Foreclosure Notice by Facebook: Banks New Advantage Over Homeowners
What does the digital future of foreclosures look like with social networks like Facebook? Oppenheim Law explores how living in a gated community or hanging out on Facebook may impact the foreclosure process.
In the never-ending battle by the banks to make things just a little easier for them, courts in Australia began to authorize banks to serve foreclosure proceedings via Facebook.
In order to begin Florida foreclosure defense proceedings, it is necessary for banks to prove that a homeowner has been successfully served, or notified, before proceeding in court. Service is usually carried out by process servers who try to physically track down the homeowner in order to give them the initial paperwork. Now, not only have banks in Australia gotten authorization to serve via Facebook, but banks in New Zealand, Canada and England have also obtained authorization from courts to serve foreclosure notices using Facebook, in addition to the traditional means.
Why is such a new method undesirable here in Florida? Because banks in the rest of the world didn’t have the document mill scandals that plagued Florida.
Currently, electronic service is only permitted when people have authorized it beforehand. However, it is easy to envision a future where lenders will require borrowers to allow themselves to be electronically served. If banks cannot even be relied upon to properly keep track of legal documents and not to commit fraud, then they should not be given yet another potent tool to put in their arsenal.
Florida Foreclosure Law Changes: Gated Communities and Condominiums
A potent tool that banks in Florida did get, however, is a change to the law regarding service of process to gated communities and condominiums. Before July 1st, gated communities and condominiums did not have to allow process servers in unannounced.
State Representative John Patrick Julien led the charge to change the law and allow process servers into these locations unannounced. A process server himself, Representative Julien convinced his colleagues that security guards and building doormen should be required to let in process servers into communities and condos unannounced.
The law now requires guards and doormen to not only allow unfettered access to homes about to be put into foreclosure, but guards and doormen must allow process servers into any and all parts of the community, including common areas. The law even leaves unclear whether process servers are allowed into other peoples’ homes because it also allows access to areas where the homeowner is “known to be within.”
Oppenheim Law believes in the Constitution and procedural due process that is supposed to be guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. We’ve already seen what happens when banks cut corners and try to make the foreclosure process too easy. We all know the stakes are too high to allow that to happen again.