- 17 Dec
Florida Law Change Could Shorten Foreclosure Time
Time is a major concern for any homeowner facing foreclosure. More than having the time to seek a financial solution to the problem, homeowners facing foreclosure need time to achieve foreclosure alternatives. Time is an essential element of many common alternatives like the mortgage modification or the short sale. A proposed state law could dramatically lessen the amount of time that homeowners and lawyers have to deal with foreclosures. The bill in question, designed to reduce cost to foreclosing lenders and promote judicial efficiency in the state, may make it very difficult for homeowners who are relying on having enough time to get their affairs in order prior to a final judgment in foreclosure.
The reasoning behind the proposed law is relatively straight-forward. Florida has never been a place where foreclosures happen quickly. In South Florida, there have been numerous accounts of foreclosure lawsuits taking three, four, even five years to resolve. Other times, cases are so numerous and slow moving that lenders forget that the property is even in foreclosure. Judges in Florida routinely call hearings to resolve and close foreclosure cases that have gone without activity for over a year.
To combat this inefficiency, and to reduce the costs incurred by condo and homeowner’s associations, Florida bill HB 87 was proposed. The stated intent of the law is to speed up the foreclosure process in Florida by requiring lenders to certify that they have the right to foreclose on a property. H.O.A.’s in the state have long complained that lenders purposely move slowly with foreclosure so that the cost of maintenance of the property can be pushed off on the associations for as long as possible. Speeding up the foreclosure process would put the property in the hands of the lender faster. The additional step of certification is rewarded in that lenders are no longer as responsible for wrongful foreclosure. Current law allows a homeowner to later sue for wrongful foreclosure with the ability to recover their home. This occasionally puts the lender in the position of having to recover a property that was sold to a third party. The new law eliminates this problem and only makes lenders liable for monetary damages, meaning that the property, once sold, cannot be recovered.
If the law works as intended, the foreclosure process in Florida could change dramatically. As has been mentioned in previous articles, the foreclosure lawsuit runs on a very different schedule from the foreclosure alternative schedule. For homeowners seeking a short sale, deed in lieu, or mortgage modification, time is the most important ingredient to success. It is always recommended to seek the advice of an experienced real estate attorney at the outset of any foreclosure. Beyond the useful advice that an attorney can give, an attorney can slow the foreclosure process, allowing valuable time to seek a foreclosure alternative. Experienced law firms like the Lamchick Law Group, P.A. address both the lawsuit and the lender to give foreclosure alternatives the best chance at success. When time is of the essence, be sure that you trust your attorney to fight on your behalf.
About the Author