Florida Passes Expedited Foreclosure Bill

Florida Passes Expedited Foreclosure Bill

06/09/2013 BY: KRISTA FRANKS BROCK

Florida Gov. Rick Scott passed a bill Friday he said will help the state’s housing market and in turn the state’s overall economy.

Florida H.B. 87 was introduced in January by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo and passed both state legislatures in May with bipartisan support.

“Florida’s housing market is important to our economy’s continuous recovery and this bill will aid in that effort by placing abandoned homes, caught up in the foreclosure backlog, back onto the market,” Scott wrote in a letter Friday with the passage of the bill.

“This bill expedites an existing voluntary alternative court process for defaulted home loans in uncontested cases when the borrower and the bank both seek a more speedy finality,” Scott said.

Scott also pointed out some provisions aimed at protecting consumers, “including a reduction in the length of time a lender has to file a deficiency judgment and a requirement for a lender

to certify that they possess the note prior to filing civil action,” as well as provisions for “innocent third party purchasers of a foreclosed home.”

However, not everyone agrees the bill is in the best interest of homeowners. The Law Office of Johnny J. Bardine, P.A., called the bill “disastrous to Florida consumers and homeowners” on its website.

Likewise, the Florida Consumer Action Network said the bill “has the real potential to do more harm than good” while it “fails to address the real problem – rampant fraud in foreclosure documents.”

While the bill did receive bipartisan support, Sen. Darren Soto opposed the bill from the start, claiming in infringed on property rights.

The new foreclosure law shortens the statute of limitations on deficiency actions from five years to one year.

The bill designates new requirements for filing a foreclosure. Banks must have proof they have the right to foreclose on a property before filing for foreclosure.

The new requirements “are fairly stringent and will require modification of forms and likely processes to adapt,” said Dan Consuegra, Esq., managing partner at the Tampa, Florida-based Law Offices of Daniel C. Consuegra, P.L., in a newsletter to his clients Friday.

The new statute of limitations and document requirements become effective in July.

The law also allows property associations or other third parties to move for expedited foreclosures. This portion of the law, which goes into effect immediately, “presents some interesting challenges and opportunities,” according to Consuegra.

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