Though the headlines seem grim, there is more hope for Florida homeowners facing mortgage foreclosure than there was just a few years ago. Currently in Florida, before an actual foreclosure can occur, a state ordered mediation must first take place. The mediation requirement was added to deal with the massive number of foreclosures that have been occurring these past few years. There are currently close to 80,000 foreclosure cases being filed annually in Florida.
Participation rate in the Florida mediation program has risen. The success rate of mediations actually reaching agreement is low, but this statistic is deceptive. Often homeowners seeking mediation wait until they are more than 8-months delinquent in their home loan. Those that seek out the mediation after one or two months are much more likely to see success. Thus a prompt response to any statement of intent to foreclose by the bank is essential.
It must be emphasized that homeowners facing mortgage foreclosure often have more legal remedies than just state ordered mediation. Competent legal counsel in the area of foreclosure can often provide a list of does and don’ts under these circumstances. Such counsel can also bring assurances to the homeowners that they will have an advocate on their side when facing such a situation.
Often Florida homeowners do not understand that such options as mediation are available to them. It’s by no means a hopeless situation, but it is a circumstance that will require prompt attention on the part of the homeowner. Hopefully we will see a decline in such foreclosures in the next few years.
Source: Miami Today, “Few mandatory Florida foreclosure mediations succeed,” by Rachel Tannenbaum, Nov. 3, 2011