With over 1,300 foreclosure filings in Charlotte and Lee County alone in January of 2012 (according to Realtytrac) and what is sure to be an increase in the coming months, we are not strangers to the Florida housing crisis. Many distressed homeowners seek out any avenue of assistance and get their hopes up with the slightest sign of help from their lenders. What these homeowners later learn is that they don't pass the initial qualifications, the process is often lengthy and disorganized, and the lenders aren't really there to help them. We have seen this time and time again through the thousands of homeowners' stories, stories of how they were working with the lender to modify or were told the bank was not foreclosing on them, yet found themselves homeless in a matter of months.
During the past couple of years, we have learned about the shoddy practices of lenders and their attorneys in an attempt to rush through the foreclosure process on thousands of homes. We heard about robo-signing, the demise of David Stern and Ben-Ezra, and improper documentation being prepared and filed, among other major problems. There were the infamous "mass foreclosure dockets," where hundreds of cases would be put on a judge's calendar in one day in an attempt to clear the backlog of foreclose cases, all of which caused wrongful foreclosures for thousands of homeowners.
The newest attempt to clean up the foreclosure backlog in the court system is for Florida lawmakers to introduce a bill that would force lenders to complete the foreclosure process in a quicker manner and to make it easier to foreclose on abandoned properties. With the current foreclosure process taking an average of almost two years to complete, Florida lawmakers hope that the proposed bill will force the lenders to get their foreclosure judgment more quickly. Folks, didn't we learn anything from the previous attempts to rush the foreclosure process along? We learned that lenders and their attorneys were filing faulty documents, signing documents without reading or verifying them, and wrongfully foreclosing on properties where they had no standing to do so. Any time something is done in an effort to speed up a process, details get overlooked. Mistakes are made. And people suffer. While the proposed bill does contain some provisions helpful to a homeowner, for example, the time a lender has to seek a deficiency would be reduced from five years to one year, the overall effect will likely be thousands of more homes lost due to shoddy practices on behalf of the lender.
One of the most important things a homeowner facing the possibility of foreclosure, or finds himself/herself already served with a foreclosure complaint can do is to seek competent legal representation to assist him/her throughout the foreclosure process. The legal system is a scary place for someone without the proper training and experience. A homeowner is already at a major disadvantage because the bank hired an attorney's office to represent its interests in the foreclosure lawsuit. As a homeowner, you have the right to, and should, seek an attorney to protect your rights. If you find yourself having trouble making your monthly mortgage payments and want to discuss your options, please call an experienced attorney at the Law Office of Tauna R. Bogle, P.A. We will give you and your case the personal attention and defense that you deserve.