Florida lawmakers are at it again. Those elected to help citizens are instead helping the banks, which in turn fill election coffers; lawmakers have taken up the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act bill.pdf.
Sadly, the act does nothing to be “fair” to Miami foreclosure homeowners. Instead, the act, if it becomes law, would give more trust and more power to the banks under criminal investigation over shady foreclosure tactics. This smells of some high-power lobbying by banking institutions.
Time and time again, Miami Foreclosure Defense Lawyers have seen how banks have gone out of their way to take away a homeowner’s house without the proper documentation, by using incorrect and manufactured documentation and other means that goes against the spirit of the law.
Because Florida requires banks go through the court system in order to foreclose on a person’s property, it’s an extra step that banks must take in order to be held accountable for their actions. In other states, however, banks can zoom through the process — homeowner’s rights be damned. It has happened in Florida, but likely less often than in other states with minimal oversight.
There are several key changes to the foreclosure process in Miami if this bill becomes law, according to The Palm Beach Post:
- A bank would have the option of foreclosing without putting the house up for public auction if what is owed by the homeowner is 120 percent of the value of the property, but the lender can’t seek a deficiency judgment.
- A borrower who challenges a final judgment would only be able to claim monetary damages and wouldn’t have the option of regaining ownership of the house. Currently, homeowners can ask for a reverse judgment and win back the home.
- Final judgements would be required to be entered in uncontested foreclosure cases within 45 days, rather than 90 days.
- If a note is lost, the bank would have to come up with a reason of why it still has the authority to foreclosure and specify the document that gives it that power. Banks now are able to use vague reasons for attempting to explain why they have the authority.
In this blog post, let’s look at the first two changes and talk about why this bill is going to be disastrous for homeowners.
If banks are able to foreclose and not go to public auction, this means that their actions can fly under the radar and not in the sunshine, as public records advocates like to say. Florida is ahead of most states when it comes to open government, yet this action would allow banks to do dealings behind closed doors. The only benefit is that homeowners could avoid having banks come after them for a deficiency judgement, which can be brutal.
The other change could be potentially crippling to homeowners, as this provision would give banks ultimate power to strip away a person’s home. Under this change, homeowners would lose the power to get back their homes even if the banks falsify information, file paperwork that is inaccurate or create documentation to support their foreclosure that was clearly produced after the foreclosure was filed.
As the law currently stands, homeowners can seek a reverse judgement in an effort to win back their home. But if the Act is turned into law, banks would be able to keep the home and just pay the homeowner “monetary damages,” of an unspecified amount. How much in damages would a homeowner get? How does that help them if they get kicked out of their home without due process? What if the bank comes after them for a deficiency judgement and just tries to get the “monetary damages” back plus more?
There are many unanswered questions, but Miami Foreclosure Defense Lawyers encourage you to get experienced legal guidance when dealing with a foreclosure in South Florida.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas, contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991.
More Blog Entries:
Let’s fight Back Against Wall Street, Save Miami Foreclosures: September 9, 2011
Government Misses Helping Miami Foreclosure Homeowners With Bailouts: September 5, 2011
Florida legislature trying to bust foreclosure backlog — again, by Kimberly Miller, The Palm Beach Post