Foreclosure Process Overview
A foreclosure in Florida begins when a lender files court action and records a notice of a pending lawsuit (Lis Pendens) against the borrower. The lender notifies the borrower and any other affected parties in person or in some cases by mail or publication. If the borrower does not respond to the court action within a specified amount of time, the county clerk can find the borrower in default and the lender can ask the court to make a final ruling. If the court rules against the borrower, the ruling will include the total amount owed to the lender and the foreclosure sale date.
The lender is not required by state law to notify the borrower before initiating the foreclosure process, but individual mortgages or deeds of trust might call for this. The borrower can stop the foreclosure up until the date of the sale by paying the total amount owed to the lender.
Notice of Sale / Auction
The sale date is typically 20-35 days after the court ruling, but this may vary depending on the individual court. The clerk of court issues a notice of sale containing the location, date, and time of the sale. The notice is published once a week for two weeks, with the second notice appearing at least five days before the sale.
The clerk usually oversees the sale, which ordinarily occurs at the county courthouse at 11:00 a.m. on the sale date. The winning bidder must provide a 5-percent deposit and pay the remaining balance by the end of the day or a new sale is scheduled a minimum of 20 days later. After a successful sale, the clerk gives a certificate of sale to the winning bidder
Within 10 days of the sale, the clerk transfers ownership to the winning bidder if no one disputes the sale. In most instances, a borrower has no right of redemption after the certificate of sale is issued.
Legislative and Legal Updates
Due to such a large backlog of foreclosure cases on the docket, the Florida Supreme Court decided in May to allow lawyers to sit on foreclosure cases instead of judges. All seven justices approved the move, despite criticism from lawyers who represent homeowners.
A new Florida law to expedite foreclosures — House Bill 87 — became law on June 7, 2013. Known as the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act, H.B. 87 aims to streamline and speed up the foreclosure process in Florida. The law shortens the time period that banks can collect losses from five years to one. It also places more requirements on banks to prove they own a loan before foreclosing by produce the note at the time of the foreclosure. H.B. 87 also allows third-party lien holders, like a homeowners association, to initiate the foreclosure process.
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