The time it takes to foreclosure on a mortgage in Florida may soon get a bit shorter now that Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill to speed the process into law on Friday.
“Florida’s housing market is important to our economy’s continuous recovery and this bill will aid in that effort by placing abandoned homes, caught up in the foreclosure process, back onto the market,” wrote Scott in the bill-signing letter for HB 87, sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples). “This process will put these homes back onto the housing market and allow Florida families who have experienced a foreclosure to begin working to repair their credit and finances.”
The new law brings more certainty to the state’s housing market, the governor added. It took effect immediately after Scott signed it.
Florida’s foreclosure process now takes about 853 days, which is more than twice the national average. In sponsoring HB 87 earlier this year, Passidomo noted that it maintains the due-process rights for struggling homeowners while boosting the state’s real estate recovery by getting foreclosed property “back into the stream of commerce.”
The new law gives lenders the right to ask the court to justify why a final foreclosure order hasn’t been entered; and it also allows condominium and homeowners associations to ask the court to speed the process along where appropriate.
Consumer interests are addressed in several provisions including:
• Requiring lenders to prove in detail that they own the loan for a property before foreclosing on it;
• Reducing the time lenders can seek deficiency judgments from five years to one year;
• And providing protections for innocent parties who purchase a property without knowledge that a previous owner may have a claim to the property.
A deficiency judgment refers to the difference between what the original owner still owes on a mortgage and the money received from selling a foreclosed property.