Articles Posted in Foreclosure

By: Daniel T. Pascale, Esq.

Offices located in Delray Beach and Coral Gables, FL

Given that there are literally tens of thousands of homeowners and condominium associations in South Florida, it is no wonder that purchasers of foreclosure properties in Miami-Dade and Broward County frequently have questions about whether they are liable for past due homeowners or condominium assessments after purchasing property at a foreclosure sale.  Once the initial excitement of the new purchase wears off, foreclosure purchasers frequently find themselves the target of associations seeking to collect past due assessments owed by the previous homeowner.

When confronted with this scenario, new property owners often recoil at the notion that they are responsible for the past due assessments: “What do you mean I owe the association $10,000 in back assessments, I just bought the property at a foreclosure sale free and clear last week?  Those fees are the responsibility of the prior owner, not me!”  Although this reaction is understandable, it is only partially correct.

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Daniel PascaleBy: Daniel T. Pascale, Esq.

Offices located in Delray Beach and Coral Gables, FL

According to just released statistics, judges in Miami-Dade County have been processing residential foreclosure cases twice as fast as judges in Broward County.  While Miami-Dade has South Florida’s largest number of foreclosures, the latest plan in place in Miami-Dade calls for all residential foreclosure cases to be cleared by 2016.   Paving the way for the fast foreclosure processing times are a set of newly hired magistrate judges and increased funding from the state in the tune of $25 million dollars.

Broward County is also stepping up its efforts to clear the foreclosure backlog.  With the newly freed up money from the Florida Legislature, Broward County is in the process of funding the equivalent of three senior judges, two additional general magistrates, 18 case managers and six secretaries, all of whom will be devoted to processing foreclosure cases for the next year and half.

According to the forecasts, Florida will face 680,000 new foreclosure cases between now and 2016.   The majority of these foreclosure cases will be filed in Miami-Dade, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.   Obviously, the number of foreclosure cases in these counties is already staggering.  For instance, in Broward County alone, there are over 40,000 cases being prosecuted by lenders. Whereas in Miami-Dade, there is a current estimated backlog of 48,000 cases.  With numbers like these, Palm Beach County’s estimated 9,000 residential foreclosure cases looks miniscule, however, those cases definitely take a toll on a county that was previously unaccustomed to massive case loads.

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Dan PascaleBy: Daniel T. Pascale, Esq.

In an effort to alleviate the foreclosure crisis, Florida’s Legislature recently passed a foreclosure bill (House Bill 87) that will significantly impact Miami-Dade and Broward County homeowners facing foreclosure. From a homeowner’s perspective, the biggest problem with Florida’s latest foreclosure law is that it speeds up the foreclosure process by requiring the homeowner to prove to the Court in an “order to show cause hearing” that the foreclosure should be stopped.  On the other hand, the biggest relief to the homeowner is that the Bank will only have one year to pursue a deficiency judgment (i.e. the difference between what the homeowner owes on the loan and what the home sells for at a foreclosure sale). Other important aspects of Florida’s latest foreclosure law, which all homeowners facing foreclosure in Miami and Broward County should know about, include:

The Positives

Foreclosure Deficiency Judgments: The time frame for the Bank to pursue a deficiency judgment against the homeowner has been drastically shortened from five (5) years to one (1) year.  That means that the Bank only has one year to pursue a collection action against the homeowner for the amount that the Homeowner actually owed on the loan and what the house ultimately sold for in the foreclosure sale.  If the Bank does not initiate a collection action against the Homeowner within one year, the Bank loses the right to collect the deficiency judgment.

Tightened Paperwork Requirements: Banks are now required to initially identify in their foreclosure complaint whether they are in possession of the mortgage note and/or their factual basis for bringing a foreclosure action without being in possession of the mortgage note.  If the Bank is in possession of the promissory note, the Bank must file a copy of the promissory note with the foreclosure complaint.  If the Bank fails to file the promissory note with the foreclosure complaint then there may be grounds to file a motion to dismiss the foreclosure lawsuit.

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