The drums are starting to beat more loudly by those of us in the Florida real estate and foreclosure defense business as we patiently await the word on whether Gov. Rick Scott will sign HB 87, a bill designed to speed up the backlog of foreclosures in Florida.
Florida real estate analyst, consultant and author Jack McCabe, of McCabe Research and Consulting in Deerfield Beach, has become the latest outspoken opponent of the foreclosure legislation.
McCabe points out that while backers have “soft-peddled” the bill as nothing more than a way to clear through the logjam of pending foreclosures that have piled up since the housing crisis began, there are underlying dangers lurking in the specifics that – believe it or not – would actually prevent foreclosed homeowners from getting their homes back, even if the outcome of a court case is against the bank. The best a judge could do is award money damages.
It’s hard to believe that in America someone could be forced from their home and even if a bank is wrong in foreclosing, not be able to get it back!
After the legislation passed earlier this month I sent a letter to Gov. Scott urging him not to sign the bill into law noting that if he did, it could push homeowners out of their residences without the due process to which they are entitled.
Jack asked me for my opinion on the matter, which he included in his article. Here’s what I told him:
“The sole purpose of the provision is to safeguard lenders as well as title insurance underwriters,” Oppenheim said. “Pursuant to the provision, when innocent borrowers seek to overturn the wrongful foreclosures which will inevitably result from the bill’s expedited court procedures, the borrowers will not be entitled to have their homes returned to them. At minimum, the bill should have included an exemption for homesteaded properties. For the preceding reason, and for the reasons addressed in my letter to the governor, the governor should veto Florida House Bill 87 as it unconditionally impairs the rights of residential property owners in the state of Florida.”
Now, here’s the irony of it all. Several times in the past few weeks when I have been quoted in various articles, I have been referred to as a “real estate defense attorney”, which is how Jack also describes me in his article.
While I have always been a real estate attorney and a foreclosure defense attorney, until recently I had never been described as a“real estate defense attorney.” However, with so many people facing the prospect of losing their homes to banks it seems fitting that this new category of law has been created by the media.
As Jack put it so well: “This legislation is the first step in an erosion and deterioration of your rights as a property owner. With property values increasing at artificially high rates, the current incentive for foreclosure fraud by banks is even greater.”
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Real estate and foreclosure defense attorney, Roy Oppenheim left Wall Street for Main Street, founding Oppenheim Law along with his wife Ellen in 1989 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He also is vice president of Weston Title and creator of the South Florida Law Blog, named the best business and technology blog by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Follow Roy on Twitter at @OpLaw or like Oppenheim Law on Facebook.