In a case that may inspire some Florida homeowners facing foreclosure, a U.S. bankruptcy judge granted a Detroit resident a 30-day adjournment on April 4 to prevent him from being evicted from his home. The man, who was severely injured in an accident in 2005, fell behind on mortgage payments for his home as he waited for his Social Security payments to start. He sought forbearance from his lender, Wells Fargo Bank, but did not receive any help, and his home was foreclosed on.
The disabled man subsequently filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank and Fannie Mae to stop the eviction and foreclosure process. During the hearing, he addressed the judge and explained his circumstances. The lawyer for Fannie Mae argued that all the correct legal steps were taken in the foreclosure. Although the judge agreed that the law was clear and the man didn’t make his payments, law wasn’t everything.
The ruling stunned many in the legal field because it was rather unconventional. The adjournment wasn’t a dismissal of the eviction as the man was granted a 30-day adjournment to allow the court to appoint a pro bono lawyer. However, he will have a chance to appeal and keep his home.
Many Florida residents facing foreclosure may try the same legal maneuver that the Detroit man did, particularly if they have extenuating circumstances, and hope that the judge presiding over their case will be compassionate. However, filing bankruptcy is another, more practical option. People can file Chapter 13 in any stage of the foreclosure process, including before the auction occurs. Filing this type of bankruptcy allows homeowners to make mortgage payments to a trustee and mortgage lender. It also grants homeowners an automatic stay that prevents lenders from completing the foreclosure process. A Florida bankruptcy lawyer may help homeowners begin the filing process.
Source: Workers World, “Judge stops eviction of homeowner with disabilities,” David Sole, April 4, 2013