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Law Firm Pries Hurricane Sandy Insurance Funds Desperately Needed by Homeowners from Banks

Many homeowners in the tri-state area whose home were either damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy are still waiting to receive their checks from the insurance companies. Those who are currently behind on their mortgages can expect long delays or no response at all. According to a March 19 article in the New York Daily News, 10 major banks and mortgage companies are sitting on more than $41 million in checks issued by insurance companies for homeowners devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

The Fine Law Offices is working with those stricken homeowners to help them retrieve funding from the banks to be compensated for Hurricane Sandy-related damage. “It is far worse for any homeowner who is behind on their mortgage,” says Charlie Fine of Fine Law Offices. “Some mortgage companies are demanding payment in full and refusing to modify their loans or to release their insurance checks. This has driven many homeowners out of their homes and into shelters or cheap hotels.”

The attorneys at Fine Law recently resolved a case in which their client’s house was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. The mortgage holder told him that he was facing foreclosure because he was behind on his mortgage payments and so they were keeping his $100,000 check from the insurance company. A motion was filed to seek immediate relief for the firm’s client.

After three months, both sides reached a settlement in which the homeowner would be free and clear — in other words, have no more mortgage payments — and the bank would keep the insurance check as payment in full.

“We have many other clients who are in similar situations where we have to file motions for relief so they can make their homes livable again,” Mr. Fine says. “Banks are taking full advantage of the fact that insurers issue checks that are made out to both parties — which is standard operating procedure when there is still a mortgage on the house — so homeowners can’t get access to them until the bank or mortgage company releases the money.”

Fine Law Says Extension of Federal Housing Program Will Prevent Underwater Homeowners from Foreclosure

Charlie Fine of Fine Law says the Obama administration’s decision to extend the federal housing program to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure will mean that many who are falling behind on their mortgages will be able to keep their homes.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan recently announced that the Making Home Affordable program — which includes the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) — would stay in effect until 2015. It was scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

Under HAMP, mortgage lenders will provide incentives to those who owe more than what their house is worth or who have lost their jobs by modifying loans so the payments do not exceed 31% of the borrowers’ monthly income. The program was launched in 2009.

According to the Treasury Department, approximately 1.3 million homeowners received direct assistance from the Making Home Affordable program and another 300,000 received other forms of assistance. As of March, more than 1.1 million homeowners moved from trial to permanent modifications at a median savings of $546 a month, the agency says.

“Although the housing market is showing signs of improvement, there are still those who are having trouble making their mortgage payments and keeping their home,” Mr. Fine says. “The Obama administration’s decision to extend the Making Home Affordable program will allow those who are struggling financially or who have lost their job to modify their loans and stay in their homes. I urge those who have not yet taken advantage of the program to do so immediately.”

 


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236 Fifth Avenue
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New York, NY 10001
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535 Broadway Rd.
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Melville, NY 11747


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