Florida, like most states across the country, has no shortage of homes mired in the foreclosure process. According to RealtyTrac’s foreclosure site, more than 19,000 Florida properties received a foreclosure filing in April. And the average Florida foreclosure takes a long time to process.
This is why the Florida state legislature last year approved $6 million to fund courts designed to speed the foreclosure process and reduce Florida’s backlog.
The special court system, however, is coming to an end. According to the Florida Times-Union, the state legislature has not renewed the funding for these foreclosure courts. Legislators took this move even though, according to news reports, the state still has more than 300,000 pending foreclosure cases waiting for action.
Last year, Florida appointed retired judges to clear 25 foreclosure cases in an hour. Some critics found fault with this, saying that the judges were pressured to clear Florida foreclosure cases too quickly, not giving involved parties the proper attention they deserve. The courts earned the derisive nickname “rocket docket” from some critics.
In Jacksonville, though, a version of this controversial court process will continue. The state’s 4th Circuit Court will rotate civil court judges through the foreclosure court. Only foreclosure hearings that are expected to take less than 15 minutes will go through the process. More complicated foreclosure cases will be heard in the civil divisional court.
There is no question that Florida, and a large portion of the U.S., is still in a foreclosure crisis. While its appears that special foreclosure courts haven’t done the trick, let’s hope that some system will be developed to best handle the crisis, help homeowners and help the economy.
Florida Times-Union: “Trimmed-down version of Florida’s foreclosure court to remain in service,” Roger Bull, 24 May 2011-05-27