The housing market may be on the road to recovery, but foreclosures in Florida have once again pushed the state to the lead in terms of home repossessions.
Combine this with the fact that the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act officially became law on July 1, and we anticipate many more people in the coming months will be requiring the services of an experienced Miami foreclosure lawyer.
Over the last 12 months ending in May, nearly 105,000 homes in Florida were seized through foreclosure, according to data recently released from CoreLogic. Compare that to California, which saw 76,000 foreclosures over the same time frame. California was another state hit hard by the crisis and with a higher population than Florida. Yet, we continue to see stiffer penalties.
Nationwide, some 52,000 homes were foreclosed on in May, which is a 27 percent drop from what we saw a year earlier. It brings the total number of American foreclosures since September 2008 to 4 million.
The rate of foreclosures in Florida has dipped slightly to 9 percent of the total number of homes in some stage of the process. This is still high, but it’s down 3 percent from where we were this time last year.
The housing loan defaults have slowed somewhat, but we still have many homes in the pipeline that have yet to be processed by the state courts due to slowdowns in the courts or banks.
This was the motivation behind the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act, or House Bill 87, which was signed by Gov. Rick Scott on June 7 and went into effect July 1. Despite the name, the measure is anything but fair. While the need to more efficiently process foreclosures remains, what this measure does is essentially shove cases through the pipeline, at the expense of homeowner rights.
(We have asserted from the beginning that the better solution was to hire more foreclosure judges, though lobbyists form the bank in the end proved more powerful.)
What this expedited process does is effectively strip homeowners of basic legal rights. In the criminal system, individuals are considered innocent until proven guilty. However, this process puts homeowners automatically on the offensive, putting the burden on them to prove why their home should not be foreclosed upon.
The sponsor off the bill had argued that it would protect consumer rights by mandating that lenders and the banks prove they own a property before they can initiate a foreclosure action. It’s true that robo-signing was a huge problem at the height of the housing crisis. However, what has been glossed over is the fact that banks are being permitted to simply provide certificates of ownership that the courts must simply accept as face value. In other words, their burden of proof is not high at all. This is especially egregious considering the banks’ track records in the foreclosure process, which is littered with forged documents, missing documents and fraudulent notaries and assignments.
These are the people we going to trust at face value?
Making matters worse, homeowners are given just 20 days to challenge the bank. This is often a scant amount of time to track down the necessary documentation required to prove that a foreclosure has been wrongfully initiated.
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 Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Mortgage Wars,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.
Florida again leads the nation in foreclosures, July 9, 2013, By Drew Harwelll, Tampa Bay Times.
More Blog Entries:
More Foreclosure Abuse Secrets Outed by Former Bank of America Whistle-Blower, June 30, 2013, Miami Foreclosure Lawyer Blog.