What Homeowners Need to Know About Florida’s New Speedy Foreclosure Law

iStock_000007639653XSmallBy Omar J. Arcia, Esq.
Foreclosure Defense and Consumer Bankruptcy Protection Attorney

After a two year effort, Florida legislators approved a new foreclosure law that significantly affects the rights of homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages. Under the veil of “helping Florida’s economic recovery,” Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 87 into law on June 7, 2013. Unless this new law is overturned by the courts, it is expected to have a profound impact on the foreclosure process in favor of the banks and homeowners’ associations.

The new law permits a lender or its servicer to file a foreclosure action and instead of being required to prove its right to foreclose, it unfairly shifts the burden on the homeowner to “prove” that the lender “does not have the right” to foreclose. This new procedure is time sensitive, and if the homeowner does not provide the necessary evidence, a final judgment of foreclosure is entered. In as quickly as 45 days, the property could be sold at a foreclosure auction. The new law also provides homeowners’ associations with same expanded rights to quickly evict non-paying homeowners through this new expedited foreclosure process.

For homeowners that are behind on their mortgage or HOA payments (but not yet in foreclosure), it is imperative that you immediately consult with a legal professional about your case. There are a number of “pre-foreclosure” steps that must be taken in order to defend yourself and your family from this new speedy foreclosure law. Remember you will only have a limited amount of time (20 days) to prove that the party suing for foreclosure does not have the legal right to do so. This means that the evidence needs to be gathered before the foreclosure process starts, and there are critical requests for information that must be presented to lenders prior to a foreclosure to avoid losing your home.  

The new speedy foreclosure law also states that if your house is foreclosed on fraudulently, you cannot get it back. You will only be entitled to file an action for damages against the lender or other party that obtained the wrongful foreclosure. We all know that in foreclosure cases there are a disturbing number of mistakes being made by banks and their attorneys. For those homeowners currently in foreclosure, it is critically important that any mistakes in the process be identified and brought to the attention of the court BEFORE a final judgment.

In short, this new speedy foreclosure law is wrong, and it clearly violates the due process rights of the good citizens of Florida. It will force many more homeowners into bankruptcy as the only reliable means of saving their home.  

More detailed explanations of different options available to homeowners in foreclosure, at risk of foreclosure, or considering bankruptcy are discussed in a new consumer-friendly DVD developed by the Arcia Law Firm entitled “Fight For Your Home,” available for purchase on our website. If you mention that you heard about the DVD through this blog post you will receive a FREE copy during the appointment to discuss your case in detail with a member of our qualified legal team. Contact the Arcia Law Firm today at 954-437-9066 to schedule a free consultation, or visit www.arcialawfirm.com for more information.    

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