Florida Foreclosure Bill Passes House Committee
After putting on the full-court press, a Florida foreclosure bill called HB 87 was able to pass the House committee. The proposal gives lenders just one year to pursue a judgment against a home owner if the sale of the foreclosed home doesn’t make-up what is still owed on their loan. Currently, the timeline gives lenders five years. The new bill also will require lenders to have all of their paperwork in order, including loan notes, when they file a foreclosure complaint. The bill was filed by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples.
She adds, “We need to make the sure the process is as efficient as possible while at the same time giving the borrower their due process rights. Unfortunately, if you don’t have an income or you can’t afford to pay anything, the property can’t just sit in limbo forever.”
Some consumer advocates say the bill brings about unfair changes for home owners who are already finding it difficult to defend themselves in the current foreclosure landscape. In South Florida, home foreclosures are on the rise once again, and advocates say this is a moderate form of the original proposal that will help speed up the process and clean-up the process.
The “faster foreclosures” proposal issues a variety of civil procedure changes that are specific to foreclosures in Florida. Currently, a Florida foreclosure can take more than 600 days to run its course, and proponents of the bill like Passidomo say it just can’t take that long anymore. The new bill brings about strict paperwork requirements for lenders and fast-track foreclosure procedures, and any backers say it couldn’t have come at a better time.
In Florida, foreclosure filings climbed 20% in the last year, and banks are getting ready to refocus on foreclosures once again after slowing down for about two years amid claims that bank employees improperly proceeded with foreclosure paperwork. The “robo-signing” scandal led to a landmark $25 billion national settlement between states and five major banks last year, clearing the way for a more streamlined foreclosure process.
Florida now has the highest foreclosure rate in the country, and despite the improvements in the housing market, experts say there are still plenty of foreclosures still to come. At present, one in five mortgages in Florida are delinquent, and over half of those have yet to enter the foreclosure process.
Passidomo is hopeful the new bill will speed things up. The original bill passed the Florida House last year, but died in the Senate. In the new bill, many of the controversial provisions, like the one allowing for faster foreclosure on homes that appear to be abandoned, have been scrapped.
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