The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday to accelerate some foreclosures.

The state House voted 94-17 to approve H.B. 213. The Senate still needs to pass the legislation.

Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, introduced the bill in September. The state court system is creeping through a backlog of more than 368,000 cases, which average more than 900 days to complete, according to RealtyTrac.

The bill allows any lienholder, not just the lender, to initiate an alternative foreclosure procedure. The court would then decide if a defense provides enough cause to preclude a final judgment or if another hearing is needed.

The bill also speeds up foreclosures for abandoned properties. A process server must make three attempts at least 72 hours apart to determine if the home is empty. Two neighbors must be interviewed, as well. The court would then subpoenas the utility company to determine if water or electricity has been turned off. If the property is then considered abandoned, the alternative foreclosure procedure is then used.

If a promissory note is destroyed, stolen or lost, the servicer can file an affidavit “that details a clear chain of all assignments” and proves it is entitled to enforce the note.

The bill would take effect July 1, if enacted.

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