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Richard Paul Zaretsky
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Richard Zaretsky’s Answers

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  • What constitutes "Notice of Intent" as related to beginning the Statute of Limitations under Florida Foreclosure Law?

    In 2009, upon discharge from a bankruptcy in which a HELOC loan was included, I received a letter stating that the HELOC bank recognized the bankruptcy and " will commence foreclosure proceedings". This was the only notice I ever received. In ...

    Richard’s Answer

    I think the statute of limitations issue is a red herring.

    The statute of repose is what controls the continued lien on the property. Since the statute of repose had not run (apparently), the enforceability of the note / funds due in court is not the issue - the issue is must the bank release its mortgage for some lesser amount.

    Since the answer is no they don't, they collected their funds for a release of the lien -

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  • How can I amend my property deed , from my brother and I being husband and wife , to just my brother and I being single ?

    My home property deed was entered as my brother and I being mutually married. At the time of the home purchase we were both single. I need the deed to reflect that we were single at the time and that we are brother and sister. Amend the deed.

    Richard’s Answer

    I understand that the deed as it exists names each of you as married, presumably to each other. As this is inaccurate what you need is not to amend the existing deed but to correct it which would require the grantor of the deed to sign a new corrected deed that explains why the corrected deed is being signed and recorded (to correct the marital status of the grantees at the time of the transfer).

    Hopefully this easy fix is available to you because the grantor (seller) can be found to do this for you.

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  • HOA balance 5+ years old after Third Party winning Foreclosure, is it valid?

    I purchased a foreclosure through the Broward County foreclosure sale. The Bank foreclosed on the previous owner, and I was the successful highest bidder. The HOA sent me a demand letter for amounts due, for which I requested a ledger. On the...

    Richard’s Answer

    Mr. Woodward is - as usual - correct.
    I would add that the statute of limitations of 5 years is a law that blocks the enforcement of an obligation that is more than five years old. But the "enforcement" is access to the courts. So the association cannot sue you for the portions that upon filing the suit were more than 5 years delinquent.

    But the association can still send you letters to collect the money, And they can still ding your credit.

    The question that remains is does the Association retain the right to include the 5 year plus delinquent amounts in the lien that they file? I think they can (without having researched this further).

    For example, if you were to sell your house, you will need an estoppel letter from the association so you can provide clear title. The delinquent amounts can be on the estoppel letter as they are valid obligations associated with that property. So now the question is can you sell the property while ignoring the amounts more than 5 years delinquent and provide insurable title? Perhaps some attorney representing title underwriters can answer this. Technically I think they can issue title as there is no way to contest the title to the property by the association. On the other hand, title insurers never insure where there is a possibility of a suit and that knowledge is here known right up front. When you sell the property the new owner is going to become liable for your unpaid debt. What buyer will want that - even if it cannot be brought to court?

    And another point is that although the debt is not enforceable in court - it will continue even if you sell the property. In other words, you remain liable until it is paid, regardless of who pays it.

    So the end result is that the association is left with an unenforceable (by way of the courts) debt but its mere continued existence will haunt you forever.

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  • My home was foreclosed and sold to a 3rd party, but I now discovered the Assignment was invalid. Can I get my home back?

    Details: 1. I fell behind my mortgage payments b/c the house was worth less than the mortgage, so I stopped paying. 2. Bank started foreclosure proceedings. 3. I attempted to negotiate a short sale, but has no successful. 4. I raised various...

    Richard’s Answer

    The time to have raised this defense was in your original case. The key here is not whether you knew of the assignment issue before the trial, but whether the assignment issue could have been known by you back then. Since the answer is the latter, the fact that now you realized the assignment has an issue is not "newly discovered evidence".

    Your case is over based on your short history presented in your question.

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  • Question about attorney fee's....

    I am selling a house to my rental tenant. He has a "real estate lawyer" friend who is capable of performing the closing. The lawyer made it clear she is "his" lawyer and not mine. I'm ok with this as she drew up a standard real estate contract tha...

    Richard’s Answer

    You need to separate the attorney representing the buyer from the attorney performing the closing services. Closing services typically include providing the title insurance, preparing the documents and reviewing and satisfying or complying with the contract and title commitment requirements. Those latter functions are typically done by a closing agent or attorney selected by the Seller (here in Palm Beach County at least it is typical) and paid for by the Seller.

    You should not be paying for the legal representation of the Buyer, but you should be paying for other aspects of the seller contract obligations.

    I have not seen your contract but take a look and you likely will see what i am referring to.

    Having your own attorney is always preferable.

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  • What can I do to get around my former boss's non compete/non solicit agreement with my current company, so I can go work for her

    Here's the situation, the former CEO of our company (X) left in Jan of 2016, and he has a non compete/non solicit agreement in place for a year (meaning he can't reach out and poach people that still work here at X for one year, until Jan 2017. La...

    Richard’s Answer

    I have two responses:

    1. An attorney needs to understand the agreement you and /or your boss signed and then apply it to the facts you have recited to give you an opinion on what options you have.

    2. Having said that, i am assuming you signed an agreement to likely address the very issues you are trying to avoid. Contracts are generally strictly enforced and that is why your employer is seeking legal redress. Expect next that if they see you were active in the solicitation to work for your former work colleague that your actions (including your advising him) are likely a breach of your employment and confidentiality agreements and subject you to immediate termination for cause, with all the negative impacts that brings to you. Sounds like you conspired to have the violation occur.

    This is a very serious matter - seek counsel immediately.

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  • Very late invoice

    We receive an invoice 7 years later from a business in FL (we are located in AZ). 1- Is there a statute of limitations for a bill in FL/AZ? 2- The bill was NEVER presented to us, doe sit change anything? 3- We never agreed to it, were never ask...

    Richard’s Answer

    Yes it sounds strange.
    Generally an invoice would evidence a written contract. In Florida the statute of limitations on written contracts is 5 years. Certain other actions would typically be 4 years. A statute of limitations means that the obligation cannot be enforced in a court of law in Florida. It does not mean the creditor cannot ask to be paid.

    A statute of limitations can be "stayed" which essentially means it can be extended if the debtor (you) was hiding their location from the creditor or otherwise unavailable.

    An attorney can provide more details on the collectability of this alleged obligation and you should seek out some definitive advice.

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  • Who is liable?

    Wells Fargo lawyers, in a foreclosure case, sent me papers related to two other cases, and as a result I wasn't notified of two hearings. At the first hearing they got my Counterclaim dismissed. At the second hearing, they got the Order of Forecl...

    Richard’s Answer

    You should see an attorney and determine if you have any due process violations that could overturn the sale and the dismissal of your counterclaim based on you not having notice, much less proper notice.

    It is unlikely that you have any claim against the attorneys for what will end up being some administrative staff member screwing up on the mailings.

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  • Parent's home was illegally foreclosed without proper notice and sold to third party. What will happen?

    My parents had a mortgage on their home, which they had consistently been paying for the past 6 years. This home is their homestead resident which they've been residing in continuously since they purchased it 6 years ago. Apparently, they had ...

    Richard’s Answer

    The question is whether there was due process of law. This comes down to whether the bank had a good address for them and did not use it for service of process. If there was no due process (proper service) then it does not matter that the home was sold and renovated - the judgment should be vacated and the sale cancelled. So this is a very important analysis to see if the bank was at fault for not providing the proper notice to the borrowers through correspondence or service of process -- and how timely your parents address the problem once they know about it.

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  • Selling homes in absence of owner

    I have a condo in USA and I am out of country for a while. How can I sell my condo when I am out of US ? Thanks

    Richard’s Answer

    You do not have to be locally present to sign a contract or even sign the transfer documents. These can all be done using FedX or similar and some documents can even be sent by email.

    What you will find however is that the documents that need notarization will need to be notarized in the country in which you are signing them. Notary laws and tradition in some countries have the notary as an important official rather than a person who merely affixes attestations. There may be a cost to getting a notary to sign a document and you will need to make an appointment for that meeting. In some cases you can get the United States Embassy or Consulate to notarize or seal the document.

    Other than this somewhat burdensome requirement and effect of you being outside the United States, there is no other impediment to your selling a property located in the United States.

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