Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Renters, Landlords and Flooded Property

Louisiana law provides...

If there are necessary repairs to a thing (such as a home) that cannot be postponed until the end of the lease, the landlord may make the repair, even if it causes inconvenience to, or displacement of the renter.

In real world language, this means anyone who is in a flooded rented home or business should anticipate the possibility of being displaced while repairs are being made. I recently  heard a tenant state to another landlord that she would not let him into the home...that she had to leave everything in its place "for FEMA."

It's important to understand that we are about to be in a major housing crisis. We need to get these homes repaired and inhabitable as soon as humanly possible.

Tenants and landlords should be taking photos of all damaged property and the surrounding areas--preferably with a cell phone for the time and GPS stamp. As soon as it is safe to do so, begin getting as many belongings out of these homes as possible.

Tenants, contact your landlords as soon as possible. Landlords, do the same.

Are You Flooded and May Miss Your Mortgage Payment?

You may have water damage to your home or business. If mortgage payments will be missed, please take steps to reach out to your lender.

Contact your mortgage company directly to work out a deferment plan for the monthly payments. This is a federally declared disaster, and lenders are being encouraged by the government to accommodate borrowers. They may do it with little or no penalties or late fees.

During Katrina, most of the lenders did this for their customers affected by the flood.

Please note: Any deferment of payments will be added to the balance of the loan.  We suggest you do this before the first missed payment to avoid a history of delinquency.

A final option may be a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If all other efforts fail, you may still be able to stop foreclosure with a bankruptcy filing. This is not the first option to try. We expect most mortgage holders will be reasonably helpful.  If other options do not work, it is always something to consider.

Link to:

Gouner Bankruptcy Clients

If you are presently in a bankruptcy with us, please call our office before you finalize the resolution of any claims with your insurer.  As part of the bankruptcy process, the trustee will likely have to approve your settlement before you can conclude the process.  We understand this may slow the process of resolving your claim and complicate the handling.

For a homeowner, this may mean you will need to provide an accounting of the repairs to be done and document where the money goes as part of the process.  Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where it is much better to be safe than sorry.  You do not want to settle the claim and cash the check without getting proper approval, then having the trustee file an objection to your getting a discharge or a request for a dismissal.

We do not expect this will be a major roadblock for most people; however, part of being in bankruptcy is having some oversight from the court.  Our office is here to assist.  

Call us before completing any deals with the your insurance company.

(225) 293-6200 or toll free (800) 404-1921

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Traffic, Technology and Privacy

Police are getting more aggressive about traffic violations. In some states, that includes stepping up enforcement of texting and driving violations. New York lawmakers are considering a law to make it mandatory for drivers in a wreck to have their cell phones scanned to see if they have used them before the crash.

The New York bill raises privacy concerns, because it would allow the police to go through your phone as part of a routine fender bender. The technology already exists that allows police to do an automatic search of phones, and it’s being used by the FBI.  If other states adopt similar laws, local police could start using the scanners on cell phones to catch people who text and drive.

The budget crunch in Louisiana has already resulted in additional law enforcement and revenue collections through ticket writing.  It would not be a surprise if our state joins the trend of checking cell phone usage as part of the process.  This could also result in insurance companies having more reasons to increase rates and possibly drop some drivers.

We know people are reluctant to call an attorney for something that seems “minor.” Tickets, however, sometimes snowball. Over a few years, a few tickets can result in a big bump in your insurance premiums. The Gouner Law Office handles criminal and traffic charges statewide. We can get authorities across Louisiana to offer breaks on most tickets.  With more aggressive and frequent ticketing, it is important to keep your record as clean as possible.

Written By: Greg Gouner