Foreclosure

Homeowners in Florida are in crisis because the Florida foreclosure rate is one of the highest in the nation. Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida is responding to this crisis by providing high-quality legal assistance and representation to homeowners faced with foreclosure.

Home Foreclosure document and legal gavelCommunity Legal Services of Mid-Florida has set up a Foreclosure Hotline to help eligible residents of Central Florida facing foreclosure. We cannot guarantee representation. However, we can provide you with information you may need to keep your home.

Are you eligible?

  • I own my home and it is my primary residence;
  • I live in one of the following counties: Citrus, Flagler, Hernando, Lake, Marion, Osceola, Putnam, Sumter or Volusia; and;
  • I meet the income eligibility requirements.

Income eligibility: Your eligibility will depend on the size of your household and your income. For example, if there is only one member in your household, you cannot make more than $31,597.50 annually. But if you have a large family, the income requirements can be as high as $100,000 or more. When you call, you will be asked questions about your income and a determination will be made at that time. Note – just because you have been turned down for help based on income requirements in the past does not mean that you will not qualify for this service. The income requirements are different for the Foreclosure Program.

What is Foreclosure?

Foreclosure is the legal process in which a bank or lender sells or repossesses a parcel of real property after the owner has failed to comply with an agreement between the lender and borrower. Commonly, the violation of the mortgage is a default on the payment of a promissory note, secured by a lien on the property. When the process is complete, the lender can sell the property and keep the proceeds to pay off its mortgage and any legal costs, and it is typically said, “the lender has foreclosed its mortgage or lien.

Common Mortgage Scams

Beware of mortgage scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Below are some common mortgage scams that frequently fool homeowners. If you have any doubt about the services you are signing up for, stop and investigate. It may mean the difference between keeping your home and losing it to a scam artist.

Equity Stripping

Investors sometimes take properties from foreclosed homeowners in exchange for allowing the homeowner to stay in the property as a tenant. Because of the complexity of the transaction and false assurances given by rescue scammers, victims are often unaware that they are giving away their property and their equity. Do not sign the deed to your home over to a mortgage rescue company unless you are sure that you want to give up ownership of the home!

Bogus Counseling

Some groups calling themselves “counseling agencies” may approach you and offer to stop the foreclosure for a large fee. These could well be services you could do for yourself or available that are free, such as:

  • Refinancing your mortgage
  • Negotiating a payment plan
  • Requesting a forbearance
  • Filing an insurance claim
  • Entering a reverse mortgage
  • Selling a home

Under new rules, mortgage relief companies may not collect any fees until they have provided consumers with a written offer from their lender or servicers that the consumer decides is acceptable, and a written document from the lender or servicer describing the key changes to the mortgage that would result if you accept the offer.

Find a list of free HUD-approved housing counseling agencies here or call 1-888-995-HOPE 24 hours a day to speak to housing counselors that can help you in over 160 languages.

Bogus Attorneys

A non-lawyer cannot help you with your legal problem. Only a licensed member of The Florida Bar can give you legal advice. If someone else helps you with your legal problem, he or she may be prosecuted for the unlicensed practice of law and your case may be affected. Attorneys may be exempt from the advance fee ban outlined above if they are following state law and if they place the fee in a client trust account.

What To Do If You’re A Victim

  • Keep a written record of all attempted and actual contacts and conversations with the lender, real estate agent, mortgage broker, appraiser, loan servicer or title company;
  • Keep all documents, including loan applications, letters of denial and other related materials; and
  • Report the misconduct.

Contact CLSMF’s Fair Housing Program at (407) 841-7777 ext. 2106 or email us now!

Additional Resources

CLSMF has published a series of brochures on the following topics:

Filing an Answer to Foreclosure

Filing an Answer to a Foreclosure under the New Law

Foreclosure

Foreclosure for Renters

Foreclosure prevention – Your guide to workout options

Guide to Homeowners Facing Foreclosure Bilingual

Loan Modification Scam

Mortgage Rescue Scam Prevention

Reverse Mortgages