Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that aims to move foreclosures through the court system more quickly, but some homeowner advocates worry that it will erode their rights.
House Bill 87 requires banks to file cases with a clear chain of ownership of the mortgage note and how the delinquency occurred. If the case has the correct documentation, the lender can seek a “show cause” order as to why it shouldn’t be awarded a judgment and take the house. The homeowner would have to quickly raise a valid defense.
The foreclosure fast bill prevents homeowners who wrongly lost homes to foreclosure from getting them back. Instead, they would be awarded monetary compensation.
Weston foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim said the bill gives title insurance underwriters a get out of jail free card because they are no longer liable for the improper sale of bank-owned homes.
“The original homeowner who was foreclosed upon, and may have been illegally foreclosed upon, ultimately is the big loser,” Oppenheim said. “While they can sue the bank for an illegal foreclosure, if they can find a foreclosure defense ttorney willing to handle such a case, they will never be able to get their home back.”
In addition, lenders would have only one year to seek a deficiency judgment against a borrower to nail them for the judgment amount in excess of the value of their home.
“The allowance of the retired senior judges to continue to serve in their capacity also is a constitutional question, it allows such judges to basically continue to serve while not facing either re-election or re-appointment as required by the Florida constitution,” Oppenheim added. “Thus, it should be a very interesting next two years to see how the judicial branch responds to these changes.”
Real estate attorney 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 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.