Florida Foreclosure Bill Passes Legislature
Written by Emil Fleysher | May 13, 2013 | Foreclosure
Despite being defeated multiple times in past legislative sessions, the bill designed to speed up the foreclosure process passed the Senate on Friday, May 3rd with a 26-13 vote, largely along party lines. The bill has already passed the House and will go to Governor Rick Scott next for final approval. Concerns about the number of foreclosure cases clogging up the court system have been an ongoing issue for years. Currently, there are an estimated 352,890 cases statewide that this new bill will help push along. In addition to reducing the time a bank has to recover the mortgage balance on the foreclosed property from the past owner, this bill allows homeowners’ associations to help push the cases through the court system.
Critics still point to examples of lender fraud as well as obstruction of due process by forcing a defense before the defendant has enough time to build their defense as reasons to not fast-track foreclosure cases, but concerns about maintaining Florida’s real estate recovery won out. It has been more than three years since the official end of the Great Recession and both home prices and new construction are on the rise. Additionally, sympathy for delinquent mortgagees may be declining. Despite the “robo-signing” scandal where banks and law firms produced falsified documents used to foreclose on properties, the new legislation prevents a homeowner who loses a foreclosure case from regaining the property even if there was fraud present in the case. Representatives claim more harm than good would come from not including this provision because otherwise timely payers could be forced out of their homes for the benefit of the non-paying ex-owner. According to Republican Senator Jack Latvala, the sponsor of the bill, Florida’s real estate market will not get back to normal until the backlog of cases has been handled.
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