Housing recovery likely delayed due to Sandy

The housing market may take even longer than expected to recover in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. While foreclosure filings across the United States were down 19 percent in October from the same period last year, October saw an increase from September in both foreclosure starts and overall foreclosure filings, according to data from RealtyTrac, a market research company. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut saw the biggest increases in foreclosure filings for the month of October. The New York area already has one of longest foreclosure processes in the nation, with foreclosures taking longer on average to complete than other areas of the nation. This likely will get worse as a result of moratoriums on foreclosures that have been put into place following Hurricane Sandy. One option for New York-area homeowners who face long foreclosure processes may be filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows homeowners avoid foreclosure on their homes and obtain a fresh financial start. Under Chapter 13, the homeowner establishes a court-supervised repayment plan that provides for monthly payments to creditors over a period of three to five years, depending on the homeowner’s monthly income. The Chapter 13 repayment plan allows the homeowner to… Continue reading

What happens to personal property in bankruptcy?

Individuals who are considering filing for bankruptcy may wonder what will become of their personal property. Will things like their televisions, DVD players, and computers really be repossessed and sold to pay off creditors? The answer depends on the situation. When someone files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, that individual’s assets are sold to pay their debts. In exchange, the person receives relief from certain debts and a fresh financial start. Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t mean the person will lose everything, however. There are a number of bankruptcy exemptions that may apply, meaning some assets will be exempt from liquidation. In many cases, these exempt assets are enough to meet the typical person’s needs. If a person has assets that are used as collateral to secure a loan, such as a car loan or a loan to buy jewelry, those assets are not protected and may be repossessed by the lender. Exemptions depend on the particular state law and generally apply only to items that are paid in full and owned outright. New York state exemptions include things like clothing, furniture, cookware, and other necessary household items worth up to $10,000. Anything over that amount arguably… Continue reading

Delays create financial issues for gas drilling company

Regulatory delays in New York have led to bankruptcy for a natural gas drilling company. The U.S. subsidiary of Norway-based Norse Energy Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, corporate officials announced Dec. 7. The company’s Buffalo-based chief legal officer cited the state’s 4-year-old moratorium on drilling permits and the company’s growing debt as the reasons for the voluntary filing. Although Norse has leased 130,000 acres in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale region in southern New York, the company has been unable to begin drilling there. The state has maintained a moratorium on drilling permits since 2008 while the Department of Environmental Conservation develops regulations for mass hydraulic fracturing, a method for extracting natural gas from shale that has created some controversy. The regulations have been delayed for an environmental impact review of the process. In the mean time, Norse has let 54 people go, leaving only six employees in New York. It also has been selling off gas and oil leases and some property to meet its operating expenses and to pay creditors. The company said last month that it had enough cash to last into December, but then a court ordered it to put $7.6 million into… Continue reading

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