Florida Courts Force Lenders to Explain Foreclosure Sale Cancellations

A new rule adopted by the Florida Supreme Court would require lenders to explain “last minute” cancellations of foreclosure sales and request a rescheduling by the court. Before the New Year, the Florida Supreme Court adopted a foreclosure mediation program to reach out to borrowers facing foreclosure and possibly clear up the backlog of foreclosure cases in the court system. The Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases launched in March 2009 in response to the nation’s third highest delinquency rate and its worst foreclosure inventory at the time. Florida has the fourth highest foreclosure rate in the country through January 2010, according to RealtyTrac. There, one in every 187 homes received a foreclosure notice. The Task Force proposed the motion and recommended the adoption of the forms. In its proposal, the Task Force stated that many foreclosures set by the final judgment and handled by the clerks of court are “vague last minute” motions to reschedule sales without an explanation. “It is important to know why sales are being reset so as to determine when they can properly be reset, or whether the sales process is being abused,” according to the Task Force proposal. The new rule aims to clear up and accelerate a foreclosure process clogged with government incentive programs and civil cases. The Task Force wrote in an August report that the foreclosure pipeline resembled a traffic-jammed highway out of a town under hurricane evaluation. “Again, this is designed at promoting effective case management and keeping properties out of extended limbo between final judgment and sale,” according to the Task Force proposal of the new rule. Write to Jon Prior.

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