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eviction-noticeNow that we are starting to see eviction moratoriums end, I thought this was a good time to discuss how a bankruptcy can be used to gain more time if needed especially for higher wage earners that haven’t found employment yet – perhaps technology has displaced their jobs for instance. All the help wanted signs out there are usually for food service, hospitality industry jobs — not necessarily all jobs.

Tenants of single-family homes financed by the federal government are still protected through September 30.   For all others, landlords must still comply with the rules as they existed prior to the pandemic.

There are various government websites which may have emergency rental assistance – at search for “find rental assistance” and select your state and county.  Here is a link as well.

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Taxes-and-SL-ForgivenessWe’ve received questions about how exactly did the recent stimulus bill affect student loan forgiveness and any resulting taxable event?  Here is the actual text of the change in law below.

As you can see this includes any taxable forgiveness of federal or private student loan debt.

So the time to settle student loans is now, or at least before January 1, 2026.

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FHA-SL-guidelinesAre you looking to buy a house now?  Waiting could cost you as inflationary pressures will likely cause your dollar to decline.  Moreover, interest rates will begin to rise in 2022 – 2023 as the Fed begins to normalize the interest rate.  If you have student loan debt that has prevented you in the past from buying a home, keep reading…

In light of this, mortgages and refinances are a very popular topic now — especially among those with student loan debt.  One big hang up was just resolved.  Previously, a mortgage lender had to use 1% of the outstanding loan balance, even when a borrower was in IDR and the monthly payment reported on the Borrower’s credit report was zero.

We would suggest a temporary fix:  the borrower would exit IDR for a month or two where the payment may have been zero, make a fixed standard or extended payment, apply for the mortgage and after approval, get back into the IDR.  This wasn’t the best fix; however, as it unnecessarily caused a student loan borrower to have the loan capitalize the unpaid interest.  But it did let someone buy a house who otherwise could not.

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Now that the Department of Education (“ED”) is committed to revamping the Borrower Defense to Repayment rules and procedures, I thought it was time to re-visit an old foe.  I was disappointed to find Accrediting Counsel for Independent Colleges and Schools (“ACISC”) was STILL in business.  Despite the sudden closures of ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges under its watch, it’s still out there, in part due to Secretary DeVos’ leadership of ED and former President Trump reinstating the accreditor in 2018.

This year, career staff at ED have again recommended that ACICS lose its accreditation power because it failed to demonstrate that it has competent and knowledgeable individuals, qualified by education and experience.  For example, when ACICS visited Reagan National University and didn’t locate any instructional material, it didn’t even note the lack of materials as a deficiency in its report.  ED stated that several other red flags were overlooked as well during site visits, USA Today reported in March 2021.

There are two levels of reviews and appeals available to ACISC which they are certain to use if nothing else to run out the clock.

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Presenting three topics today for Southern District Florida bankruptcy attorneys who are interested in taking advantage of their new Student Management Program!   Great program so far, tons of material, practice pointers — anyone who couldn’t attend today, contact Tammy Branson in Orlando to purchase the recording.  I wish something like this existed when I first started student loan work on behalf of borrowers.  Would have made a world of difference, and saved me a lot of time!

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The PPP window has closed four weeks ahead of schedule as it runs out of funds as reported by the ABI.

Restaurant owners should apply quickly for then Restaurant Revitalization Fund which opened this week and is expected to go quickly.  Here’s is a guide with helpful information about how to apply and what types of business requirements are necessary.  First come, first served. Here is another guide about who qualifies that is a very easy read and highly recommended.

Folks have been delaying reorganization type bankruptcies to qualify for various stimulus programs.  You should know that recently the rules have changed to allow stimulus and bankruptcy to co-exist.  In other words, filing for bankruptcy protection will not negate applying for government aid in most cases.

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simpson-cartoonInflation and interest rates are the two primary culprits.

Bankruptcy can actually be a fix to this problem and is something that everyone should evaluate NOW.  Does it make sense to clear the deck and start fresh?  Especially when that deck is stacked against most Americans who are not otherwise wealthy.  Especially, for anyone who has private student loans, the decision is pretty much a no brainer — bankruptcy can result in a full discharge of many private student loans or a very low payment plan, with very low interest.  Basically, a way out.

High credit card balances, underwater vehicle loans, unpaid rent — bankruptcy can easily fix this.

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reboot_your_life_after_bk-ebook-picThere are so many things that set us apart and in my opinion make us one of the best law firms in the Tampa Bay area that you can choose to file your bankruptcy.  Whoever you are looking to hire to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should ask these questions:

  • What kind of lawyer and staff turnover do you have?  (our bankruptcy paralegal and attorney have been with us for five plus years – nearly ten in fact – it helps to speak with the same person as your case progresses, who knows you and your situation)
  • Can you help me with my student loans (this is where we really stand out — we own student loans – every day, we are reducing or outright eliminating student loan debt in one form or another)
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debt-settlementWells Fargo has always been difficult to work with when we try to negotiate private student loan settlements.  However, we’ve started to see better deals in the past two weeks from other private student loan servicers  – so I believe Wells Fargo loans are now fair game.

Well Fargo is exiting the student loan business.  In a recent Bizjournal article “Wells Fargo sells off private student loan business,” nearly $10 billion of student loans were transferred to Apollo Global Management, Inc. and Blackstone Group, Inc.  While it’ll be a few weeks, we expect this changing of the guard will open the doors for reasonable settlement opportunities.  Something we haven’t been seeing for most all of Wells Fargo loans.

What we’re telling our clients now is this:  don’t wait until the moratoriums are over.  Now is the time to get good deals.  In a few months time, after the moratoriums are lifted, creditor attorneys will back at it.  Filing lawsuits.  Garnishing wages.  Repossessions.  When they have the power to do those things, they will raise their settlement demands.  Their clients are bleeding money right now.  Now is the time to settle your debt  — whether it be credit card, deficiency judgments, private student loans, car loans, you name it.  In 6-12 months, the economic landscape will be better, and these deals we see now, won’t be there any longer.

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