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Bank of America to Extending Home Loan Modifications as a Result of Settlement

By Platt & Westby, P.C. | May 10, 2012

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced a $25 billion settlement between the five largest banks in the U.S. to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses. The settlement includes Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial. Most of the $25 billion settlement is supposed to go toward reducing mortgage payments for troubled homeowners. 

There are two big ways this settlement differs from previous programs. For one, it’s the only large-scale program that includes principal reductions. Banks will be required to do partial loan forgiveness. Secondly, compliance from the lenders is mandatory, which distinguishes it from other programs that have been voluntary. 

Bank of America Home Loans, one of the five major banks involved in the settlement, has purportedly been reaching out to customers who may be eligible for forgiveness of a portion of the principal balance on their mortgage under the terms of the settlement. 

Bank of America began sending out letters in a targeted outreach to more than 200,000 potential candidates for this assistance. The bank estimates average monthly savings of 30 percent on mortgage payments of customers who qualify for this program.

Under Arizona Law, How Do I Evict A Residential Tenant Who Does Not Pay Rent?

By Platt & Westby, P.C. | April 19, 2012

In a residential eviction action the landlord must first give the tenant written notice that the tenant has five calendar days to pay the rent. At a minimum, the five day notice must tell the tenant that the tenant is behind in the rent and state the amount of money the tenant must pay to cure the default. The notice must also tell the tenant that the lease will terminate unless the tenant pays the entire amount due on or before the expiration of five days from the date the tenant receives the five day notice. The notice may be hand-delivered to the tenant or sent by certified or registered mail. If the notice is sent by certified or registered mail, the judge will assume the tenant received the notice on the date the tenant signs for it, or five calendar days after it was mailed, whichever occurs first.

If the tenant does not cure the default, the landlord can file a forcible detainer complaint in court. Typically, forcible detainer actions in Arizona are filed in justice court. If damages are greater than $10,000, then the case must be filed in superior court. The complaint should ask for a writ of restitution (eviction), possession of the premises, all late rent, all late fees, rent due through the end of the current periodic rental period, the landlord’s court costs, and attorney’s fees if applicable. Attach a copy of the lease agreement and the five day notice to the complaint.

Trial is typically set by the court clerk three to six business days after the complaint is filed. The landlord must have the summons and complaint served on the tenant at least two days before the trial date. The tenant should be personally served with the summons and complaint either by a constable or by a private process server.

If personal service cannot be obtained, then the process server may post the summons and complaint on the front door of the residence within one day of filing the complaint, and on the same day the summons and complaint must be sent to the tenant’s address by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the process server succeeds in obtaining personal service on the tenant, he will file an “affidavit of service” with the court. If the process server cannot personally serve the tenant, he will file an “affidavit of attempted service” with the court.

Bank of America Speeding Up Short-Sale Process

By Platt & Westby, P.C. | April 12, 2012

Bank of America is reportedly rolling out a new short-sale process which is designed to reduce the time it takes to obtain approval from the bank by as much as half. Purportedly, the reduced time to obtain a decision is a result of improvements in their management software. For more information, click here. A short sale is a sale of your home for less than what is owed on it. Typically, after an offer is received, the seller has to…

Guardianship And Conservatorships For Adults

By Platt & Westby, P.C. | April 4, 2012

As grandparents, parents or other family members grow older, they often get to a place where they need the assistance of others to make decisions regarding their person or the property. At those times when prior planning has not been accomplished or is not sufficient, Court intervention may be necessary in the form of a guardianship and/or conservatorship. A guardian is a person appointed by the Court to make decisions for a Ward in regards to their health and where…

Cancellation Of Indebtedness To Be Extended?

By Platt & Westby, P.C. | March 30, 2012

The National Association of Realtors (NAR)reports that President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget presented to Congress in February, 2012 includes a recommendation to extend the mortgage cancellation tax relief provisions. Currently, homeowners who have their home foreclosed are not required to count the forgiven debt as taxable income. However, the provisions excluding the cancelled debt are set to expire on December 31, 2012. At the time of NAR’s report, it was expected that bills would be introduced in both the…

Non-Parent Custody of Minor Children

By Platt & Westby, P.C. | February 22, 2012

In certain circumstances it may be necessary for someone other than a child’s parents to have custody of the child, often this is a grandparent and is sometimes referred to as Grandparent’s Rights. If a person other than a child’s legal parent is seeking custody, there is a rebuttable presumption that it is in the child’s best interest to award custody to a legal parent. To rebut this presumption the non-parent must show by clear and convincing evidence that awarding…

Recent Appeals Court Case Expands Arizona Anti-Deficiency Protection for Arizona Homeowners

By Platt & Westby, P.C. | February 2, 2012

In the case of M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank v. Mueller, 1 CA-CV 10-804, the Arizona Court of Appeals expanded Arizona’s anti-deficiency protection (under A.R.S. § 33-814(G)) to protect borrowers whose property is foreclosed upon even while it is under construction, so long as they intend to occupy the home upon completion. In that case, the Muellers purchased a plot of vacant land and borrowed $444,000 from M&I Bank to construct a single-family home on the property for their own…

Covenant Marriages

By Platt & Westby, P.C. | January 4, 2012

In 1998, Arizona incorporated into statute a new type of marriage called “covenant marriage.” To enter into a covenant marriage, the couple must first have counseling from a member of the clergy or a marriage counselor. Then, when applying for a license to be married, both persons must show their intention to enter into a covenant marriage by signing a special statement on the application form. In a covenant marriage, divorce may be granted by the court only for specific…

Starting Over After Bankruptcy

By Platt & Westby, P.C. | December 29, 2011

How to rebuild after a bankruptcy is one of the most often asked questions I hear when meeting with people who are considering bankruptcy. The question can differ slightly, such as how much of a hit will my credit score take or, when will I be able to get new credit or, how can I reestablish my credit? However it is asked, you will need to be intentional about rebuilding after a bankruptcy, and here are some thoughts and helpful…

How Do I Establish Paternity?

By Platt & Westby, P.C. | December 16, 2011

In Arizona, if the parents of a child were not married when the mother became pregnant or when the child was born, the child does not have a legal father until paternity is established. Until paternity is legally established, the biological father has no legal rights to the child, such as parenting time with the child, and no legal right to participate in major decisions about the child, such as medical treatment, education or religious training. Paternity can be legally…