Zombie Foreclosures and the Rights You Have When Faced with a Foreclosure Notice

In Florida, and across the country, many homeowners faced with a foreclosure notice pack up and just desert the home under the assumption that the bank will take over the property and sell it to someone else. However, after the 2008 real estate crash, many banks were confronted with thousands of vacant homes that were left to languish while the title remained in the vacated homeowner’s name. This led to the term “zombie foreclosure” joining common parlance in the real estate world.

Image Source (CC BY 2.0) by kozemchuk via flickr
Image Source (CC BY 2.0) by kozemchuk via flickr

According to the Q2 2015 Zombie Foreclosure Report released by RealtyTrac, the nation’s leading source for comprehensive housing data, over 127,000 homes actively in the foreclosure process were vacated by homeowners prior to a completed foreclosure. This represents 24 percent of all active foreclosures. Among all states, Florida came in at the second highest in zombie foreclosures  with one in every 324 housing units, surpassed only by New Jersey’s one in every 210 housing units. Florida was closely followed by New York which had one in every 476 housing units, Nevada’s one in every 495 housing units, and Indiana’s one in every 574 housing units.

You Are Not Off the Hook If You Vacated Your Home

If you vacated your home because it was in foreclosure, you do not get off entirely free. Since title is never transferred out of your name, you are still legally obligated to pay for certain debts and expenses such as property taxes, maintenance on the property, any HOA dues, etc. These debts can further ruin your credit score and result in your being hounded by debt collectors for years. In fact, if you suddenly vacate your property and title is never transferred out of your name, the following could happen months, or years, later:

  • You may owe the IRS thousands of dollars in back property taxes;
  • You may face a lawsuit filed by your homeowners association for thousands of dollars in unpaid assessments; and/or
  • You may receive a bill for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollar from the local government for repairs, yard work, trash removal, etc.

Stay in Your Home as Long as Possible

As you can see, letting your home become a zombie property has significant downsides. Simply leaving your home does not make the problem go away.

Speak to an Experienced Foreclosure Defense Law Firm Today

If you have been served with a foreclosure notice, don’t just pack up your things and go. Take the time to seek competent legal representation to determine whether the bank even has the right to foreclose on your property. Learn what options are available and have an experienced foreclosure defense lawyer protect your rights. Contact Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, PA for a free, confidential consultation. At the consultation, one of our experienced attorneys will talk with you about your situation and whether any viable defenses are available to combat the foreclosure. If a defense applies, you can take on the bank, with the help of your attorney, and fight to keep your home.