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Florida Supreme Court signs plan to tackle foreclosure backlog

Serving Families Throughout Fort Walton Beach

In a recent post, we discussed how Florida foreclosure rates remain high. Unfortunately, Florida has maintained one of the highest foreclosure rates across the entire nation since the economy started to plummet. With estimates of 400,000 pending foreclosures, and three-year projections forecasting an additional 700,000 foreclosure cases arising, there are thousands of homeowners in Florida in dire straits.

When we discussed the current improvement of the housing industry in the state, we mentioned that the lack of inventory is creating strain and driving up prices. A real estate broker says that speeding up the foreclosure backlog carried in the state's courts could in effect increase inventory, thereby preventing another housing bubble. However, this "inventory" would be the homes that families lost to foreclosure.

To address this backlog, the Florida Supreme Court recently approved a measure that will allow non-judges, entities called "general magistrates," to handle these foreclosure cases. The final order will still need to be reviewed by a judge, but many remain in opposition to this new approach.

Many argue in defense of individuals facing foreclosure, saying that these people facing the possibility of losing their home deserve to have their case heard by a judge, not a quick-fix general magistrate. This push to quickly clear the foreclosure backlog could end up hurting a large population of individual homeowners.

It goes without saying that facing the threat of foreclosure is scary. However, a lawyer can assist an individual understand and explore all opportunities for foreclosure alternatives. Particularly as the state is looking to speed up this process, it is imperative to have a strong advocate this will help an individual save their home.

Source: Bradenton Herald, "Florida court OKs using non-judges on foreclosures," Gary Fineout, May 10, 2013

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