New Year: New Rules – Florida Supreme Court Requires Mediation in Foreclosure
Just as 2009 ended, the Florida Supreme Court announced a uniform procedure for all newly filed foreclosure cases for homestead properties. While the procedure is not yet fully in place, it should be shortly.
The Court acknowledged the system is not working. Foreclosure filings are expected to reach 456,000 cases in Florida by the end of 2010, a 50% increase from those in 2009. Thus, the Court felt compelled to do something.
My free foreclosure and real estate workshop on Thursday, January 7, at 6 p.m. is designed to review the “Year That Was” and preview the “Year That Will Be” based on the New Rules for 2010.
These new rules mean banks will be taken to task by the legal system. If conducted properly, a homeowner can demand proof of the Note and ownership of the loan prior to mediation. If the bank does not show up at the mediation or does not have a person with “true” authority to settle the case, the Court can issues sanctions against the bank and even hit the bank with attorney’s fees in some instances.
Until now approximately 75% of cases in mediation settled. That number should now shrink since the system will soon be overloaded with mediations. The real question is how to take control of this new strategic tool. Of course, one has to be mindful of the old saying, “Be careful what you ask for.” That will certainly be the situation here.
You need to know your objective and have a plan or strategy. Is your desire to walk away without the bank coming after you, or is it to stay and renegotiate the loan to its new underwater value? Or is it to rent the house and just be able to stay?
Lots of creative options will arise that are good for the homeowner and even the bank. The key is knowing what is best for you and using this new opportunity as a way to fashion your own bailout.
I hope to see you all Thursday night, January 7th, at our free Florida foreclosure defense and real estate workshop as Oppenheim Law helps you achieve a New Bailout in the New Year. Again, I wish you all the best in 2010!