The following article was written by Brian Bandell in the South Florida Business Journal with comments from South Florida real estate and foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim.Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that aims to move foreclosures through the court system more quickly, but some homeowner advocates worry that it will erode their rights.
House Bill 87 requires banks to file cases with a clear chain of ownership of the mortgage note and how the delinquency occurred. If the case has the correct documentation, the lender can seek a “show cause” order as to why it shouldn’t be awarded a judgment and take the house. The homeowner would have to quickly raise a valid defense.
The bill prevents homeowners who wrongly lost homes to foreclosure from getting them back. Instead, they would be awarded monetary compensation.
Weston foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim said the bill gives title insurance underwriters a get out of jail free card because they are no longer liable for the improper sale of bank-owned homes.
"The original homeowner who was foreclosed upon, and may have been illegally foreclosed upon, ultimately is the big loser,” Oppenheim said. “While they can sue the bank for an illegal foreclosure, if they can find an attorney willing to handle such a case, they will never be able to get their home back.”
In addition, lenders would have only one year to seek a deficiency judgment against a borrower to nail them for the judgment amount in excess of the value of their home.
“The allowance of the retired senior judges to continue to serve in their capacity also is a constitutional question, it allows such judges to basically continue to serve while not facing either re-election or re-appointment as required by the Florida constitution,” Oppenheim added. “Thus, it should be a very interesting next two years to see how the judicial branch responds to these changes.”