Florida Homeowners’ Complaints Rise Against Attorneys
The Florida Bar reported that they have received over 1,400 complaints against attorneys in Florida that are related to the housing crisis.
Let me preface that Richard Zaretsky and Marlyn Weiner are attorneys we refer sellers to. These two attorneys are ethical. Let me also say that there are good attorneys and bad attorneys just as there are good real estate agents and bad real estate agents.
Sometimes if a homeowner has not been paying their mortgage payment for many years and their attorney is not getting paid to defend them anymore, they may lose their home eventually to a foreclosure. The disgruntled homeowner than complains that his attorney committed fraud.
Marlyn Weiner says this is the most common call out, fraud. But not all cases are fraudulent.
In fact, so many complaints are coming in that the Florida Bar had to start a loan modification category, a mortgage fraud category and a foreclosure fraud category. None of these categories existed before 2010.
The first recorded loan modification complaint was in November of 2010. I won’t say any names but I can bet I know who that complaint was against. There was this one attorney who was doing loan modifications and foreclosure defense and several of our sellers had hired him. He did not even show up to the foreclosure hearing as agreed in one of the cases. In another case, he took our sellers money for services to defend them in a foreclosure and he never responded to the plaintiff’s counsel.
The number of complaints is not stopping either. The Florida Bar had to an attorney to help the ones that are buried in these complaints. They have never seen anything like this in the history of the Florida Bar. This one attorney is trying to take care of these cases. The complaints account for 17% of all the open Bar cases.
Consumers are complaining about the conduct of attorneys. So far 793 cases are now opened.
So far 208 of the 1,394 housing- related cases resulted in some form of disciplinary actions against the attorneys in the complaints. The disciplinary actions range from public reprimand to disbarment.
The biggest problem is that many lawyers took classes in loan modifications and then started to process them. But just going to a class does not make you proficient in doing loan modifications.
Here in Florida a law passed in 2010 requiring licensing for any person or entity doing loan modifications in this state.
In 2008 a Florida law was passed that bans charging up front fees to do loan modifications.
Attorneys were the exception to this law. Marlyn told us that many of those third party loan modification companies then approached lawyers to make deals with them in order to continue to run their businesses here but through the attorney’s firm. Many of these attorneys must not be happy with this arrangment they got themselves into.
We believe that the next wave of complaints will be coming from homeowners who felt they were pushed into doing Deed in Lieu instead of short sales. Many attorneys get paid up front and a flat fee rather quickly for getting a Deed in Lieu through instead of waiting for a short sale to get approved.
If you are facing foreclosure- you do have options. Contact Nestor Gasset or Katerina Gasset at 561-753-0135 to go over your options. A Florida short sale may be an option for you. We offer a no obligation confidential phone interview. Don’t wait until a court date is in your hand to act.
Katerina Gasset is the author of http://www.wellingtonfloridashortsales.com. Katerina Gasset is the homeschool mother of 9 children and wife to Nestor Gasset. Katerina Gasset is also a writer, author, speaker, Realtor®, SEO coach, blogging coach and business entrepreneur and consultant.