BUSINESS LAW: COVID-19 RESPONSE

Covid-19 and Your Business

The COVID–19 effects on the economy are unknown, but they will be complex and profound. The country is living, literally, in uncertainty and on borrowed money. When reality catches up, it will be hard and trying.

The time to transition and adapt is now. We do not know how long the virus will stay, and if and when, it will return. Consumer spending will be down considerably even after the pandemic leaves. The solution lies in positioning the business for resurgence and not wasting resources on just surviving.

We can help you.

The closure of businesses was precipitated by the virus but it was a legal decision taken by the government. Therefore, part of your business’ resurgence lies in legally arranging your business affairs in a way that resources are conserved for the future. The firm is ready to assist you and your business in the preservation of assets for the transition and come back.    

Give us a call. Time is of the essence. Make a plan now and let us give you solutions and advice for peace of mind.

Business Services and Advice You Need Now:

  • Understanding the effect of COVID 19 on your business
  • Organizing Legal Survival Strategies for your business
  • Strategic Non-Payment Analysis and Plans
  • Commercial Evictions, Landlord Tenant Work-Outs
  • Loan, Debt and Contract Special Assets Negotiation
  • Loan Modification, Forbearance and Deferments Agreements
  • Relief from foreclosure CARES act 4023
  • Commercial Foreclosures Defense, Short Salesand Distressed Properties
  • Defending Property Foreclosures with Bankruptcy Reorganization
  • Reorganizing the Business under Federal Law Protection
  • Bankruptcies (see Bankruptcy section for information on Bankruptcy protection, reorganization, and liquidation)

SBA BUSINESS PAYCHECK LOAN PROGRAM

The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses (with fewer than 500 employees) with loans up to 2.5 times the borrower’s average monthly payroll costs. The amount that can be borrowed tops out at $10 million. However, nationwide, there are only $349 Billion Dollars allocated for this program and Loans will be given on a first-come, first-served basis, according to a senior SBA official.

You can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) at any lending institution that is approved to participate in the program through the existing U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) lending program and additional lenders approved by the Department of Treasury.

Borrowers must certify that their business has been affected by the coronavirus slowdown. And businesses must have been in operation as of Feb. 15 to be eligible to apply.

Lenders will not require collateral or a personal guarantee.

You May Not Have To Pay The Loan Back

Borrowed money used for expenses relating to payroll, mortgage interest, rent, or utilities in the eight weeks following the date of origination can be forgiven. This means that a business owners will not have to pay the government back the full principal amount of the money borrowed.

Borrowers will need to provide documentation of these expenses in their loan forgiveness application. A decision on forgiveness of the Paycheck Protection Program loan will be made within 60 days of forgiveness submission.

“The loans will be forgiven as long as the funds are used to keep employees on the payroll and for certain other expenses,” said Treasury Secretary Mnuchin.

The forgiven money will be reduced for employers that lay off employees or reduce wages by more than 25%.

Laid-off employees must be rehired by June 30 for companies to recoup their wages through loan forgiveness, according to a senior SBA official.

RELIEF FROM FORECLOSURE CARES ACT § 4023 (Multi-family building owners)

Enacted on March 25th 2020, the CARES Act Relief from Foreclosure: CARES Act § 4023 provides foreclosure relief for multifamily borrower with a Federally backed multifamily mortgage loan that was current on its payments as of February 1, 2020. A ‘‘multifamily borrower’’ is defined as a borrower of a residential mortgage loan that is secured by a lien against a property comprising 5 or more dwelling units. This includes any loan (other than temporary financing such as a construction loan).  

A covered multifamily borrower, may submit an oral or written request for forbearance to the borrower’s servicer affirming that the multifamily borrower is experiencing a financial hardship during the COVID–19 emergency. During the covered period, a multifamily borrower with a Federally backed multifamily mortgage loan experiencing a financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID–19 emergency may request a forbearance under the terms set forth in this section.

Upon receipt of an oral or written request for forbearance from a multifamily borrower, a servicer shall:

(A) document the financial hardship;

(B) provide the forbearance for up to 30 days; and

(C) extend the forbearance for up to 2 additional 30 day periods (90 Days) upon the request of the borrower provided that, the borrower’s request for an extension is made during the covered period, and, at least 15 days prior to the end of the forbearance period described under subparagraph (B).

A multifamily borrower shall have the option to discontinue the forbearance at any time.

The termination date of the national emergency concerning the novel coronavirus disease (COVID–19) outbreak declared by the President on March 13, 2020 under the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.); or December 31, 2020.

RENTER PROTECTIONS DURING CARES § 4023 FORBEARANCE PERIOD.

A multifamily borrower that receives a forbearance under this section may NOT, for the duration of the forbearance

(1) evict or initiate the eviction of a tenant from a dwelling unit located in or on the applicable property solely for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges; or

(2) charge any late fees, penalties, or other charges to a tenant described in paragraph (1) for late payment of rent.

(3) may not require a tenant to vacate a dwelling unit located in or on the applicable property before the date that is 30 days after the date on which the borrower provides the tenant with a notice to vacate; and

(4) may not issue a notice to vacate under paragraph (1) until after the expiration of the forbearance.

MORATORIUMS ON EVICTIONS AND LONG-TERM WORKOUTS

  • Temporary BANS ON Evictions in Miami Dade and Broward County.
  • Chief Justice Charles Canady issued an administrative order last week changing the rulebook on evictions and foreclosures. The order gives circuit court clerks in each of the state’s 67 counties the power to temporarily halt issuing the final document in an eviction or foreclosure process. The document, called a writ of possession, enables law enforcement to remove tenants or homeowners under foreclosure.
  • While it is clear that these bans are temporary in nature, they can be rescinded, revived or extended as the situation changes.
  • Because these bans happen quickly and are presumptively temporary in nature, altering leases to meet the new reality is a vital part of your survival plan and should be done as quickly as possible. The need for the landlord to save its property from creditors will play an important part in that negotiation. A balance must exist between the business’ ability to pay and the landlord’s need for funds to pay its obligations. Convincing all parties that everyone’s survival is based on the ability of the parties to reach this equilibrium is the key component.

 COMMERCIAL MORTGAGE LOAN FORBEARANCE DEFERMENTS AND LOAN MODIFICATIONS

Does your business need Commercial loan Forbearance, Deferment and/or Loan Modification help in Florida?

When it comes to a debt negotiation, loan modification, forbearance or deferments time is of the essence. The Law Office of Pelayo Duran will represent you to aggressively pursue a suitable retention options and alternatives, deferments, forbearances and commercial loan modification agreement with your lender.

If we determine that you are a good candidate for a bankruptcy, loan modification or short sale, you can be confident that we have the legal expertise and knowledge required to pursue a successful resolution on your behalf.

If you are facing financial hardship and you need to pursue a mortgage forbearance, deferment or loan modification, it is most important that you do not wait to get the legal help you need.  If you act quickly, the more options, opportunities, and a much better chance of success. The quicker you act, the more incentive for your lender to reach an agreement, earlier in the process.

Pelayo Duran and his team are skilled experienced negotiator capable of obtaining a favorable outcome with your Commercial lender. Pelayo and his team have handled hundreds of loan modification negotiations in the past and brings a wealth of experience to your team.

Contact the Law Office of Pelayo Duran for immediate assistance with your mortgage loan modification needs.

Situations Expected to Arise in Small and Medium Business

Coming out of this crisis most creditors will know that they need to be flexible. The question is whether they will be flexible enough to help you and your businesses survive the crisis. The creditor’s needs in order to survive may not be compatible with yours. This will become clearer as time goes by and everyone feels the squeeze of insufficient funds to meet their commitments.  At a time like this, you will need experienced and reliable counsel, to negotiate and fight for your business need and to bring a clear perspective on how to survive.

The Law Office of Pelayo Duran done it successfully thousands of times, having led clients through several recessions and economic reverses. In one case, they managed a client’s legal affairs through five years in a default forbearance agreement during the great recession from 2010 through 2015.  In another case, they renegotiated all pending contractual agreements in order to create a performance schedule that could be met by the company without overwhelming the scaled down organization. Here are just some tools that are available for this down turn.

NEGOTIATING DEBTS, REWORKING CONTRACTS, GAINING TIME

A reworking of debts, contracts and leases will give a business the ability to marshal its funds and assets in a way that the entity will have sufficient cash flow to survive and then begin to flourish once the situation begins to change. The strategic default plan that is the basis of the restructuring of the obligations will be designed taking into account the type of legal obligation of each debt or contract, the importance to the business of the commercial relationship with the third party involved in the every transaction, and the ability to transition that obligation should the business have to reorganize under federal protection.

FEDERALLY PROTECTED REORGANIZATION

With timely planning, a company or business can design various level of protection for itself. One tool that is psychologically difficult to use, and even consider, is bankruptcy reorganization. Still, default, bankruptcy and liquidation analysis are very useful tool for companies to evaluate their current situation. Some of these companies may eventually need protection by a judge in order to reorganize and adapt to new conditions in the market place. The important factor is that the entity or organization still be viable and capable of doing business successfully once it reorganizes. It is especially important to establish a point of no return with counsel and accountant in order to determine the circumstance in which the business ceases to be viable. This analysis will guide the actions of the business and lead client and counsel in their negotiations with creditors and contractual relationships to the desirable viability position.

COMMERCIAL FORECLOSURE DEFENSE

If you are facing a Commercial Foreclosure in the State of Florida, Pelayo Duran can help.

If you become unable to meet the commercial mortgage payments on your commercial property and have not done so for 3 or more months, then it is likely that you are will be facing the prospect of a foreclosure action.

A foreclosure is commenced when a lender files court action and records a notice of a pending lawsuit (referred to as Lis Pendens) against the borrower. The lender usually notifies the borrower and any other affected parties in person or in some cases by mail or publication.

Once a foreclosure action begins the borrower must respond to the court action within a specified period of time (usually 20 days). If they fail to do so the clerk can find the borrower in default and the lender can then ask the court to make a final ruling.

If the court rules against the borrower, the ruling will declare the total amount owed to the lender due and payable and the foreclosure sale date is set.

The worst possible approach that you can take when facing a commercial foreclosure, is to ignore your situation. If you want to avoid a foreclosure sale, then you should seek the assistance of a qualified commercial foreclosure attorney who is able to negotiate with the lender on your behalf.

Call The Law Office of Pelayo Duran, for a legal consultation to assess the options available to you.

Remember that many times a Foreclosure action may proceed without your knowledge.

Usually you will be aware that your mortgage situation is deteriorating because you are not making a payment and you will normally receive letters or calls from your lender in response to the delinquent status of your mortgage account. However, Florida state law does not require a lender to advise you when they chose to proceed with court action. This means that you could be suddenly faced with the prospect of losing your home in a foreclosure sale.

If you retain The Law Office of Pelayo Duran to represent your legal interest they can negotiate with your lender on your behalf while aggressively defending your legal rights. This will maximize the potential for continuing to operate your business, formulate a sale of your business or property or find a resolution which would allow you to avoid a commercial foreclosure sale.

Don’t wait until your lender decides to act.

Act first, and call today to arrange a confidential consultation with Pelayo Duran.

COMMERCIAL SHORT SALES

Commercial borrowers should not pursue a Short Sale without an experienced Real Estate Broker, Foreclosure Defense, Bankruptcy and Short Sale Attorney on their team.

Pelayo Duran is a Real Estate Broker, Foreclosure Defense, Bankruptcy and Short Sale Attorney.

If you think a short sale might be the appropriate solution for your commercial financial circumstances, it is critical that you exercise caution when choosing the professionals team that will assist you. You should be aware that real estate agents are not lawyers and they are paid only if the short sales actually close. This can create a potential for extreme conflict of interest if closing the short sale would not be in the homeowner’s best legal interest.

It is important to work with a qualified and experienced Real Estate Broker, Foreclosure Defense, Bankruptcy and Short Sale Attorney and a also and experienced tax advisor on your team before selling your property in a short sale, since there could be potential tax repercussions.

Often times the IRS considers the difference between the value at which you sell your property, and the balance on the existing mortgage, as income, unless directed or discharged otherwise.

Most short sale sellers can close the transaction without owing any additional taxes, but care must be taken to ensure that the deal is structured and executed correctly.

Once again, only a qualified Real Estate Broker, Foreclosure Defense, Bankruptcy and Short Sale Attorney working alongside of your tax advisor can give you the tax and legal advice and fully protect your interests in a short sale transaction.

If you need a Real Estate Broker real estate broker, Foreclosure Defense, Bankruptcy and Short Sale Attorney, contact the Law Office of Pelayo Duran now to arrange your free legal consultation.

ADDRESSING A DEFICIENCY AND PERSONAL GUARANTEES AFTER A SHORT SALE

Lenders frequently ask business owners to sign a promissory note or refuse to release guarantors from liability after the transaction is closed. Closing a short sale on these terms actually places a guarantors at a disadvantage. Only a qualified real estate and a Foreclosure Defense and Short Sale Attorney such as Pelayo Duran, can offer you sound legal advice and ensure that all your legal interests are all fully and adequately represented.

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