Miami foreclosure lawyer Bruce Jacobs, who also hosts a weekly radio program called Mortgage Wars on WZAB-AM 880 in Miami, was quoted recently in a Miami Herald article chronicling the mountain of foreclosure backlogs and the misguided efforts of some local judges to speed up the process.
Florida was among the worst-hit in the wake of the housing market implosion, and Miami might easily be considered Ground Zero. Even today, one in ever 201 homes in the county is in some stage of the foreclosure process, according to RealtyTrac. Juxtapose that with the national comparison, which is one in every 728 homes.
So in fairness, the courts here are facing some seemingly insurmountable challenges. Using $626,000 in state funds granted for use through the end of this fiscal year (ending next July), the courts are charged with sifting, sorting and discharging some 54,000 foreclosure cases in the district.
Add to that the fact that new foreclosure cases are being filed at a more rapid pace than they can feasibly be discharged, and you compound the problem. Because of this, Miami-Dade courts have only been able to get ahead by 3,300 cases.
So judges have responded to this by simply setting the cases for court. They say defendants in the case – unlike almost any other court proceeding – have good reason to delay the cases as long as possible so that they can live in their homes longer without paying. Then you have lenders who may be delaying cases as well, partly because they are sorting through their own foreclosure backlogs and partly because they aren’t eager to once again assume maintenance and association fees on the properties. Judges say they see a lot of excuses, very few legitimate, and as such, have sought to fast-track the cases.
Miami Foreclosure Lawyer Bruce Jacobs responded to this by saying that while these efforts are well-intentioned, they infringe upon a homeowner’s right to contest the foreclosure.
Jacobs recounted instances where he has arrived in court to object to to the fact that lenders have refused to hand over requested documents necessary to prepare a defense until the very day of the trial. He said the judge will send him out into the hallway to essentially speed-read those important and complex documents, and then expect that the trial will continue as scheduled.
In all foreclosure cases, it isn’t enough to simply show that the borrower hasn’t been paying on his her loan. The burden of proof is on the lender to show that it indeed has the authority to foreclose. This may seem fairly straightforward, but the truth of the matter is, many of these loans have been packaged into securities and then passed on down the line from one financial institution to the next.
“I’m all in favor of moving these cases forward,” Jacobs said. “But they’ve got to hold both sides to the rules of procedure.”
With so much at stake, make sure that your foreclosure defense lawyer has a name, reputation and results you can trust.
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. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on “Mortgage Wars,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.
Miami-Dade court puts foreclosures on fast track, Dec. 19, 2012, By Martha Brannigan, The Miami Herald
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