Archive for March, 2015

Foreclosures Slowing Down

Monday, March 30th, 2015

According to Fox News, US homes entering foreclosure process slowed to near 8-year low in August.

foreclosure notice


Lenders initiated foreclosure action in August against the fewest U.S. homes for any month in nearly eight years, a trend that should help reduce the number of homes lost to foreclosure in the months ahead.

Some 55,775 homes entered the foreclosure process last month, a decline of 8 percent from July and down 44 percent from August last year, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

The national slowdown in foreclosure starts reflects an improving housing market, steady job growth and fewer troubled loans dating back to the pre-housing bubble days.

While the risk of foreclosure remains elevated in several states, including Florida, Nevada and Ohio, the pace of homes starting on the foreclosure path has been declining nationally in concert with the housing market rebound.

At their current pace, RealtyTrac expects monthly foreclosure starts to fall to around 52,000 a month early next year. That’s the pace the company considers normal.

“We’re not quite there, but almost there,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac.

Foreclosure starts fell on an annual basis last month in 38 states, including Colorado, Arizona, Washington and California. They increased on a monthly basis in 17 states, including Nevada, Ohio and New York, the firm said.

All told, foreclosure starts have declined on an annual basis the past 13 months, aided by rising home values, which make it easier for homeowners who may have been in negative equity, or owed more than their home was worth, to refinance or sell their home.

Some 7.1 million homes, or 14.5 percent of all U.S. homes with a mortgage, were in negative equity at the end of the second quarter, according to data provider CoreLogic. That’s down from 9.6 million, or 19.7 percent of homes with a mortgage, in the previous three months.

Through the first half of this year, nearly 3.5 million homeowners have returned to positive equity, CoreLogic said.

While fewer homes are entering the foreclosure process, lenders have stepped up home repossessions in recent months.

Completed foreclosures rose 6 percent last month versus July, the third monthly increase in four months.

Much of the increase came about in states where courts oversee the foreclosure process. Those courts were backed up with cases two years ago, but have been making progress working through their backlog.

The number of homes taken back by banks last month climbed on an annual basis in 23 states, including New York, Florida and New Jersey, but was down 25 percent nationally, RealtyTrac said.

As Aug. 31, there were about 1.3 million homes in some stage of foreclosure or owned by banks, down about 5 percent from a year earlier.

Completed foreclosures are now on track to finish the year at 490,000, down about 26 percent from 2012’s total, Blomquist said.

Foreclosures peaked in 2010 at 1.05 million and have been declining ever since. The trend has been accelerating as U.S. home prices have increased and the job market has improved.

Blomquist expects foreclosures nationally will reach a normal level around the first quarter of 2015.

It could take a bit longer in states like Nevada, which topped the nation last month with a foreclosure rate of more than two and a half times the national average.

RealtyTrac measures foreclosure rate by tallying the number of homes that receive a foreclosure-related filing, such as an initial default notices or a notice of scheduled auction.

If you are facing foreclosure or any other financial challenge, perhaps you should consult with Carolyn Secor.  Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.

Statue of Limitations on Credit Card Debt

Friday, March 13th, 2015
If you have some old credit card debt hanging around, you are probably wondering if you are still legally obligated to pay that debt. We have all heard of the statute of limitations. You might be wondering how that applies to credit card debt. Thanks and a tip of the hat  to Patricia Dzikowski, attorney from Sunrise, Florida.
credit card, computer

Florida Statute of Limitations on Credit Card Debt

Under Florida law, there are generally two different statutes of limitations that can apply to credit card debt. If there is a signed written contract, the statute is 5 years. If there is no written contract, the statute is 4 years. For most credit card accounts, the statute of limitations under Florida law is 4 years.  Of course, this can get more complicated and, in some situations, the statute can be less than 4 years. If the card terms state that another state’s law is controlling and the law in that state sets a shorter time to file suit, Florida courts have found that the credit card company is limited to that shorter period of time. If the time is longer under the other state’s law, it is likely that the Florida courts will apply Florida law and disregard the longer time period.

You Must Assert Your Rights under the Statute

The fact that a debt is time barred does not prevent the filing of a lawsuit automatically. If you are sued on a debt after the statute of limitations has run, you must answer the lawsuit and assert the statute of limitations as a defense. If you do not respond, a judgment will likely be entered against you. Once a judgment is entered, the creditor has even more time to collect.  If properly filed and/or recorded, a judgment can create a lien on your property for up to 20 years, or longer if additional court action is taken.

Telephone Calls and Letters From Collection Agencies

It is not illegal for collection agents to call you to try to convince you to pay a debt which is beyond the statute of limitations. In fact, there is a large market for the purchase and sale of old debt. Collectors will call to try to get a payment or a promise to pay. Unscrupulous collectors may try to convince you that the debt is still collectible or that something you said or did made old debt collectible again. There are laws which require debt collectors to provide you with accurate information when you ask about the date of your last payment and whether the debt time barred, but not everyone is concerned about following the law and often you are given incorrect information or the collector refuses to answer. To protect yourself, it might be a good idea not to engage in conversation with them at all.

Can Old Debt Be Revived in Florida?

It is possible to revive old debt, restarting the time period for the statute of limitations.  You can reset the clock on old debt in Florida by making a payment or by entering into to written agreement to pay the debt in whole or part. A promise to pay that is not in writing and signed by you does not revive old debt in Florida.

Calculating the Florida Statute of Limitations on Credit Card Debt

If the terms of your credit card agreement required payments on account as most do, the statute of limitation would begin to run after the last payment you made. The time period can be tolled, or paused, under certain circumstances. The time period may have been tolled if you
..were absent from the state when the period ran out
..used a false name
..otherwise concealed yourself to avoid being served with the lawsuit
Attorneys Fees and Other Remedies

There are federal and state laws that protect consumers from unscrupulous debt collectors and attorneys who sue on time barred debt. If these laws are violated, you may be entitled to compensation, including your actual damages, statutory damages of up to $1,000 per violation, and attorneys fees and costs.
Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.s.