Florida Lawmakers Hurting Homeowners with New Foreclosure Defense Bill?
The Florida Fair Foreclosure Act is making headlines. It’s no secret that the Florida courts are clogged with homeowners and banks wrestling over foreclosed homes. Florida lawmakers seeking to relieve the burden on the court system are looking to streamline the process with a new bill. The Palm Beach Post reports Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, is shopping for input on her draft bill, the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act. The bill seeks to make several key changes to the laws that she hopes would clear some of the Florida foreclosure backlog.
Some key changes include:
* In exchange for giving up their right to pursue a deficiency judgment, banks could foreclose on homeowner 120% or more underwater on their home without putting the house up for auction.
* Uncontested foreclosure cases would need to have a final judgment rendered within 45 days.
* Homeowners challenging a foreclosure can only ask for monetary damages. They would not be able to sue for repossession of the home.
* Banks must detail their right to foreclose on a home if the bank note is lost.
“It’s fair to the people who are able to lobby the legislature, it’s not fair to the homeowner,” said Oppenheim, senior partner with the Weston-based Oppenheim Law. “The biggest problem I have is there is a sense in this that we can trust the banks in terms of bringing these actions. The irony is that time and time again we’ve seen that we can’t trust them.”Attorney Lynn Drysdale of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid also expressed reservations about the bill, noting that borrowers who were attempting to negotiate a loan modification with their bank may still have their homes taken from them under the 45 day fast track if they are on a dual track for loan modification and foreclosure.
The bill is still collecting opinions but Rep. Kathleen Passidomo hopes to have the measure ready to submit by the 2012 legislative session.