A new foreclosure bill is being proposed by Florida legislature to speed up foreclosures in Florida. Although recently passed by a Senate committee, the bill still must pass three more committees in the Senate and one more in the House. The bill is designed to speed foreclosure cases through the court system by allowing semi-retired judges to take on foreclosure cases, as well as allowing a number of other provisions designed to help "streamline" the amount of foreclosure cases in the state of Florida. Florida already holds a quarter of the nation's foreclosure cases, and is working to expedite the judicial process of foreclosure.
Provisions to the new foreclosure bill include:
- Reducing the amount of time banks have to sue for a deficiency on a mortgage. Now banks will have only one year (instead of the current 5 years) to sue the homeowner for the difference of the loan amount and the amount the house sold for. If the bill passes, banks will have one year to sue the homeowner for the deficiency between what the house sold for and what was owed on the mortgage at the time of foreclosure.
- Banks must provide more substantial proof they own the mortgage or explain why they can't prove ownership.
- Allowing semi-retired judges to hear foreclosure cases.
Opponents of the bill are arguing that seniors may have trouble finding foreclosure auction notices, since the bill also has a provision allowing that foreclosure sales no longer need to be listed in the newspaper, and that posting the listing online would be sufficient.
Other lawmakers argue that speeding up the foreclosure process will push foreclosure cases with fraud through the system. There won't be time for homeowners to have proper defenses.
This will prevent homeowners from having enough time to apply for loan modifications or come to an agreement with the bank before the house is foreclosed on. An expedited process also gives homeowners and their lawyers less time to catch mistakes made by the bank. After banks were caught "robosigning" documents a few years back, many are afraid that banks are still not being held accountable for their actions especially with the abundance of paperwork changing hands.
As a homeowner, the best way to protect yourself from foreclosure is to hire a foreclosure defense attorney to deal directly with the bank and the court system. With foreclosure laws changing almost daily, it's nearly impossible for homeowners to fully understand their rights. Only a foreclosure attorney can make sure that you are protected in the event of foreclosure. Simply applying for a loan modification with the bank will not stop the foreclosure process. Only a lawyer can help prolong foreclosure while a loan modification is being processed. Make sure to find an attorney that provides foreclosure defense as well as loan modifications.
The Florida Foreclosure Bill, if passed, could speed up the foreclosure process in the state of Florida. Make sure you are protected by a foreclosure defense attorney who is aware of the laws and can fight for your rights as a homeowner.