Search Results

Black & LoBello on AM720 KDWN

Tune in as Black & LoBello offers free legal advice on a wide range of topics

Click here to listen to the Legal Hour on KDWN AM720 from February 27th, 2013 in which Managing Partner, Michele LoBello, Esq., hosts hosts special guest Andras F. Babero, Esq. Mrs. LoBello and Mr. Babero discuss what happens to a business in a divorce (1:40), dividing  a business between divorcing spouses (5:45), what is AB 284 (10:45), the dismissal of the robo-signing case (11:50), dividing real estate in a divorce (17:00), enforcing a judge’s decree (21:05), postnuptial agreements (27:00), differences between prenuptial and postnuptial agreements (31:50), protecting inheritances (34:10) and the value of an experienced family lawyer (37:40).

Please tune in to AM720 KDWN’s “Legal Hour,” every Wednesday, from 9 AM to 10 AM.  Listen live on the radio or online.   Feel free to call in with your comments or questions at 702-257-5396.

To listen to past shows, visit our Media page.


The California Department of Housing has released a memorandum detailing the laws that went into effect relating to lending servicers and foreclosure requirements.

The 9 page memo is a brief outline of the mandates California lawmakers imposed as a result of the mortgage crisis, robo-signing and poor performance in borrowers services.

California’s “Borrower’s Bill of Rights” is far more reaching and punitive that recent laws passed in Nevada affecting non-judicial foreclosure. Starting January 2013, offenders of any of the various requirements ranging from documentation and customer service, could pay the greater of $50,000 or trebled damages.

The memo can be viewed here.

Black & LoBello on AM720 KDWN

Black & LoBello on AM720 KDWN

Click here to listen to the Legal Hour on KDWN AM720 from April 4th, 2012. Christopher Phillips, Esq., who practices Probate, hosts with guest lawyer Andras Babero, Esq., who practices in Commercial Litigation and Real Estate Law from the law firm Black & LoBello in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Mr. Babero and Mr. Phillips discuss AB 284 and how lenders could avoid its requirements (1:20), how robo-signing affects foreclosure (10:40), how irrevocable trusts can be amended (13:35), how to remove a trustee (18:30), contesting rights to assets (20:55), liability on mortgage fraud (25:40) and assets exempt from collections (33:40). 

Please tune in to AM720 KDWN’s “Legal Hour,” Wednesdays, from 9 AM to 10 AM.  Listen live on the radio or online.   Feel free to call in with your comments or questions at 702-257-5396.

To listen to past shows, visit our Media page.

How To Combat Real Estate Fraud

Even though the Attorney General’s office is in charge of investigating fraud in Nevada, the tide of real estate fraud scams have been rising steadily as a by-product of the mortgage crisis and there are only 14 people in Chief Deputy John Kelleher office to pursue all these cases.  As such, there are some actions you can take to help investigations. Checking documents beforehand and doing research about your particular case is one step you can take.  The Attorney General’s office also encourages anyone who works in the mortgage industry to come talk to them if they are privy to any robo-signing or bogus assignment practices.  To get in touch with the Attorney General’s Fraud Department, please go to or call (702) 486-3420.

Black & LoBello on AM720 KDWN

Tune in as Black & LoBello offers free legal advice on a wide range of topicsClick here to listen to the Legal Hour on KDWN AM720 from November 30th, 2011 in which Managing Partner, Tisha Black Chernine, Esq., discusses the Nevada Secretary of State’s decision on home-based business exemptions, the latest developments in the Tracey Lawrence robo-signing fraud case (2:12),  what to consider before attempting a short sale (12:15), how to argue a landlord/tenant dispute (17:27), how to apply the robo-signing fraud case to specific foreclosure cases (22:20),  how to determine ownership of a property (29:37) and what documents should be disclosed by the lender in the loan modification process (35:30).

Please tune in to AM720 KDWN’s “Legal Hour,” everyday, from 9 AM to 10 AM.  Listen live on the radio or online.   Feel free to call in with your comments or questions at 702-257-5396.

To listen to past shows, visit our Media page.

Black & LoBello On the Radio

Tune in as Black & LoBello offers free legal advice on a wide range of topicsClick here to listen to the Legal Hour on KDWN AM720 from November 9th, 2011 in which Managing Partner, Tisha Black Chernine, Esq., discusses her Wall Street Journal interview dealing with robo-signing, how a deed-in-lieu works, tax benefits for renting a property at a loss, buying a foreclosed home at auction, out of state short sales and problems with Home Owners Associations (HOA) title searches.

Please tune in to AM720 KDWN’s “Legal Hour,” everyday, from 9 AM to 10 AM.  Listen live on the radio or online.   Feel free to call in with your comments or questions at 702-257-5396.

To listen to past shows, visit our Media page.


WSJ Talks to Tisha Black Chernine About AB 284

Foreclosure filings in Nevada plunged in October during the first month of a new state law stiffening foreclosure-processing requirements.

Slightly more than 600 default notices were filed against homeowners through Oct. 25 in the state’s two most-populous counties, Las Vegas’s Clark County and Reno’s Washoe County. That was down from 5,360 in September, or an 88% drop, according to data tracked by, a real-estate website that tracks such filings. Default notices represent the first step in processing foreclosures.

To read the full Wall Street Journal article, click here.

AB 284 Restores Foreclosure Process

I have been extraordinarily honored to have participated in a working group with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office in Nevada Assembly Bill 284.  AB 284 passed the Assembly with a vote of 33-9, and passed the Senate with a vote of 20-1.   AB 284 was signed into law on May 20, 2011 with overwhelming support from Assembly Leader Marcus Conklin. The Bill takes effect October 1, 2011.

AB 284 will help the Nevada economy recover by significantly improving NRS 106, 107, and 205, with respect to foreclosures. The Bill is in response to inaccurate and fraudulently executed documents filed by lenders, trustees and servicers. AB 284 increases criminal penalties where “robo-signing” conduct occurs, and it creates a NEW private right of action for borrowers, which includes attorneys’ fees and a mandatory fine when a foreclosure has not proceeded properly. As a result, the Bill will reduce improper parties from foreclosing and creates a remedy for improper, deficient, or fraudulent documentation. Ultimately, this will aid in stabilizing real property values and restoring transparency and integrity in the foreclosure process, both of which are key to recovery. The Bill requires that the foreclosing party supplement the Notice of Default with a notarized Affidavit of Authority. The Affidavit of Authority, i) states the identity of the trustee, ii) describes the amount in default, iii) lists the full name and address of the current beneficiary (and every prior beneficiary under the deed of trust), and iv) includes the penalties and costs related to the default and foreclosure. This element of AB 284 will allow borrowers to determine the parties in the chain of beneficial interest, the amount of money they owe as result of default and foreclosure, and whether the foreclosing party has the right to foreclose.

AB 284 creates a standard of care for the trustee under a deed of trust. The trustee’s standard of care shall serve as a vast improvement from its predecessor, or lack thereof. A trustee under a deed of trust was not held to any specific standard prior to AB 284, nor was the term “trustee” defined in the foreclosure context. NRS 106 is amended to define who a trustee may be, and what their obligation is to the foreclosure parties. It also sets forth a private cause of action if trustees act improperly. Lastly, AB 284 requires all assignments of deeds of trust affecting real property be recorded in the County Recorder’s office where the property is situated.

Tisha Black Chernine, Esq.

RealtyTrac reported Nevada posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rate for the 52nd straight month with 1 in 97 housing units receiving a foreclosure notice in April. The 4,606 home repossessions were the highest number since RealtyTrac began tracking foreclosures in 2005 prior to the real estate collapse.  April REOs outpaced March by 23% and April by 12%.
Oddly, Nevada’s 3,356 filings in April are down from 5,565 in March and 6,298 in April 2010.  It appears the cause for this is a slow-down in the processing of foreclosures, likely due to far more attention being paid to the notices of default, assignments and other foreclosure documents that are now scrutinized as a result of the robo-signing scandal.
Las Vegas leads the nation’s cities with a foreclosure rate of 1 for every 82 households in April, more than 7 times the national average.  Reno-Sparks was ranked 9th in the nation with 1 filing for every 183 households. Arizona and California fall into second and third places, respectively.

Tisha Black Chernine, Esq.

AB284 Approved, Becomes Law

On May 20, 2011 Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval approved Assembly Bill  284 to be signed into law.    AB 284 will help restore transparency and integrity to the foreclosure process.   As previously reported, some of the changes enacted by AB284 are as follows:

  • Defines who can act as a foreclosure trustee in the state of Nevada;
  • Defines a standard of care for such trustee;
  • Requires that all assignments or trust deeds affecting real property be recorded in the County Recorder’s office where the property is situated;
  • Requires a foreclosing trustee to file an sworn Affidavit with the Notice of Default;
  • Requires the Affidavit of Authority  which details the arrearages, associated costs, and names the beneficiary (often called investor) of the deed of trust;
  • Increases criminal penalties where “robo-signing” conduct occurs ; and
  • Creates a NEW private right of action for borrowers, which includes attorneys fees and a mandatory fine when a foreclosure has not proceeded properly.

AB284 Passes Senate

On May 11, 2011 the Nevada Senate passed Assembly Bill AB 284 with 20 Yeas and 1 Nay (see voting details below).  AB 284, as we have reported:

  • Defines who can act as a foreclosure trustee in the state of Nevada;
  • Defines a standard of care for such trustee;
  • Requires that all assignments or trust deeds affecting real property be recorded in the County Recorder’s office where the property is situated;
  • Requires a foreclosing trustee to file an sworn Affidavit with the Notice of Default;
  • Requires the Affidavit of Authority  which details the arrearages, associated costs, and names the beneficiary (often called investor) of the deed of trust;
  • Increases criminal penalties where “robo-signing” conduct occurs ; and
  • Creates a NEW private right of action for borrowers, which includes attorneys fees and a mandatory fine when a foreclosure has not proceeded properly.

The only remaining condition for this bill to become a law is Governor Sandoval’s signature. Tisha Black Chernine, managing partner a of Black & LoBello, expects the Bill to be in front of the Governor within the next week. Stay tuned……..

Shirley Breeden Yea
Greg Brower Yea
Barbara Cegavske Yea
Allison Copening Yea
Mo Denis Yea
Don Gustavson Nay
Elizabeth Halseth Yea
Joe Hardy Yea
Steven Horsford Yea
Ben Kieckhefer Yea
Ruben Kihuen Yea
John Lee Yea
Sheila Leslie Yea
Mark Manendo Yea
Mike McGinness Yea
David Parks Yea
Dean Rhoads Yea
Michael Roberson Yea
Michael Schneider Yea
James Settelmeyer Yea
Valerie Wiener Yea

Tisha Black Chernine, Esq.

Radio & Media

Black & LoBello On the Radio

  •  March 20th, 2013  Fannie Mae’s Home Path  website (3:40), the effects of rising home values on inventory (9:00), Las Vegas’ improving real estate market (16:00), leasing  homes back to sellers (19:00), banks lending practices (22:00), the foreclosure one action rule (28:45), trash collection in Las Vegas (32:48) and trusts vs. wills (37:10).
  • February 27th, 2013 wrongful military foreclosures(2:05), the lawsuit against Standard & Poor’s (4:30), getting mortgage loans with bad credit (9:45), rebounding housing market (14:00), “as is” real estate sales (15:45), how AB 284 affects the housing market (21:00) and banning sugary beverages (31:45).


  • January 23rd, 2013
    wrongfully charged late fees for mortgage payments (2:00), how to check ownership of a property (8:00), improper foreclosure affecting ownership (11:00), avoiding probate with beneficiaries (14:00), including a mortgage in a bankruptcy (20:15), renting out a property under short sale or foreclosure (26:00), tax implications  associated with forgiveness of debt (30:00) and protection for a tenant renting a foreclosed property (34:35).
  • January 16th, 2013
    the Mortgage Debt Relief Act (2:30)(17:10), improvement in the housing market (5:20), defining the shadow inventory of the housing market (9:40), ways banks put properties back on the market (14:00), how banks fund mortgage loans (26:30), the different type of mortgage loan lenders (29:00), can banks use depositors’ money to fund loans (29:50) and how banks use money (31:30)
  • January 2nd, 2013
    tips to avoid probate involving real estate (1:32), what happens to debt and property after death (3:15), how to manage health care decisions (8:05), updating wills (9:00), marital disclaimer (11:05), children NOT included in a trust (13:45), including assets in a trust (15:45), naming a beneficiary for a house (21:15), how to add/remove beneficiaries (24:55), possible changes to the estate taxes after 2012 (26:10), what happens to a mortgage debt after death (31:35) and the difference between a deed upon death or joint tenancy (36:30). 
  • December 26th, 2012
    how the upcoming fiscal cliff will affect estate tax (1:30), who makes life decisions during incapacity or death (4:35), how a trust can help kids (6:20), powers of attorney (9:30), how gambling winnings are taxed (11:00), Nevada Asset Protection Trusts (14:55), trusts vs. wills (16:05), arguments between trustees and beneficiaries (18:20), how banks affect trustee vs. beneficiary arguments (20:45), affidavit of entitlement (23:05), financial responsibility for the deceased (25:10), power of attorney to assign guardianship (27:40), managing bank accounts using a power of attorney (33:30) how a trustee manages assets (37:26) 
  • December 19th, 2012
    where human trafficking occurs (3:10), defining human trafficking (3:40), who profits from human trafficking (4:50), victims of human trafficking (7:15)(13:40)(18:30), “Surviving Sin City” film project (10:20)(26:10), the battle against human trafficking (14:40), how human traffickers work (21:15), the scope of the human trafficking industry (24:25), the difficulty victims have escaping human trafficking (28:30) and how to combat human trafficking (34:25) 
  • December 5th, 2012
    how whistle blowers have affected recent lawsuits (2:11), the latest developments with LIBOR rigging scandal (6:33), how FICO score is determined (11:38), payments from the Multi-State Settlement (18:40)(34:15), problems with mortgage modification programs (27:27) and independent foreclosure reviews (37:00). 
  • November 21st, 2012
    the trends of construction industry in Las Vegas (3:40), bankruptcy trends in Las Vegas (6:50), how the construction industry helps businesses (9:40), upcoming large building projects in the Las Vegas valley (16:31), how Construction Notebook helps plan projects (19:50), how to avoid bad contractors (22:10), the effect of the boom and bust years on the construction industry (23:00), the future of the construction industry (26:10) and how the Construction Notebook started (33:10). 
  • November 14th, 2012
    the problems in the real estate market in Spain (1:15), mortgage deficiencies (3:00), how trusts protect assets (3:39)(23:40), Nevada Asset Protection Trusts (9:20), breach of rental agreements (15:00), benefits of rental insurance (21:26), the changing mortgage modification market (31:00), and wills vs. trusts (34:00). 
  • November 7th, 2012
    hosts special guest, Bubba Grimsley, Esq., an attorney licensed in Alabama.  Mrs. Black Chernine and Mr. Grimsley discuss post-election issues (2:40), voters’ decision making process (3:45), misplaced priorities between domestic vs. foreign issues (6:00), results of the election (7:30), recreational marijuana initiatives (11:05), federal vs. state law (12:25), snapshot of current big banks’ legal trouble  (15:02), Nevada’s real estate ghost inventory (19:53), how HOAs can foreclose on a property and its responsibilities to home owners (21:36) and how to deal with a mechanics lien (28:23). 
  • October 31st, 2012
    Tisha Black Chernine, Esq., hosts special guest Cynthia Dustin-Cruz, Esq., who is running for a Judge position in the Las Vegas Justice Court, Department 5.  Mrs. Black Chernine and Mrs. Dustin-Cruz discuss the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Index report (2:15), recent lawsuits related to the mortgage industry (3:00), a lawsuit regarding banks’ maintenance of their foreclosed homes (5:25), Mrs. Dustin-Cruz’s legal career (10:25), what makes Mrs. Dustin-Cruz a good candidate (12:38), what Justice Court does (15:00), the different diversionary programs and their benefits (20:45) and typical home loan modification practices and their impacts (34:20). 
  • October 24th, 2012
    Andras F. Babero, Esq., hosts special guest District Court Judge Jerry Tao from Department 20.  Mr. Babero and Judge Tao discuss the types of cases that go before District Court (3:42), Judge Tao’s experiences as a prosecutor and a public defender (5:06)(14:50), how the Court System works in Nevada (9:00), running for election as a Judge (10:52), requirements to run for District Court Judge (14:12), takings cases (17:40), restrictions on a Judge’s personal life (23:00), the need for an intermediate appellate court system in Nevada (25:57), the average annual caseload for Nevada Judges (28:45), a Judge’s staff (33:22) and effects of local vs. federal elections on individuals (37:18). 
  • October 17th, 2012
    how a recent supreme court case affects the foreclosure crisis (2:07).  Mrs. Black Chernine also hosts special guest Mr. Kalani Hoo, Esq., candidate for Justice of the Peace, Department 1.  Mrs. Black Chernine and Mr. Hoo discuss the difficulties with campaigning for office (10:27), the failure of the Presidential debates to discuss the housing crisis (11:45), unlawful detainer (12:50), good news in the housing market (15:15), Mr. Hoo’s experience as an advocate for Veterans’ Affairs (17:40), the differences between misdemeanors and felonies (22:20) and tips to avoid being arrested for a traffic violation (31:13). 
  • October 3rd, 2012
    hosts special guest Judge Debbie Lippis from the Las Vegas Justice Court, Department 1.  Mrs. Black Chernine and Judge Lippis discuss what the different courts do (2:55), how pro se works in different courts (4:00), a memorable small claims case (5:30), what Justice Court does (9:40), sexual assault prosecution cases (10:45), protective orders (13:08), Judge Lippis’ re-election campaign and endorsements (19:20), defining business partnerships (23:00) and one of Judge Lippis’ success stories (29:30). 
  • September 28th, 2012
    the Credit Show with Harry Jacobs from Credit Restoration of Nevada on KDWN AM720 from September 28th, 2012 featuring Managing Partner, Tisha Black Chernine, Esq.  Mrs. Black Chernine and Mr. Jacobs discuss responding to collection letters from credit companies (2:14), responding to a dunning letter to repair credit (8:15), how creditors violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (12:40) debts resolved by foreclosure (15:32), how banks violate FDIC statutes (18:00), how bankruptcy can affect home loans (21:15), how credit scores are affected by bankruptcy vs. foreclosure (28:40) and defaulting on student loans (31:40).  
  • September 19th, 2012
    hosts special guest Judge Kelly Earley from Department Four of the 8th Judicial District Court.  Mrs. Black Chernine and Judge Earley discuss the importance of judicial elections (1:30), pro se litigants (5:20), tips for negotiating a short sale (9:00)(25:10), banks that sue for loan deficiencies (12:00), how incompetent judges affect the litigation process (15:50), the important aspects of a case for a judge (22:20), loan negotiation scams (28:50) and defense against false claims and loan defaults (31:05).  
  • September 12th, 2012
    hosts special guests Bradley Schrager with Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas and Danial Stewart with Koch and Scow, LLC.  Mrs. Black Chernine, Mr. Schrager and Mr. Stewart discuss the growth of election law (3:10), the difference between political and election lawyers (5:05), enforcing proper use of campaign financing (6:50), Nevada’s voting and voter registration organization (9:15), accuracy and reliability in polling (13:00), getting voters to vote (18:00), voter ID issues (22:50), defining voter fraud (28:20), military and absentee voting (31:00) and redistricting (34:05).  
  • September 5th, 2012
    Tisha Black Chernine, Esq., hosts special guest and community bankers Eric Colvin of Meadows Bank and John Sullivan with First Security Bank.  Mrs. Black Chernine, Mr. Colvin and Mr. Sullivan discuss the differences between the big banks from community banks (2:10), types of loans sold into secondary market (3:15), how real estate agents may list a foreclosed property owned by a community bank (8:20), benefits of trying to modify a loan with a community bank (10:00), loss share (13:45), how judicial foreclosure affects selling a property (18:16), tips to modify Fannie, Freddie or FHA loans (24:55), where community banks can invest (27:50) and how community banks compete with big banks (29:00).  
  • August 22nd, 2012
    the lack of interest in real estate issues in the upcoming elections (2:10), student loan debt problems (4:10), how student loans are like credit cards (5:45), lease options on a house (9:45), Mitt Romney’s solution to the real estate crisis (18:55), criminal prosecutions of past financial crisis (21:22), the most recent bank scandals (24:40), tenant issues on a rental property (31:15) and HOA 101 (37:00).  
  • August 15th, 2012
    Tisha Black Chernine, Esq., hosts special guest Danial H. Stewart, an election law attorney practicing at Koch and Scow, LLC.  Mrs. Black Chernine and Mr. Stewart discuss how election law affects campaign financing and strategy (4:45)(34:36), how Nevada affects national elections (6:40), a Nevada laws regarding term limits (10:30), should county employees supervising a polling site (13:50), voter ID law (17:25),  how Ohio’s redistricting will affect elections (23:00), the investigation into the Fast and Furious gun running sting operations (27:00), how to protect assets against an underwater property (29:50) and corporate contributions to political campaigns (38:17)  
  • August 1st, 2012
    Tisha Black Chernine, Esq., discusses her debate with Laurie Anne Maggiano of the US Treasury Department regarding strategic defaulters (2:45), modification solution fatigue (5:40),  the difficulty of defining financial hardship (6:20), Bank of America’s principal reduction programs (7:50), LIBOR rigging scandal (11:00), right of redemption (14:30), how to recoup retainer fees (20:50), why banks won’t release  foreclosed properties back into the market (24:15), how to use the Multi-State Settlement to get out of a HELOC (30:10) and what you can learn from your mortgage servicer (37:10).  
  • June 27th, 2012
    the tax exemption for short sales regarding the Mortgage Debt Relief Act (2:05)(20:55)(26:50), improvement in the short sale market (9:31), how Eaton v. Fannie Mae affects the foreclosure process (14:00), when to ask your attorney for a refund (17:15), how to find out which lender owns a mortgage loan (20:20), the trend of principal reductions as a result of the Multi-State Settlement (30:31), whether a bank can foreclose during a short sale (32:30) and how to argue apartment maintenance issues (35:20).  
  • June 6th, 2012
    how Ally Financial’s recent bankruptcy affects the real estate market (2:00) (10:20), how bankruptcy affects foreclosure (5:00), bankruptcy as an asset protection tool (11:50), how credit counselors or debt settlement programs help rebuild credit (21:10), the changing stigma of bankruptcy (24:30), predatory lending by credit card companies (26:30), how to find a good bankruptcy lawyer (30:08), when should you consider bankruptcy (32:40) and why bankruptcy trustees take income tax refund and how to protect it (34:25).  
  • May 2nd, 2012
    Abel v. BAC Home Loans Servicing LP et al, a current case in New York alleging that banks are laundering money overseas (2:15), problems with the stress tests for the major banks (12:40), tips for investment including real estate and offshore accounts (16:40), how to check house foreclosures (21:27), real estate agent unfair practices (25:30),  problems getting a loan modifications (29:30) and tips for successful asset protection (34:40).  
  • April 25th, 2012
    how a bankruptcy case in Louisiana shows how mortgage servicers take advantage of homeowners (2:00)(20:00)(30:15), bank fees charged during a default (12:15), chapter 7 vs. chapter 13 (14:00) and how divorce affects bankruptcy(17:40).  
  • April 18th, 2012
    the options Nevada should consider for the money received from the $90 million Multi-State Settlement (1:30)(22:50), the effects of the Las Vegas renters’ market (10:15), tips for prospective renters (12:00), renewing the tax law that allows forgiveness of debt (17:00), when debt forgiveness applies (19:30), refinancing options for rental properties (23:40) and Homestead Act scams (30:00) actions to take against your lender according to the Truth and Lending Act (37:05).  
  • April 4th, 2012
    AB 284 and how lenders could avoid its requirements (1:20), how robo-signing affects foreclosure (10:40), how irrevocable trusts can be amended (13:35), how to remove a trustee (18:30), contesting rights to assets (20:55), liability on mortgage fraud (25:40) and assets exempt from collections (33:40).  
  • March 28th, 2012
    why Federal programs fail to help the real estate market (3:00), how private lenders can guard against title fraud (5:40), how to dissolve ownership of a property (11:00), short sales vs. principal reductions (17:17), options for elderly homeowners in an underwater property (21:05), problems with WRAP mortgages (26:43), whether a beneficiary on a deed of trust can collect on a default from a renter (31:33) and theChannel 8 “Desert Underwater” series winning a Peabody Award (35:30).  
  • March 21st, 2012
    what the HARP program does and how it can help people (1:50), the limits to the  HARP (12:45), the pros and cons of strategic default vs. short sale (16:45), financing reverse-mortgages (29:50), why Bank of America no longer works with Fannie Mae (31:50) and the Shared Appreciation Modification Program (34:40).  
  • March 14th, 2012
    medical liens on real estate  (2:30), a class action suit affecting military servicemembers suffering from foreclosure (6:45)(19:10), how to check the status of a mortgage (10:00), when banks make different insurance requirements (13:35), refinancing through HARP (21:50)(38:10) and recourse for failed loan modification attempts (31:50).  
  • March 7th, 2012
    how to protect assets against creditor issues (2:00),  what is adult guardianship (4:50), the guidelines that executors should follow (8:33), buying foreclosed homes with robo-signing issues (12:01), what trustees can and can’t do with assets (16:55), problems with real estate agents (20:40), statute of limitations on probate proceedings (26:40), suing banks to refinance mortgage loans (31:05) and how AB 284 makes banks halt foreclosures (33:08).  
  • February 29th, 2012
    the fight against  foreclosure fraud (1:33), the new types of real estate fraud (6:55)(33:40), what to do to combat real estate fraud by yourself (12:50), how to quit-claim a a property back to the bank or mortgage company (21:50), how to protect assets from banks (27:32) and problems with refinancing mortgages (37:50).  
  • February 15th, 2012
    discuss Nevada’s Residential Foreclosure Mediation Program and how to take part (5:50), what happens during the process (7:03),  recently passed laws that have helped shape the Mediation Program (8:30), how parts of the vetoed bill AB 300 have been incorporated into and enhanced the Mediation Program (13:50), various FREE resources available to the public and how to use them (18:30), the problems involved with working the system (22:04) and suggestions to homeowners for how to prepare to fight for their homes (33:45).  
  • February 1st, 2012
    the good and bad aspects of the real estate market  in 2011 (3:10), how AB 284 affects the available real estate inventory (7:42), how to find a real estate agent with experience in short sales (12:25), real estate debt obligations in a marriage (22:05), the current state of the real estate industry (24:16), the likelihood of banks to sue for a deficiency (32:54), the areas of the Vegas valley hardest hit by the housing crisis and the benefits of buying a property in the current economy (37:50).  
  • January 11th, 2012
    breach-of-contract issues (3:05), short sale approval during the foreclosure process (5:34), if quit claiming fix credit issues (11:00), how safe is it to refinance (15:20), New York’s investigation forced placed insurance policies (19:50)(31:10), how the eviction process works (21:55), using an abandoned house for  garage sales (25:50), the status of the Supreme Court Case regarding MERS (32:22) and help for VA loans (36:30).  
  • January 4th, 2012
    recent case law regarding homeowners’ right to sue lenders under HAMP or HAFA (2:40), how to dispute NODs (4:05), the book Chasing Goldman Sachs by Suzanne McGee and what it says about how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operate and other controversies of the current economic crisis (10:16)(23:00)(38:02), how to deal with bank lawsuits (12:50), refinancing an underwater property with Fannie Mae (19:00), how the securitization process avoids taxes (33:55) and how AB 273 can protect homeowners from being pursued by banks (32:56).  
  • December 28th, 2011
    the Supreme Court case regarding MERS‘s ability to properly foreclose in Nevada (2:00), how that decision could help homeowners battling wrongful foreclosure (6:45), how to determine who owns a mortgage loan (19:23), how loan modification programs work and what can go wrong (22:15)(37:10), Obama’s plan to improve HARP (29:20) and whether banks can come after checking and savings accounts to collect on defaulted loans (32:50).  
  • December 21st, 2011
    the bank moratorium on foreclosure processes through the holiday season (5:35), predatory lending practices (11:50), reasonable expectations for legal arguments (16:40), responsibility for a decedent’s health insurance co-payments (19:10), foreclosures on investment properties (22:30), modifying a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan (27:45), the value foreclosure mediation (29:22) and the reality of principal reduction offers (36:50).  
  • December 14th, 2011
    the impact of a short sale or foreclosure on a person’s credit, what affects a credit score (4:00), how foreclosure or short sales affect credit (12:20)(22:10)(31:40), rebuilding credit (16:20), the history of the credit rating agencies  (20:34), credit trouble maintenance strategies (24:35), how the government and the new legislation could help people with bad credit (29:30) and how the credit repair industry works (33:45).  
  • December 5th, 2011
    the limitation of declaring bankruptcy,  settling debts with a will (4:15), notification of probate process (9:33), unclaimed funds from a probate (11:27), the expanding bankruptcy industry (20:20), removing name from a quit claim deed (23:45), homestead protection for a house (30:26), transferring house from one person to another (34:50).
  • November 30th, 2011
    Nevada Secretary of State’s decision on home-based business exemptions, the latest developments in the Tracey Lawrence robo-signing fraud case (2:12),  what to consider before attempting a short sale (12:15), how to argue a landlord/tenant dispute (17:27), how to apply the robo-signing fraud case to specific foreclosure cases (22:20),  how to determine ownership of a property (29:37) and what documents should be disclosed by the lender in the loan modification process (35:30).
  • November 21st, 2011
    Nevada’s divorce laws, the division of assets and debts, child support laws, calculating alimony (4:40), the problems with prenuptial agreement, terminating parental rights (9:20), how to grant parental rights, (13:40), how to change child support (15:55), preventing a felon from getting guardianship of a child (22:00) and dealing with deceased spouse’s debt (32:20).
  • November 14th, 2011
    why luxury purchases cannot be included in a bankruptcy (2:00), how to avoid probate of a deceased’s property (4:40), beneficiary deeds, debt repayment plans vs. bankruptcy (6:30), foreclosing vs. short selling a rental property (11:15), transferring title of property to spouse (15:45), payday loans covered in a bankruptcy (18:45), the benefits of bankruptcy (24:30), negotiating a mortgage deficiency vs. filing for bankruptcy (31:25), how to administer a deceased’s estate under $20,000 (33:55) and Notice of Proposed Action changes on trusts (42:20). 
  • November 2nd, 2011
    buying foreclosed homes, different types of deeds, notice of default, Assembly Bill 284,  how to spot and clean up problems with a property title and Supreme Court cases that affect foreclosures
  • October 26th, 2011
    taxes regarding real estate, tax implications on home purchases, tax consequences for short sales and foreclosures, tax relief legislation, the purposes and how to use tax forms 1099-c and 982mortgage debt relief and the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act
  • October 17th, 2011
    how to avoid probate on bank accounts, how to add a name to a house deed, taxes on estates, early distributions vs. gifts from a trust, Nevada asset protection trust, short sale negotiation, joint tenancy in a trust, protecting out of state assets and the Nevada Homestead Protection Act
  • October 10th, 2011
    The pros and cons of LegalZoom and other do-it-yourself legal services, trust ownership of IRA accounts, child support owed by a spouse’s estate, jointly held property in an estate, how to close an estate, joint ownership of a property and affidavit of small estate
  • October 5th, 2011
    FHA Short Refinance Program
    , mortgage insurance increases,  Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE), settling a second mortgage, refinancing a mortgage to lower interest rates, judicial reviews on foreclosure mediation, adjustable rate mortgages and how soon after a bankruptcy can you get a mortgage
  • September 28th, 2011
    The recent Case-Shiller report, the effects of  low housing prices, mortgage originators, how AB 273 affects deficiency judgments, how AB 284 affects how notice of defaults are processed, robo-signers, Barack Obama’s New Jobs Plan and federal regulations that regulate debt collection practices
  • September 26th, 2011
    Ways to avoid probate, the on-line public record of wills, the correct way to transfer assets through a will,  family trust terms, buying a home after a foreclosure, amending a will for a divorce and fraudulent wills
  • September 21st, 2011
    Reverse-mortgages, debt-to-income co-signers on mortgages, mortgage modification, VA home loans, judicial review and mediation, lawsuits pursuing predatory lending, appraisal problems, tax debt and bankruptcy
  • September 12th, 2011
    Living wills, how trusts and LLCs can protect against foreclosure, how a will is involved in probate, how to name a will executor, using trusts to avoid probate, how to claim inheritance property, how to distribute assets from a trust, inheritance tax and differences between LLC and S Corp
  • September 5th, 2011
    Estate planning when expecting a child, child guardianship priority issues, reimbursement for adult guardianship duties, revising holographic wills, insurance policy beneficiary issues and how to argue a change of custody

B&L in the Media (Videos)

Legal Questions Answered

Watch different YouTube Videos of Black & LoBello lawyers as they answer common questions about different areas of the law.

Publications to Download

Newsletter Archives

B&L in the Press


Foreclosure Outlook 2011

The outlook for the New Year is grim if you own a home in Las Vegas and are not paying attention to your legal rights. Likely, you are one of the two-thirds of our valley’s property owners who are in an underwater position, most being more than 50%. Since property values are expected to drop further in 2011 along with demand and ability to purchase, it seems that local property values are in a death spiral.

Pundits predict that nationally, 1 in every 5 mortgages could be foreclosed on in 2011.  Though the foreclosure crisis has persisted for the last three years, they say we are only one-fourth of the way through the troubled loans. Using that statistic and the, until now, popular dead beat borrower argument, 20% of our home-owning population is an irresponsible sub-prime borrower who should have never bought a home in the first place! Seriously, should the blame and the cure all be loaded on the tax-paying borrower?

What about the suspicious loans that were handed out freely, the documents the originators botched or left out all together, the securitization process that created huge pools of loans to be sold to trusting investors, the fabricated foreclosure fees and documents, and the filing of hundreds of thousands of false court documents?  Is this the non-paying borrowers fault as well? Will we never call these banks to participate in the foreclosure crisis that they helped to create?

One can be optimistic only in the respect that there is beginning to arise a general understanding of how the banks function and why they are not incentivized to do anything other than position borrowers for foreclosure. As an originator bank (in charge of creating and processing the loan documents and sales), as well as the servicer bank, foreclosure serves several very important purposes: 1) it hides faulty and fraudulent documentation; 2) it avoids put-backs from investors who bought the securitized loans the banks sold;  and 3) it creates default servicing revenue. In reality, the bank controls the process from start to finish and therefore, has opportunities to hide and avoid liability while earning a fee to do so.

The large number of foreclosures we continue to experience in Nevada does nothing other than breed more foreclosure and loss.  Foreclosures must be avoided either through mutual consent between the lender and borrower or by enforcing legal foreclosure standards.  The “dead beat borrower” argument is nothing more than an easy diversion from the real problems such as banks’ reverse-engineering loan documents, “robo-signing”, deliberately pursuing improper foreclosures, and manufacturing “junk fees” that cause or add to the pain of foreclosures. To date, the banks have enjoyed the diversion.

There is a ground-swell against these practices in small and large scale. Not only have borrowers begun to voice their disgust at bank practices, states have begun to take formalized action against the biggest offenders. Attorney General Masto filed a lawsuit against Bank of America for misleading and deceptive trade practices, making Nevada the second state to take such a stand.

Our local politicians, however, cannot be the only elected officials paying clear attention to the problem.  We must all face this problem head on, and those we send to Washington must not continue to have their understanding clouded by politics and pockets. There can be no hope and no change unless we pay attention and demand that every player in this crisis be held accountable for their portion of the problem.

Servicer banks have created false and faulty documents, they have foreclosed on homes improperly and without right, they have preyed on the lethargy and ignorance of consumers, and they have been caught doing so in Nevada. By uncovering deceptive practices, faulty documents, improper procedures, and other technical and obvious arguments, you may be able to modify your loan, short sale with a release of the deficient amount, or gain other favorable results. But you must be willing to get involved. We have helped many clients who are frustrated and unable reach closure.

If you are a borrower who has failed to pay, you do have rights that can and should be protected.  Sitting idly by is what the banks expect from you, what do you expect of yourself?

Tisha Black Chernine, Esq.

Tagged with:

On November 16, 2010, the Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing on Mortgage Services and Foreclosure Practices which included, Bank of America, among other lending institutions, along with consumer advocates and academics. Coincidentally, the Congressional Oversight Panel has recently produced a 127-page report, “Examining the Consequences of Mortgage Irregularities for Financial Stability and Foreclosure Mitigation” which also examines lending and foreclosure practices. Now that our elected officials are beginning to understand the depth of the securitization issues, let us all hope that the curtain will continue to draw back on the practices that have lead to the complicated mess we know as the “foreclosure crisis.” More importantly, let’s hope that our elected officials respond to this enlightenment, as they should, in the best interest of their constituents and the nation.

Both inquiries gave insight to the convoluted foreclosure and securitization (pooling and repackaging of loans into an entity, stocks of which are sold to investors) practices. The goal of politicians is to avoid foreclosure and keep those people who can afford to, and desire to, in their homes. Unfortunately, the fact that only 1 in 6 loans can be modified under bank and federal programs was lost on the Senate committee. More importantly, far less than 1 in 6 borrowers will ever receive an offer to modify.

Nevada consistently holds top rankings in:

  1. Foreclosure rates;
  2. Loss of property value;
  3. Unemployment and wage reduction; and
  4. Bankruptcy filings.

Given our dire circumstances, even a meager modification ratio of 1: to 6 would be a blessing to Nevadans. Alternatively, many financially capable owners are unmotivated to attempt to modify their loan due to the loss in real estate values in Nevada, residential and commercial alike, which are staggering compared to the rest of the nation.

Currently, Nevada has suffered a loss of more than 50% in property values, with experts projecting an additional loss of 10% in 2011. Since most of the modifications merely defer the principal, reduce interest rate and extend the term, the economic result of a typical modification is that the borrower will ultimately pay more for their property, over a longer period of time, than the “bubble rate”. For this reason, even if the banks were cooperative in granting modifications, a standard modification is not the answer for Nevadans.

What Nevadans are looking for is a meaningful principal reduction, but that is not on the table. The concern, according to the lenders and their servicers, is that principal reductions would result in actual losses to the banks and servicers. Moreover, banks do not want to write down principal because they would have to recognize the loss at the time it is reduced.  The loss recognition could cause the bank to be deemed insolvent, a fact which exists regardless. Therefore, according to servicer banks, principal reductions cannot be granted as they pose yet another “systemic risk.”

As a nation, we are wrapped in “systemic risk”: the fall of the dollar, lack of manufacturing, foreign wars, terrorism, low standards of education, and more. However, at some point, our elected officials are going to have to select one of our many problems and start dealing with it, as Americans have historically done, head on. There is no better place to start than at home, as in American homes.

Nationally, it is estimated that 40% of all mortgages are securitized. However, and amazingly, regulators who govern the industry do not know the exact number of securitized mortgages. Regardless, this 40% is valued at nearly $7.4 Trillion Dollars. Though I was not able to determine the relevant value of securitized loans in Nevada, we do know that approximately 80% of our real estate market traded (was sold or refinanced) between 2003 and 2007. A historically large amount of those loans were packaged as securities and sold to other banks or investment funds for profit.  Most importantly, the servicing of a majority of the securitized loans was retained either by the originating bank or its affiliate. This servicing element is an important profit engine and document control opportunity that the politicians are just beginning to examine.

On a performing loan, one where the borrower is paying, the servicer’s job is to collect monies from the borrower and pass them to the beneficial interest holder (owner of the note). In a non-performing loan, where the borrower is not paying, the servicer is paid for assessing penalties and fines, monitoring files to make sure that the paperwork is proper, foreclosing on the loan or following the borrower through bankruptcy. Servicers are paid to deal with the payment or non-payment of a loan, they are not paid to modify a loan and they are not concerned with the quality of the borrower’s service, or lack of service, as the borrower is not the default servicer’s client. The beneficial interest holder is the default servicer’s client.

Unlike servicers, the beneficial interest holder has a keen financial interest in the willingness and ability of a borrower to pay the note. Servicers are therefore in conflict with their client. The long term health and participation of the borrower is of no matter to the servicer as the servicer’s business model is not based on long term relationships but short term profitability. The fact is, servicers make more money when the loan is not performing, as they are able to collect more fees and penalties when a borrower is in default or is foreclosed upon. Taking this business model into account, it is not a stretch to think that a servicer would counsel a borrower to quit paying and push a foreclosure. Politicians now recognize that this compensation structure is contrary to promoting performance or modifications.

The long held cultural belief that banks are sophisticated and organized lends a credibility to their securitization and foreclosure processes that is not warranted. Bank procedures and information are rarely questioned.  Moreover, it is the rare individual that can afford to hire counsel for protection. Borrowers’ lack of financial ability to defend themselves or prosecute, coupled with outdated cultural beliefs that banks are above suspicion for the fees and fines they charge, has produced an “above the law” culture that motivates servicer banks to cut corners and employ unchecked trickery. For years, consumer and bankruptcy attorneys in nearly every state have filed and won cases against servicers for abusive practices related to their default fees and practices. However, the abuse has not abated. The robo-signing is but another example of such manipulation.

The servicer banks claim the robo-signing was a “technical issue.” It can hardly be called a “technical” error when a “sophisticated” party to a legal proceeding manufactures false affidavits, counterfeits mortgages and assignments, reverse-engineers documents to support foreclosures, and forecloses. Given the history of instances where courts have fined banks for these practices, the consistent and constant fines for fraudulent documents are hardly an “error”.  These practices are the affect of a lawless servicing culture that has yet to be held accountable. It is more like organized crime than a technicality.

The problem, unfortunately extends beyond the bogus fees and bad documents typical in a bankruptcy or judicial foreclosure proceeding.  In a lien theory state, such as Nevada, there is no system to police the servicer banks. Before securitization, the Trustee marshaled the process. The trustee is supposed to be an independent party that insures the foreclosure process is conducted pursuant to the law. This is no longer the case. Trustees are often owned by, or an affiliate of, the default servicer.

In a foreclosure, whether it is judicial or non-judicial, only the mortgagee (the beneficial interest holder) has the authority to direct a foreclosure. Because the banks, now servicers, originated these loans and perhaps disregarded the requirements of transferring the loans, they have an additional conflict of interest with the securitized investors to whom they sold the loans. Recall that servicers are supposed to protect the process and call out problems with documents. In many cases, the servicers are hesitant to point out document defects as they often would be blowing the whistle on themselves or their affiliates, hence robo-signing.  Document defects would also allow the new beneficial interest holders (owner of the note) to force buy-backs to the originator (now servicer) bank which sold them the note.

The securitization process, failures in documentation and other serious matters were discussed in the Congressional Oversight Panel’s report. The report noted that property and ownership documents may not have been properly transferred in the securitization process. The sheer volume of mortgages securitized resulted in the fall of the underwriting quality, and the failure to abide by the strict transfer requirements mandated by the trusts that bought the mortgages. The failure to properly document and transfer the mortgages could result in the trusts either not owning the loan or not having the ability to foreclose. Again, be reminded that the banks and servicers invented and controlled the securitization process making it possible in large volume. If the trusts have botched paperwork or no paperwork at all due to assignment failures, the trust investors would be profoundly impacted causing investor claims against servicers and those in the security chain and demands for put-backs to skyrocket. The “if” is a big and very well protected “if.” Such losses could put tax payers’ bailout money at risk if the banks become insolvent as a result.

There is thought to be nearly $6.2T of securitized debt in default (this does not include second liens). If even a portion of this could be forced back on to the banks because it was not properly transferred to the investor trust (called an “investor put-back demand”), the originator bank (who is likely to now be the servicer bank) could be in dire financial straits as the debt associated with the defaulted loans would greatly exceed working capital of banks. It is therefore in the best interest of the servicer banks to push loans into foreclosure because they can collect the default fees, sweep the document problems under the rug, and avoid put-backs and investor law suits, all while no one is looking.

The documentation problems are widespread in securitized loans. It is nearly impossible to discover who owns a note if it has been securitized. Traditionally, if a note was sold, it was recorded in the public records for the whole world to see. The banks, however, decided that they could do better than what county recorders and court houses have done for hundreds of years.  Instead of following the traditional process, the banks decided to quit recording mortgage related documents in the public records. Their reasoning: the sheer velocity and volume of transactions jammed up the public recorder’s office and prevented them from transferring/selling loans fast enough. So, the banks/securitizers created MERS (“Mortgage Electronic Recordation System”). MERS is a private recordation system which effectively removes from the public record the identity of mortgage owners or those in its chain. With the MERS system, when you want to discover whether the document chain is correct, you must ask the bank or servicer to provide it to you. This document control is more than a convenience; it enables the documents to be manufactured and “corrected” before the public can detect it or claim it as a defense to foreclosure.

But alas, it appears that judges and voters have begun to question the banks with justified suspicion. Let us hope our elected officials continue to do the same. Attorneys across the country have rallied against the crafty practices of the banks and servicers for years with little success. Despite these well-grounded arguments, judges and politicians continue to be swooned by the long held belief that the banks are never wrong. When the general public cannot afford to prove it, we must rely on officials.

Our banking industry holds all of the monetary, infrastructural and political cards necessary to keep the door to their closet locked. Through courts and political inquiries which question the authenticity and accurateness of all documents claimed to support their position, we must pry back the doors and hold banks and servicers accountable for their portion of this catastrophe. Banks and servicers can no longer enjoy the “untouchable” culture.  If we are going to put this economy back on solid footing we must:

  1. Establish a Nevada task force to investigate the foreclosure conduct of trustees and default servicers and conformance with Nevada statutes;
  2. Ban privatized recordation systems and force compliance with traditional recording requirements;
  3. Enact laws that prevent MERS from foreclosing in its name or as a nominee;
  4. Force banks and servicers to demonstrate proof of proper mortgage documentation before foreclosing, regardless of judicial or non-judicial foreclosure;
  5. Punish those banks and servicers who have prepared or filed false documentation or worked in avoidance of the letter of the law in foreclosures, bankruptcy or otherwise;
  6. Force principal reductions where the documentation is faulty or the property is under water by more than 50%;
  7. Create a tax structure that incentivizes investor/owners to modify loans;
  8. Create a mortgage only bankruptcy where formulaic modifications are granted;
  9. Force banks to take the losses on bad debt they created; and
  10. Allocate all mortgage related losses so that not just the government, investors, and borrowers are damaged. (The banks need to suffer the loss for, in fact, they are more than in simple part responsible for creating it.)

With the help of the Congressional Oversight Panel’s report and the recent United States Senate hearings, the nation can begin to identify the hypocrisy of a banking culture that wags its fingers at borrowers who either cannot pay or refuse to pay their mortgages, and cry “moral hazard”. The banks and their servicers created and drove the securitization machine. Now, as our economy suffers from this process, the banks are still at the wheel, avoiding suspicion and pocketing money made from the rise and burst of the bubble.

Tisha Black Chernine, Esq.

Click to read Attorney General Catherine Masto’s letter to Bank of America.

Tagged with: