Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Outfit Scoring Deeds In Exchange For Dubious Short Sale Promises Now Tagged By Stiffed HOAs For Assessment Non-Payment, Unit Rentals Without Approval

In West Palm Beach, Florida, The Palm Beach Post reports:

  • A Palm Beach County foreclosure­-rescue company is acquiring distressed homes and renting them out, but some home­owners association leaders say it's not paying the dues vital for community upkeep.

  • The for-profit Nationwide Investment Firm, which recently moved its Boca Raton headquarters to a Flagler Drive office in downtown West Palm Beach, has homeowners quit claim-deed their properties to the company with promises to broker a short sale, while also defending the case in court.

  • Homeowners, who remain on the hook for the mortgage while no longer owning the home, have filed several lawsuits against Nationwide, complaining they unwittingly gave away their property without receiving the help they sought.

  • And community associations say there's a deeper ripple effect in neighborhoods where Nationwide seeks to put tenants in homes without association approval or paying fees required for maintenance, security, landscaping and other services. Associations trying to recoup delinquent fees have filed tens of thousands of dollars in liens against Nationwide and properties deeded to the firm.

  • Florida property appraiser records show Nationwide owns 73 homes in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Collier, Lee, St. Lucie and Highlands counties. Nationwide President Guilfort Dieuvil, a licensed Realtor, said his company is working with the associations to settle the bills.

  • The Palm Beach Post first reported on Nationwide in November(1) when five lawsuits within a year's time accused the company of fraud. Two more homeowner lawsuits have been filed since then, and there have been several homeowner complaints sent to the Florida Attorney General's Office.

  • The Florida Office of Financial Regulation said on Monday that it is investigating the company. The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office had no comment when asked if it was looking into the company, said spokeswoman Christine Weiss.

  • Kevin Fabrikant, a Hollywood­-based attorney who began representing Nationwide in the fall, has defended its quit claim practices, saying homeowners are explained the plan in both Creole and English. Because Nationwide advertises on Haitian television and radio stations, many of its clients speak Creole as their first language.

  • Fabrikant has since withdrawn from Nationwide's cases, telling The Post he had "irreconcilable differences" with the company. Most of the lawsuits against Nationwide are from homeowners who describe questionable short-sale business models, but unsuspecting renters can also get caught up in the deals.

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