New Florida law may increase need for foreclosure defense

New Florida law may increase need for foreclosure defense

Foreclosure of residential property became more common once the recent recession began taking effect on the economy. Florida was hit especially hard with 102,000 foreclosures over the last 12 months, leaving tens of thousands of people in need of foreclosure defense. However, the state's inefficient foreclosure process has kept many of these homes from re-entering the real estate marketplace. This lack of efficiency has led to a slow recovery in the state's real estate market, which prompted lawmakers to act in order to streamline the foreclosure process.

Florida's governor recently signed legislation into law, which will streamline Florida's foreclosure process for residential property. This came after lobbyists for the Florida Bankers Association organized bank employees in a campaign to flood the governor's mailbox with letters pleading with him to approve the proposed bill. Proponents of the new law argued that by streamlining the foreclosure process the economy will ultimately benefit.

Those who opposed the bill believe that the new law will give those with a financial interest too much power to speed up the foreclosure process by reducing the process from two hearings to one single hearing. Upon the judge's approval a foreclosure complaint can now receive a hearing date for as early as 20 days after the filing of the complaint. These provisions in the new law will make it significantly easier for banks to kick people out of their homes.

On the other hand, the new law also ensures some protections against abuse by the bankers. The new law requires lending institutions to show detailed proof that they actually are the true owners of the mortgage or sufficiently explain why they are not able to prove ownership. Also, banks have less time to pursue deficiency judgments. This time frame has been reduced from five years to one year.

However, these protections may not be enough to keep a person in Florida from losing his or her home. Many times a strong foreclosure defense will be required in order to keep a person's home from being taken away. This will require knowledge of applicable laws regulating the foreclosure process.

Source: CPA Practice Advisor, "New Florida law speeds up foreclosure process," June 9, 2013