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For you landlords out there or for your residential property managers, what about this idea for your tenants who are unable to pay rent?

It allows a 50% reduction in rent to be paid by using escrowed deposits for two months, replenishment within 180 days, and extends the lease for two months.  Those deposit accounts are sitting around doing nothing, we may as well be using them!!  Tenant pays nothing now, and landlord gets 50% now.

If you like this idea, please share (but add my email in case a landlord or property manager would like legal advice on how to handle a specific matter).  Christie@christiearkovich.com.

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One of our clients had a sale date on March 25, 2020 that was moved to May 20, 2020.  While our clients had already moved out, they are very appreciative of the additional time to safely remove their belongings.  There is a lot more relief to come!

This benefits the mortgage companies too in that it keeps their employee and contractor activity to a minimum to turn around this property during our Safer at Home period of time.

“HUD issued letter dated March 18, 2020, “to inform mortgagees of foreclosure and eviction moratorium for all FHA-insured Single Family Mortgages for a period of 60-days.” The letter can be found at:

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grocery-cart-emptyMy first consult this week was for a former client who just learned of a bank garnishment of his joint bank account with his wife from an old Cach final judgment that he thought was vacated and dismissed.  The entire account was frozen.  Plus his wife’s next check couldn’t be stopped from being deposited and taken.

How did he learn of this?  When he was at the grocery store to buy food for his family in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.  After carefully avoiding everyone and loading his cart with what he could find – he walked away with nothing.  He didn’t have money to pay us, but since we had been compassionate to him in the past, he thought, why not contact us, perhaps there is something we could do.

Fortunately, we were able to secure with the opposing attorney, a dissolution of the writ of garnishment and all the money in his joint bank account will be released in just a day or two.  In the meantime, our client has borrowed some funds from a neighbor.  This could happen to anyone — this client had no idea that this old judgment was out there, and that bank account was his emergency fund.  He lost his job in Europe and had no credit cards.  His wife works at a local Tampa Bay retailer and just had her hours cut.  I sincerely appreciate opposing counsel who timely communicated with me in this urgent matter to get it resolved now and without the necessity of a court hearing, which could take a few weeks!

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mortgageHow do I make my mortgage payments for the next three months?

When people asked and learned that I am able to work from home, they are a little envious. What they don’t understand is that one cannot “work from home” indefinitely. At some point, there will be no work to work from home. There will be no new clients, no new orders, and the pipeline of work will stop.  Hourly workers, contract workers, and salaried workers alike are on the same boat; our income will be greatly reduced or terminated altogether. While some of us have savings, few have sufficient savings to last us several months and our housing expense will be first and foremost on our list of concerns. If you have lost income due to COVID-19, there are things you can do to qualify for relief from your mortgage payments.

Federal regulators, through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are ordering lenders to offer flexibility to homeowners; about one half of the home loans in the country, those guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie, will be affected by this policy. However, the entire mortgage industry is expected to follow suit. Forbearance from mortgage payments could last up to 12 months, depending on the borrower’s particular situation, according to Mark Calabria, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  While this type of relief is neither debt forgiveness or free money, it will keep you from falling into the trap of default and foreclosure.

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living-willI’ve noticed a great deal of anxiety about people who have put off getting essential documents in place:  Durable powers of attorney, medical surrogate, living wills, regular wills and trusts.  This includes not only POAs and medical care decision making, but also planning ahead for advice to protect hard-earned assets and inheritances.

Most of our friends, colleagues and clients think of us as student loan and bankruptcy/debt relief attorneys.  Ironically, we were in the process of opening a new practice area for Elder Care.  Before this crisis, we’d hired a new elder care attorney with 27 years legal experience.  Ha Dao just started with us on Monday.  The timing of this is both good and bad.  Bad in that I’m guessing our student loan work will significantly drop off unless people are now sitting around home growing more concerned about this debt and how to get rid of it.  Good in that we now have the ability to do estate planning and elder care.

The first things we were going to do is get our website re-vamped to include tons of elder care resources, but now I’m thinking with this urgent need, to offer the following for our friends, colleagues and clients starting immediately:

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https://www.tampabankruptcylawyerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2015/07/christie_d._arkovich_p.a_1_small.jpgWe’ve gathered some information below for folks with student related questions if their job/business/income has been impacted by the CoronaVirus/COVID-19:

Here some info below on servicers and US Dept of ED current updates:

  • Nelnet; currently open “attempting to keep call centers staffed, however use online options”  Offers: Deferment, forbearance
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Ugly-truth-about-debt-relief-companiesI just found an eye opening video by Gary Fraley, a certified bankruptcy attorney in California, on why debt relief companies should be avoided!

Watch the video – it’s short, to the point, and there’s a cool saddle in the back ground — looks like a former Texas transplant to California.  I kept looking for a cowboy hat, but that’s probably in his Ford truck hung on the rifle rack.  Okay, I may have been watching too many Ranches on Netflix lately!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP1BVHdsexc

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https://www.tampabankruptcylawyerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2015/07/christie_d._arkovich_p.a_1_small.jpgLawyers often spend too much time focused on whether a debtor meets the Brunner test for undue hardship that they miss major opportunities to reduce and eliminate federal and private student loan debt.  Many people are in forbearance for years while their loan balances continue to grow.  Taking advantage of Income Driven Plans in bankruptcy by using the Buchanan language and the new Student Loan Management Program in the Middle District of Florida can save tens of thousands of dollars.

How else can a student loan attorney help?  By ensuring borrowers are placed in the correct IDR plans which can often save hundreds per month and allow for full forgiveness.  Helping borrowers to understand and minimize the tax consequences.  Curing defaults to stop wage garnishment, social security offset and tax intercepts.  Helping borrowers ensure they are properly enrolled in Public Service Loan Forgiveness – to avoid being one of the 99.5% who are being denied this relief.

Private non-qualified, non-school certified, loans are subject to discharge.  Recent case law permits the discharge of private loans to attend ineligible schools, Bar Study or Tuition Answer loans or for debt incurred beyond the cost of the education.  Cases such as In re Kashikar, In re Campbell, In re Dufrane, In re Wiley, In re Essangui and In re Decena are paving the way to creating Florida precedent for discharge such as in In re Lysiuk and In re Lytkina a/k/a Mulligan.  We help consumers to take control of their student loans and create a plan for a reduced amount of debt, and an affordable payment with an end in sight.  Settlements outside of bankruptcy are also possible, although this will cause a taxable event for the forgiveness (which does not occur in a bankruptcy).

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Some of you probably already realize this, but all the old Roadrunner accounts (tampabay.rr.com) are being discontinued by Spectrum.  It’s odd because some emails are coming through, but replies back and other emails are not.  However, bounce backs are not being sent either.  Our main email used to be cdalaw@tampabay.rr.com.  We’ve switched to christie@christiearkovich several years ago, but the old one is still out there.  If you are trying to reach us, please use the new email.  Our intake email for potential clients is on our website:  sandra@christiearkovich.com.

You may also have friends with the old roadunner address who aren’t responding to you — reach out to them by phone, they may not know of the problem yet!

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