications such as forms and “summons” designed to mimic attorney letters or government documents.  

Debt collectors and creditors can’t legally harass you or any family member about the debt either. This includes contacting you before 8am and after 9pm. When communicating with you, they are also to refrain from using any type of abusive or profane language. Mailed envelopes and postcards shouldn’t contain embarrassing verbiage.  

Under the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act, it is also illegal to:  

  • Use, or threaten to use, force or physical violence in order to collect a debt 
  • Threaten a lawsuit or jail time for not paying a debt 
  • Communicate, or threaten to communicate, with your employer about the debt (This is unless they have successfully taken a judgment against you.) 
  • Contact third parties about your debt 
  • Submit derogatory information about a disputed debt to a credit reporting agency without also disclosing the existence of your dispute 
  • Pretend to be a police officer or a government agent 
  • Communicate directly with you after they know you’ve retained an attorney 

Harassment from debt collectors is illegal. The attorneys at Owen & Dunivan know Florida’s Consumer Collection Practices Act. Call for a free consultation today. 

What am I entitled to if a debt collector violates the law?

Under the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act, you have a private cause of action if you are harassed by a debt collector which means you can file a lawsuit. If you win, you may be entitled to: 

  • Actual damages 
  • Statutory damages not more than $1,000 
  • Potential punitive damages (at the judge’s discretion) 
  • Attorney’s fees and court costs 

Stop the credit bullies! Owen & Dunivan has extensive experience in handling violation cases of the FCCPA. Call today for a free consultation. 

Contact A Consumer Protection Lawyer

If you’ve been unfairly harassed by a debt collector, they may be in violation of Florida law. Schedule a free consultation with our Tampa law firm. We will work hard to get you the damages you deserve. We are determined, ready, and committed to representing your case. Please call us today at (813) 502-6768

Posted in Consumer Protection, florida consumer collection practices act Tagged with: , , ,

Served in a lawsuit by PG Acquisitions Group Inc.?

Worried Man over PG Acquisition Group Inc Lawsuit

What does being served in a lawsuit by PG Acquisitions Group Inc. mean?

If you have been served in a lawsuit recently by PG Acquisitions Group, Inc., or have currently pending litigation with PG Acquisitions Group, you are not alone. PG Acquisitions Group is approaching $100 million in purchases to date. 

They are a debt collection company that specializes in purchasing charged off auto-deficiency accounts. They have purchased rights to old deficiencies from the bank that previously noted your delinquent and it is trying to collect whatever amount it can. Based in West Palm Beach, FL, they have served thousands of Floridians and are seeking judgments against them.  

If you are facing a deficiency judgment lawsuit or motion by PG Acquisitions Group, Inc., having an attorney that knows how to defend against a deficiency lawsuit is paramount to mitigating your damages or having a strong defense.  

What is a Deficiency Judgment?

A deficiency judgment is a legal order to pay off unpaid loan balance after repossession. Once the lender takes your property and resells it, using proceeds pay off your debt and any additional fees – including legal ones – related to collections. 

PG Acquisitions Group can attempt to collect on the auto loan deficiency and must obtain a deficiency judgment to do so. These types of judgments are extremely common and are subject to very limited defenses. Generally, the consumer thinks the debt has been forgiven and ignores the lawsuit, which is a big mistake.

Deficiency Judgment Defense Strategies

One defense is the statute of limitations. In most cases, the borrower has five years to seek the deficiency judgment. However, in some cases, the nature of the note has an impact. The principal, or amount due, does not change once you stop payments. If the repossessing bank pleads their argument correctly in court, under current Florida law, they may collect the entire balance of the loan, including default interest. This may be applied from the original default date on the loan.   

After being served by PG Acquisitions Group Inc., it may be confusing what to do next. Choosing to fight a deficiency in court will add to the amount the bank or PG Acquisitions Group will seek against you. But not fighting it has its consequences. 

What can happen? 

When creditors like PG Acquisitions Group Inc. purchase these debts, they become debt collectors. This commonly leads to negative reports on your credit followed by filing a deficiency lawsuit to seek judgment against you. 

If they do get a deficiency judgment, they will likely try to garnish your wages or attach liens against any personal property. Understand that a settlement, and not a final judgment, maybe in your best interest to avoid these outcomes. 

Learn your options. Having a consumer attorney gives your side more strength in a negotiation and at trial. Call our Brandon, FL law office today to speak with a lawyer. 

I’m Already in Ongoing Litigation

PG Acquisitions Group must prove its case and meet their burden in court. If you have counsel in ongoing litigation – it’s important that they have defended a case against PG Acquisitions Group before. 

If you are facing a PG Acquisitions Group trial or a motion for a deficiency judgment and are uncomfortable with your attorney or don’t hear back from them – it may be time to hire another lawyer. 

Experience on Your Side

A deficiency judgment lawyer can help dramatically in a settlement negotiation and at trial. At Owen & Dunivan, we want to win. Attorneys will use any and all defenses, documents, and data may best help your case. 

If you have recently been served by PG Acquisitions Group, and would like to know your options, please contact our law office at (813) 502-6768 or email us to set up a consultation. If you are in Hillsborough County, I even offer flat fees for most PG Acquisitions cases.

Posted in Consumer Protection, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

Tenant’s Rights: When to Hire a Lawyer to Resolve Landlord Issues

Holding Key to Rental Tenants Rights Attorney

A tenant-landlord relationship should be simple. The landlord provides a home for the tenant to live and the tenant pays a monthly rent.  However, certain circumstances may require legal intervention, typically due to a tenant’s safety or if legal rights have been compromised. If you are involved in an unresolved dispute with your landlord, you may need to hire a seasoned real estate attorney to ensure your interests are protected.  

You are Facing Eviction and Being Harassed.

If you fear an eviction notice is imminent, our real estate law firm can help defend the eviction and increase your chances of a successful outcome.  

Certain defenses may apply to your case including: 

  • The landlord did not adhere to the statutory procedures for eviction required by state and local law;
  • If the landlord attempted to lock you out, remove possessions, or cancel utilities;
  • The eviction was considered retaliatory;
  • The landlord is charging illegal fees & calling them rent;
  • You are being called names by your landlord, like ‘deadbeat’.

Know your rights. Call Own & Dunivan at (813) 502-6768 to handle your unresolved landlord disputes! 

Your Landlord Refuses to Make Necessary Repairs. 

A basic right of tenants is to live in habitable conditions.  This includes complying with housing codes & standards.

Therefore, even if it is not clearly defined in your lease, your landlord is obligated to maintain the rental property in a livable state. This includes maintaining a structurally sound building, providing heat and water, and ensuring the plumbing and electric work properly.  

If your landlord fails to live up to this obligation and make the necessary repairs, you have the right to withhold rent, pay less rent, or repair the issue yourself. Our attorneys are experienced in tenant-landlord law and will determine if state or local codes have been violated. Call Owen & Dunivan today to speak to a lawyer about the specifics of your case.  

You are Being Discriminated Against.

In accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Federal Fair Housing Act Amendment Acts of 1988, discrimination based on protected categories (race, color, religion, national status, familial origin, age, sex, or disability) is illegal.  

All areas of the landlord-tenant agreement are covered by this anti-discrimination law, which includes: 

  • Advertising 
  • Standards for selecting tenants 
  • The terms and conditions of the lease 
  • Reasons for termination 

If discriminatory conduct in any of these areas has occurred, you can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development or a state or local agency in HUD’s Fair Housing Assistance Program. In addition, you can contact a skilled real estate attorney to advise you on how to stop the discriminatory conduct and how to recover compensation for damages.  

Protecting Tenants Rights

With any landlord-tenant agreement, both sides should have a good understanding of their rights and responsibilities to avoid legal intervention. This includes knowing applicable federal and state laws and understanding the terms of their lease.

The experienced team of real estate attorneys at Owen & Dunivan can help litigate your real estate claims. Contact us today at (813) 502-6768 to schedule a free consultation.  

Posted in Tenant Rights in Foreclosure, Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,

Guide to Foreclosure Proceedings in Florida

Guide to Foreclosure Proceedings in Florida Owen and Dunivan

Foreclosure in Florida can be an overwhelming and complicated experience. Understanding how the process works will alleviate stress and help you move forward once the foreclosure proceedings are complete. Here we take a moment to go over how the foreclosure process works in Florida.  

Step 1: Missed Payments

Delinquency and default are both loan-related terms for missed payments. A loan becomes delinquent when you make payments late (under your contract) or miss a regular installment payment(s). 

Default is the eventual consequence of extended payment delinquency, or when a borrower fails to keep up with the ongoing loan obligations. Additionally, if you deed your property you may be in default. Your loan may also default by not repaying the loan according to the terms included in the promissory note agreement; this may include making insufficient payments. A default may also exist if you fail to insure your property or pay property taxes.

Some mortgage loans may contain language that your mortgage is in default even if your only miss one payment or are over 30 days late. This default language permits mortgage lenders to start the foreclosure procedure once your loan goes into default.

Step 2: Pre-Foreclosure Loss Mitigation Period (Dual Tracking)

Generally, for a foreclosure lawsuit to be filed in Florida, the debtor must be delinquent for at least 120 days. Until this happens, a lender can request payment by contacting the borrower or issue a breach letter.  

During this period, the debtor and lender should discuss potential loss mitigation options such as a loan modification, short sale, on assumption of the mortgage.

Step 3: Consultation with a Foreclosure Defense Attorney

If a foreclosure lawsuit seems to be inevitable, it is highly suggested to meet with an experienced foreclosure defense attorney to avoid having a foreclosure on record. An attorney, like the team at Owen & Dunivan, will also seek viable options to foreclosure as well as represent the borrower’s best interests throughout the foreclosure process.

Step 4: Issue of Notice of Default

The first step in foreclosure proceedings is for the lender to notify the debtor that a civil complaint has been made against them. This officially declares that a borrower is in default due to missed mortgage payments.  

Step 5: Filing of the Lawsuit

The next step is to file the lawsuit (typically a Summons and Complaint) which indicates that litigation is pending. The action will be publicly recorded and is the formal start to the judicial foreclosure process. The complaint is typically hand-delivered by the sheriff of the county where the borrower resides.

Step 6: Borrower Response

The borrower will typically have 20 days to file with the clerk of court with a response to the Summons and Complaint.  

At this stage in the process, a top-rated foreclosure attorney will raise a proper defense(s) on the borrower’s behalf. If an answer to the complaint is not provided by the borrower, the process may proceed to the summary judgment without the borrower having the opportunity to plead his or her case.

Step 7: Motion for Summary Judgment

During this step of foreclosure, the lender will likely file a motion for a summary judgment with hopes to avoid formal court proceedings. Should the judge rule in favor of the motion, both parties can present their cases in the summary judgment hearing and a decision will be made by the judge.

Step 8: The Foreclosure Trial 

If the motion for summary judgment is not granted, a foreclosure trial will ensue. At the trial, both parties will have the opportunity to present their arguments and the foreclosure judge will issue a ruling.  

Step 9: Auction & Eviction 

If the judgment is in favor of the lender, the property will be sold at an auction, typically occurring a few weeks after the trial. Once sold, the title of the property will be issued to the new owner and the debtor will be evicted.  

If a tenant is in the property, certain protections may exist.

Step 10: Deficiency Judgment

In the state of Florida, lenders have the option to seek a deficiency judgment for the dollar amount not covered by the property’s sale price. A qualified foreclosure attorney knows how to keep this from happening.

Don’t Face Foreclosure Alone

Are you struggling to pay your mortgage and worried that foreclosure is a possibility? The Tampa law offices of Owen & Dunivan can help. Our foreclosure defense attorneys have the experience and tenacity to handle your case and will ensure your legal rights are protected. Call us today at (813) 506-6768 to schedule a free consultation.

Posted in Default Judgment, Foreclosure Defense, foreclosure trial Tagged with: , , , ,

Can the Bank Collect on Payments Missed?

Can the Bank Collect on Payments Missed

It depends…

The good news for those facing foreclosure proceedings is that a Florida appellate court has found that lenders are prohibited, in some instances, from collecting payments missed more than five years prior to the filing of the foreclosure action. By law, a lender has a five-year statute of limitations to file a foreclosure action against a subsequent default. Up until recently, it had been unclear whether the lender was also able to collect payments missed outside of the five-year statute of limitations.  

What Changed?  

Let’s look to the foreclosure case of Grdic v. HSBC Bank: the original mortgage foreclosure complaint against Grdic was filed 10/16/14–over five years and six months after the first alleged missed payment. The borrower sought to dismiss the action, the trial court disagreed.   

The reason here is that nature of the note — the amount due (principal) does not change once you stop payments. If the foreclosing bank pleads their argument correctly in court, under current law, they may collect the entire balance of the loan, including any default interest. This may be applied from the original default on the loan.  

For example:  

You defaulted in 2012, missing the May 2012 payment and the mortgage payments thereafter. Foreclosure was filed in 2012 and involuntarily dismissed by the Court in 2018. 

The bank files a new foreclosure action against you on 9/1/19, regarding May 2012 and all subsequent defaults.

If the new lawsuit properly requests everything defaulted on be awarded in the judgment, they could seek to collect the entire balance of the loan.  

As foreclosure defense attorneys, we hoped the appellate courts would rule that any missed payments outside the 5-year timeframe would be immediately barred by the statute of limitations. However, this isn’t the case; therefore, you need a foreclosure lawyer on your side.   

Does This Law Effect Other Defense Cases? 

Here’s where things get a bit more complicated. 

In many cases, mortgages require that prior to moving forward on a foreclosure action, the bank must allow the borrower the opportunity to cure the default (generally, as detailed in paragraph 22 of the mortgage). If a borrower is unable to cure the default within the period allotted, a lender would send a “paragraph 22 letter” to the borrower.  

Failure to send an accurate paragraph 22 letter could result in a breach of a material term of the mortgage and the borrower being “prejudiced” by the deficiency in the letter – potentially resulting in a case dismissal. This could be particularly true if a bank pleads wrongly. However, some courts have been hesitant to hold that the lender’s failure to send a completely accurate paragraph 22 letter justifies a case dismissal.

Need a Tampa Foreclosure Attorney?  

Each case is unique, and it depends if the bank can collect on your missed payments. Foreclosure proceedings can be complex, and move very quickly now, which is why it is critical to seek the help of an experienced foreclosure defense attorney. 

If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, call our Tampa law office today at (813) 502-6768. At Owen & Dunivan, top-rated lawyers are committed to helping every step of the legal process. Just served? We offer a free consultation.

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

Equifax and Capital One Data Breaches Impact on Homeowners

Equifax and Capital One Data Breaches Impact Owen and Dunivan Law

Today, hackers can gain access to millions of people’s personal information such as name, address, date of birth, and even your social security number. In yet another breach, it has been reported that nearly 140,000 social security numbers were accessed, according to Capital One. Some financial experts say that this was inevitable, and the damage could’ve been way worse. When your sensitive credit information is stolen it can impact your credit score and your credit accounts. Keep reading to learn answers about the data breach and what you may be entitled to from the multi-million consumer settlements.   

About the Data Breaches  

A data breach at Capital One has left more than 100 million people exposed in recent years; although, according to Capital One, no credit card numbers or login information were released or obtained in the last hack.  

This mirrors the prior big data breach with consumer reporting agency Equifax. In that breach, the stakes were a bit higher. In fact, that hack remained unnoticed by Equifax for more than six weeks. This data breach exposed the Social Security and other personal data of approximately 150 million people. This data breach was one of the largest ever to impact private consumer information. Equifax’s $700 million settlement with the government includes up to $425 million for consumers like you.  

In most cases, Equifax is offering customers who were affected free credit-monitoring and identity-restoration services. You may also be eligible for the money you previously spent on these services. It is anticipated that the Capital One breach will see a similar result.

What might a hacker have stolen in the breach?   

Both Capital One and Equifax stores everything related to your financial profile in internet-based systems. Which harbor information for millions of consumers’, including your:   

  • Name and address;   
  • Credit score;
  • Email address and/or phone number;
  • The amount owed to third party’s, and;
  • Monitoring court judgments or liens against you  

This compromised data included Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver license numbers, and credit card numbers. And left millions exposed. Equifax even reported over 3,000 passport images were also stolen in the data breach.   

Cybercriminals can –and will certainly—use this personal information to commit identity theft, which can follow you for years impacting your ability to purchase or sell your property.  Additionally, they may sell your information on the “dark web”.

How do I know if my information was affected?   

If your information was in danger, Capital One or Equifax may reach out to you. However, make sure that your statements seem accurate and there isn’t any suspicious activity in your card. If so, contact your credit card issuer as soon as possible.   

You can also consider placing credit freezes with the major credit reporting bureaus, which will help prevent cyber thieves from opening new accounts without your knowledge. Locking your credit report can help control who has access to it, but existing creditors can still access your report for account review needs. These credit freezes are free. Keep in mind you’ll need to temporarily lift the freeze if/when you need to apply for a new account, loan or a mortgage. Simply, unlock your Equifax or TransUnion credit report for a credit check. When done, simply relock your credit report with one-click. 

If my information was involved, can I sue?   

Capital One is being proactive by offering free credit monitoring and identity protection to those customers who were affected. Owen & Dunivan law firm can help you find a debt relief agency and can assist you with your credit card negotiations or legal action if your identity is stolen.   

As of July 2019, the Equifax settlement was still pending approval by the U.S. District Court. Once the court approves the Equifax Data Breach Settlement; you can file a claim. You may have been emailed that you’re a potential claimant.

What have Equifax and Capital One done to protect customers?  

Both companies have admitted that mistakes were made and have taken action to correct issues that allowed the data breaches to happen. This includes better monitoring, restricted traffic (even on internal servers), and increased control on who can access certain systems and data networks.   

Additionally, Equifax began a free credit-alert service and offered customers more control over their online data. The company also removed high-level personnel who retired following the breach.  

Tips to Monitor Your Credit  

Even if your data made it unscathed in these breaches, it’s recommended that you always monitor your credit card statement for any unusual and suspicious activity. Immediately report any unusual activity to your bank or credit institution.   

Additional steps you can take to protect your credit and identity are:   

  • If you are suspicious of fraud in your credit, immediately place a fraud alert within your credit card issuer. By setting up a fraud alert, any of the three major credit reporting agencies will notify you if anyone attempts to apply for credit under your name.  
  • You can always freeze your credit if you would to like to prevent anyone from opening other credit cards or loans under your name. You will have to request a freeze with each of the credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). It’s free, quick, and easy and can be done over the phone or online. When you freeze your account, no new charges can be added to your card.  
  • When shopping online, be aware that the website begins with “https”, this ensures that there are additional security features to protect your information. Keep in mind that whenever you purchase something with your credit card, there will always be some level of risk.   

Protecting Your Private Information  

With Capital One and Equifax breaches impacting millions of Americans, it’s unclear what may happen for some consumers in the future. All the sensitive data that was obtained during these data breaches may be used to steal your identity.  

Your credit is highly important when it comes to your home and staying out of bankruptcy. We suggest you monitor your bank and credit card statements each month. Regularly checking your credit reports –you can set up email alerts- and report any unusual or suspicious activity you see.  

If your information was part of the breach, credit monitoring companies may be in contact with you. If you would like a professional to oversee and review your financial accounts and explain how the data breach may impact your case, contact the consumer protection law office of Owen & Dunivan for more information.   

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DEFENDING YOUR RIGHTS, STATEWIDE!

DEFENDING YOUR RIGHTS, STATEWIDE!

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