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Florida governor signs bill to speed up state's foreclosure process

Florida’s governor signed a much-discussed foreclosure bill Friday, enacting a series of provisions aimed at speeding up the default process in the state.

While the legislation is considered a response to Florida's untimely foreclosure timelines, it's a big shift that has attracted a great deal of attention.

Attorneys working within the foreclosure space note House Bill 87 comes with new legal and procedural requirements. Critics refer to it as the 'rocket docket' legislation, in reference to the quickened foreclosure review system previously in place. However, there are many procedural caveats that could make that comparison less appropriate.

The office of Florida attorney Daniel Consuegra even published an alert for attorneys advising them that HB 87 reduces the statute of limitations for filing a deficiency action to only one year from the sale or date of the acceptance of a deed-in-lieu. That section of the bill takes effect July 1.

"As a result you will need to act quickly and secure your deficiency judgment," Consuegra said.

Furthermore, attorneys says the bill requires additional items to be presented with the foreclosure complaint – namely a certification of possession of the original note, or a lost note affidavit filed concurrently with the complaint, Consuegra pointed out.

To meet these demands, Consuegra said forms used in the process are likely to require modification, and it could take time to adopt them.

HB 87 also changes state law to where now any named party can move for "an order to show cause" – not just a plaintiff, the attorney noted. 

"This presents some interesting challenges and opportunities that should be prepared for," Consuegra said.

"Further, the changes in the law provide an avenue for plaintiff's, for property other than owner occupied, to request the court to enter an order to show cause why an order to make payments or order to vacate the premises should not be entered. This could be an effective tool in dealing with litigious owners who are renting the properties."

The bill also establishes adequate protection for lost notes and is designed to prevent what Consuegra refers to as "collateral attacks on foreclosure judgments by borrowers who were served in the action when the property has been acquired for value by a third party and all time periods to appeal have expired."

 

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