Banks need to get their massive foreclosure backlog off the books. There are over 368,000 cases in Florida. I get that.
Getting these properties into the hands of families who can afford them, that is what I want to see. It’s needed to jump start the economy, and no one wants to see the banks out of the neighborhoods more than me.
But it can’t be allowed to happen on the backs of other homeowners plain and simple. Lenders have tried to thrust these homes back onto the market before, and that’s why they just shelled out $25 billion.
The banks were penalized for being unethical, untrustworthy and fraudsters, and it doesn’t look like they have learned their lesson.
Yet a series of proposed bills now making their way through the Florida House and Senate offer banks unjust control over the foreclosure process, all in the name of getting abandoned homes back on the market.
The Senate version, which would create the “Florida Fair Foreclosure Act”, was passed by a judiciary committee earlier this week by a 5-2 vote. There is a similar bill making their way through the House.
But are they really ‘fair’ to homeowners? Absolutely not.
These bills are being pushed by banking industry shills. They make it easier for lenders to foreclose, and allows them to do so faster.
Have the politicians in Tallahassee learned nothing from the settlement? The $25 billion isn’t even in the mail, yet some are back to their old tricks, turning a blind eye to the plights of their constituents and denying them due process.
Sounds awfully familiar to me!
What these bills do is allow for more expedited foreclosures. Under the Fair Foreclosure Act, if the banks consider a property to be abandoned or if the homeowner does not respond within 20 days of being served, a judge has no choice but to rule for a final judgment of foreclosure right then and there.
A judge’s gavel would be nothing more than a rubber stamp, yet again.
The language of what constitutes an abandoned home is just too vague, and it is vague because the banks crafted it to be that way.
What are these criteria? If there is too much trash, if at least two neighbors say the home is abandoned, and if no one can be reached at the home at different hours of the day over a 72 hour period are among a few of them. And only two of them would need to be met for a home to be considered abandoned.
The people who help determine if homes meet those criteria, they all work for the banks, not the courts, not you. This bill offers the banks impunity with absolutely no oversight.
It’s a classic example of the fox watching the henhouse. If the banks present faulty ‘criteria’ that they developed, what chance do you have?
Even if your home is later ruled to have been fraudulently taken, your only recourse under this the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act would be monetary. You don’t get your house back, and the banks would be the winners, yet again!
Judges may not like seeing a logjam in their courts, but there is a reason a foreclosure takes a long time. It’s to prevent homeowners rights from being trampled.
Now the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act does have some provisions that are beneficial, namely that they would greatly reduce the amount of time that banks would have to recoup any unpaid mortgage debt, otherwise known as a deficiency.
Banks would have only one year, as opposed to the 5 they now have to seek a deficiency judgment.
That’s not worth the chance that even one homeowner might unfairly lose their house. Once again expediency is being promoted in exchange for fairness, dues process and constitutional rights.
Let’s hope the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act dies a quick death. I doubt it though.