The foreclosure crisis is no stranger to Florida, where over one-fourth of the country’s foreclosures are located. Many homeowners are underwater in their mortgages and as a result, there many vacant and abandoned properties littered across the state. At issue is the length of time it takes lenders to initiate and complete foreclosure procedures, but that could all change with the passing of the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act.
The goal of the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act is to speed up the process of foreclosures for both the homeowners and the lenders themselves. A recent estimate shows that there are well over 300,000 foreclosure cases pending in Florida and that current foreclosure protocols may be part of the problem. The need for change in foreclosure procedures is evident by the numerous homes that stay vacant so long that they detract from the value of surrounding homes and encourage a criminal element.
One way in which the legislation proposes to change former foreclosure practice is by allowing any lien holder to initiate a foreclosure process, whereas previously only the lender could. Lenders are often slow to do so because many homes are worth less than their mortgage. The intent is to encourage lenders to conclude a foreclosure by the pressure of other parties.
In under the new law, lenders also must use a checklist to help determine when a home is truly vacant, in theory making a foreclosure easier. Yet another change will be a requirement to submit all necessary documents at the outset of a foreclosure as opposed to continually doing so during a proceeding, so the process is as efficient as possible.
The foreclosure system in Florida as it stands now is completely overwhelmed and this legislation aims to benefit all parties by providing relief and streamlining the process. There are several reasons why lenders and homeowners may take their time in completing the process, but the hope is that through change, the system itself will improve and home values will once again begin to rise as a result.
Consult an Attorney
If you are facing foreclosure, contact an experienced foreclosure defense attorney, even if you cannot make your mortgage payments. An attorney can advise you of the legal protections available to you and work to resolve the issue in your favor.