Angry homeowners in Florida made their voices heard recently after a Senate panel cleared a bill that would shorten the time required to process foreclosures. The homeowners are distressed over what seems to be a diminishing of their rights. Opponents especially dislike a provision in the bill that would allow for a special court hearing to speed up foreclosures on property.
Voting on this bill appeared to be rushed due to the shortness of the remaining time the legislature will be in session. Opponents felt the bill was rushed and contains provisions that are downright unfriendly to homeowners and other property owners.
Some of the legislation is welcomed, including:
- Shortening of the time a bank has to try to collect unpaid balances owed following foreclosure sale to just one year for owner-occupied or one to four-family buildings
- Requiring proof that a party attempting foreclosure does in fact own the mortgage and is not a third party or other collection agent
- Filing a written acknowledgement in county official records when a mortgage is fully paid off
Florida has been hard-hit by foreclosures, having about one quarter of the total for the entire nation. There have been numerous incidences of erroneous and fraudulent foreclosure filings in Florida. There also have been accusations of the use of “robo-signers” to produce these papers in an unethical fashion with no knowledge of what is in the documents. In some cases, the documents in question included affidavits that replaced lost original paperwork.
The bill should help stop mortgage swapping between bankers and will require documentation of transactions involving mortgages. It should only affect people who are seriously in arrears on their mortgage payments. The next stop is for debate by the full Senate, while another bill goes to the House. If you are in foreclosure, be sure to obtain counsel from an experienced foreclosure attorney to protect your rights and best interests.
CBS News: “Fla. Senate panel clears foreclosure bill,” Feb. 28, 2012