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Florida Foreclosure Bill

Posted on | May 5, 2010 | No Comments

Major changes to the current Florida residential foreclosure process is being considered and “consumer homeowner protections” are on the chopping block. The original House Bill 1523 has been shelved and instead, SB 2270 is moving ahead with great speed. I am referring to “The Nonjudicial Foreclosure Act for Non-homestead Properties” which allows lenders to skip legal proceedings unless the borrower requests the foreclosure to go through the courts. Currently, Florida law requires a lender to file a foreclosure lawsuit and have the foreclosure granted by a judge.
HELP Foreclosure
More to the point, The Florida Bankers Association encourages the adding of three letters, “NON”, to be placed in front of the word “Judicial” in Regards to Florida’s Foreclosure Process. In this bill they propose changing the Florida law which currently requires foreclosures to be adjudicated through the courts to a new law which would allow foreclosures to bypass the judicial system altogether to become a NON Judicial foreclosure state.

The Florida Bankers Associations’ Comments to the Florida Supreme Court Task Force on Foreclosures may shed some light on the situation:

“It is a reality of commerce that virtually all paper documents related to a note and mortgage are converted to electronic files almost immediately after the loan is closed. Individual loans, as electronic data, are compiled into portfolios which are transferred to the secondary market, frequently as mortgage-backed securities.”

“The reason “many firms file lost note counts as a standard alternative pleading in the complaint” is because the physical document was deliberately eliminated to avoid confusion immediately upon its conversion to an electronic file.”

What this also means is that Florida:

* will join the current 37 states which allow non-judicial foreclosures to proceed without any protections for the homeowner?
* will allow the Bankers to bully the judicial branch as they already have done to the executive and legislative branches?
* will shift the $1,900 foreclosure lawsuit filing fee from the foreclosing entity to the financially stressed, perhaps newly unemployed Floridian family trying to defend their home?
* will transfer the “burden of proof” in a foreclosure action from the foreclosing bank to the homeowner ?
* will eliminate the right of due process granted by the U.S. Constitution:
o Right to a fair and public trial conducted in a competent manner
o Right to be present at the trial
o Right to an impartial jury
o Right to be heard in one’s own defense

In reality, this bill (if it passes) would not help the existing backlog of foreclosures because it will apply only to new cases. If there is a “good side” to the passing of this bill, it would begin to shorten the time that houses would remain vacant and abandoned in our neighborhoods and communities. The projected time line for a “new” foreclosure would be thirty to ninety days.

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